A schizoid personality disorder is a mental condition that impairs healthy social interaction with others. It is often characterized by difficulty forming or maintaining relationships, preference for a solitary lifestyle, and a strong detachment from society itself. People suffering from this personality disorder are typically single, have limited contact with their family, have few to no friends, and tend to hold jobs with limited or no social interaction involved.
A combination of environmental factors and genetics can cause schizoid personality disorder. While there is no defined cause for the disorder, a large percentage of patients who suffer from it have had very traumatic or dismal childhoods, typically involving very few close friends and an excess of strained family relations. Since the child must learn at a very early age to cope with his independence, he carries these practices with him later on in life. Individuals with a family history of schizophrenia, a similar, more debilitating, mental disorder, are also more prone to develop personality disorders of their own. When these environments and genetics are combined, the likelihood for developing this personality disorder increases tremendously.
Individuals suffering from schizoid personality disorder tend to come across to others as very aloof or unfriendly, when in reality, it is the disorder itself that prevents proper social interaction. Many people with the disorder will avoid social events altogether, opting for more solitary forms of entertainment. Emotional relationships are often very difficult to be a part of, making it unlikely that a person with the disorder could maintain a healthy marriage or other long-term relationship. While some contact with family members may still occur, it is often on rare occasions and as brief as possible. Those with schizoid personality disorder often find jobs working night shifts, jobs that allow them to work from home, or jobs that involve solitary research, as in a laboratory environment.
The biggest challenge with treating schizoid personality disorder is the fact that people suffering from the condition are highly unlikely to seek help on their own and, with their limited social interactions, may not have anyone close to them that could suggest seeking out treatment options. When they are able to seek help, treating the condition often involves the use of prescription medication and behavioral therapy. Anti-psychotic drugs, often the same ones used to treat schizophrenia, are the most commonly prescribed. Behavioral therapy and talk therapy are also viable solutions, but are difficult to implement until the patient is willing to open up to some level of interpersonal communication.