Personality Disorder Support Community

Personality Disorder Support Community

Schizoid Personality Disorder

Schizoid Personality Disorder is a mental condition that usually appears in early adulthood and is usually distinguishable by the lack of displayed emotions and a constant pattern of social isolation.
A person with Schizoid Personality Disorder will often prefer their own company, rather than the company of others, and seem to be expressionless and display little emotion, even if directly provoked. They also appear to be 'aimless', often going through life with not apparent target or ambition.

Schizoid Personality Disorder tends to occur more in males than females. As with other personality disorders, the intensity of symptoms decrease with age.

People with Schizoid Personality Disorder will:

  • Find it hard to enjoy most activities.

  • Appear indifferent to praise or criticism.

  • Find it hard to be part of a close family unit or friendship.

  • Tend to choose activities that will not involve others.

  • Tend to show very little emotion.

  • Not show much interest in sexual activities.

In order to be diagnosed with SPD, you will have to meet certain criterion laid out by the DSM IV or the ICD-10.

For the DSM IV, the diagnostic criteria are as follows:

  1. A pervasive pattern of detachment from social relationships and a restricted range of expression of emotions in interpersonal settings, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by four (or more) of the following:

    1. Neither desires nor enjoys close relationships, including being part of a family.

    2. Almost always chooses solitary activities.

    3. Has little, if any, interest in having sexual experiences with another person.

    4. Takes pleasure in few, if any, activities.

    5. Lacks close friends or confidants other than first-degree relatives.

    6. Appears indifferent to the praise or criticism of others.

    7. Shows emotional coldness, detachment, or flattened affectivity.

  2. Does not occur exclusively during the course of Schizophrenia, a Mood Disorder With Psychotic Features, another Psychotic Disorder, or a Pervasive Developmental Disorder and is not due to the direct physiological effects of a general medical condition.

Note: If criteria are met prior to the onset of Schizophrenia, add "Pre-morbid," e.g., "Schizoid Personality Disorder (Pre-morbid)."

The ICD-10 requires a person to fulfill the general personality disorder criteria first, and lists Schizoid Personality Disorder as follows:

Personality disorder characterised by at least 3 of the following:

  1. Few, if any, activities, provide pleasure.

  2. Emotional coldness, detachment or flattened affectivity.

  3. Limited capacity to express either warm, tender feelings or anger towards others.

  4. Apparent indifference to either praise or criticism.

  5. Little interest in having sexual experiences with another person (taking into account age).

  6. Almost invariable preference for solitary activities.

  7. Excessive preoccupation with fantasy and introspection.

  8. Lack of close friends or confiding relationships (or having only one) and of desire for such relationships.

  9. Marked insensitivity to prevailing social norms and conventions.


  • Asperger's syndrome.

  • Delusional disorder.

  • Schizoid disorder of childhood.

  • Schizophrenia.

  • Schizotypal disorder.

Cause of SPD

Although there are many theories about the causes of SPD, there is no actual known cause. Most health care professionals agree that it may be a combination of both biology and environment.

Diagnosing SPD

If you believe that you may have SPD, you will need to see your gp, who will make a referral to your local mental health unit. Your gp may examine you for any physical symptoms in order to rule out any medical condition.
If you are given an appointment to see a psychologist or a health care professional, you will be need to be assessed in order to be diagnosed with SPD. There will be several sessions at least before a diagnosis is confirmed, if any.


Many sufferers do not seek treatment as they do not see it as a problem. For those who do, psychotherapy is often offered, although it is not usually effective. Most sufferers tend do only seek short term treatment for certain symptoms that affect them, rather than try and recover from the disorder completely.
There are medications that will help certain symptoms of depression or anxiety, that might affect sufferers of SPD, so see your GP.

Millon's Subtypes

Characterised by a combination of schizoid and depressive features, they have very little activity. Appeaing to be lazy from the outside, languid schizoids tend to be mainly anhedonic, with very few interests. Although they seem not to feel emotionally, they tend to be depressive.

Remote schizoids are characterised by avoidant features. Early childhood experiences where there is negativity and rejection may result in the person becoming socially withdrawn and the ability to emotionally connect with others is greatly reduced.
Remote schizoids also tend to display a measure of social anxiety. They tend to be on the periphery of society and stay detached from any kind of relationship.

Depersonalised schizoids are characterised by schizotypal features. They tend to always be in a trance like state, where they seem preoccupied with something else and are disengaged from the daily affairs of life. They tend to feel as though they are mere observers of their life, rather than a participant.

This subtype is characterised by compulsive features. Affectless schizoids tend to be sombre and mirthless, lacking in warmth and sensitivity. It may be that there are neurological factors that inhibit those aspects of human communication. The compulsive aspect of this subtype displays itself in the preference for structured settings in interaction, but this compared with the apathy that comes with the subtype may result in them being quite capable in a professional capacity.

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Schizoid Personality Disorder - Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fourth edition Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR) American Psychiatric Association (2000)
Schizoid Personality Disorder - International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems 10th Revision (ICD-10)
Millon, Theodore (2006). "Personality Subtypes Summary”. The Official Website for Theodore Millon, Ph.D., D.Sc.. DICANDRIEN, Inc.