Understanding Schizoid Personality vs Autism Spectrum

Hello Today I’m talking about

schizoid personality disorder,

and this is based on a viewer question,

asking me to compare this

to autism spectrum disorder.

Schizoid personality disorder

falls under cluster A

of the personality disorders.

Cluster A disorders are characterized

by odd, or eccentric behavior.

The three personalities in

this group are schizoid,

schizotypal and paranoid.

Here’s how we define schizoid

personality disorder,

and this is according

to the “Diagnostic And Statistical Manual

“Of Mental Disorders Fifth Edition”.

It’s 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.

Number one, neither desires

no enjoys close relationships,

including being part of a family.

This lack of desire is not a reaction

to having a bad relationship

within your family,

or with friends.

So it’s not as though you decide

that you’re not gonna have

anything to do with people

because you’ve been hurt.

This starts from scratch,

having an indifference

to being in a relationship.

You could take it or leave it.

And this could be very

disturbing for a parent,

to see their child be this way,

or a sibling can feel

rejected by a sister,

who just doesn’t seem to

care if they’re close.

Number two, always chooses

solitary activities.

So this looks like the loner,

who spends more time engaged in activities

than spending time with people.

This person may come home

every night, from work,

and go to a room and play

video games for hours,

and not feel any sense of

being cooped up or isolated.

Number three, has little, if any, interest

in having sexual experiences

with another person.

The key phrase here is

with another person.

Many people with schizoid personality

can be asexual, such that they have

zero interest in being sexual.

But that’s not everyone.

Some may have a very active fantasy life,

even if they don’t act on the fantasies,

and the fantasies can be very complex,

like wanting the unavailable person,

or focusing on body parts,

or getting involved in kink.

But the sexual activity, if it’s present,

is not about intimacy or

closeness with another person.

Number four, takes pleasure

in few, if any, activities.

Five, lacks close friends or confidants,

other than first-degree relatives.

Because of this, they

usually don’t date much

or get married.

They can, but not usually.

Six, appears indifferent to praise,

or the criticism of others.

And this can cause social problems

because the person can

appear really self-absorbed.

Because in this case, they

not only ignore criticism,

but they also ignore praise,

and this can make them look

socially inappropriate at times,

and can appear unreachable,

as if nothing matters.

Number seven, shows emotional

coldness, detachment,

or flattened affectivity.

A flattened affect is when a

person doesn’t seem to have

a normal range of emotional expression.

Everything is fairly flat lined,

when it comes to facial expressions,

tone of voice, and body posture,

and all of those things are involved

in the way that you express yourself.

The social impact of this personality

can cause occupational problems,

because of the way that

you interact with people.

A person with schizoid personality

would be best suited for a job

where you can work alone,

with minimal supervision.

Working with a team is the

last thing that you need to do.

Because of your aloofness

in relationships,

family members may reject you.

And although the person

with schizoid personality

likes being alone,

you can still feel a sense of frustration,

that people don’t understand you.

And this can create a momentary

feeling of loneliness,

but not in the same way

that it does with a person

with avoidant personality disorder.

The personal with avoidant personality

has trouble connecting to people

because of their fear of

being judged or rejected.

But they desperately want the intimacy.

The person with schizoid

personality disorder

doesn’t want the intimacy.

But we live in a world

where we see that as

strange and unrelatable,

and being seen that way

can create this void that’s unsettling.

We tend not to see schizoid

personality disorder much

in a clinical setting,

and I don’t know if this is because

the incidents is truly low,

or if the personality itself

doesn’t make people seek help.

Remember, with the personality disorders,

it’s usually friends and loved ones

that push the person into therapy.

That said, schizoid

personality has been seen

as a prodrome or lead-in to schizophrenia.

It doesn’t cause schizophrenia,

but it can co-occur with schizophrenia.

In other words, if you do have

both, and not everyone does,

the schizophrenia is

the psychiatric illness,

and schizoid is the

underlying personality.

Schizoid personality can also

co-occur with schizotypal,

paranoid, and avoidant personality.

Sometimes people can have

a mixture of features

from different personalities,

and in this case,

you wouldn’t be diagnosed

with three different

personality disorders,

unless you met the criteria for all three,

which is pretty unusual.

Instead, we would say that

you have a mixed personality,

with features of the three

different personalities.

Now what about autism spectrum disorder?

Sometimes autism spectrum disorder

can look very much like

schizoid personality.

Autism spectrum disorder is

a brain development disorder,

where there are delays in

your brain development,

beginning in childhood.

This causes difficulties

with social interaction,

communication, and repetitive behaviors.

Often people with autism spectrum

will have impaired sensory processing,

so they may be hyper or hypo sensitive

to sounds and textures.

It’s a spectrum illness,

because the degree to

which a person is impaired

ranges from low functioning

to high functioning.

A low functioning person

generally is not able to work,

and may not even be able

to take care of themselves,

and need a lot of assistance.

Whereas a high functioning person,

which used to be called

Asperger’s syndrome,

may be able to live

independently, and do well.

They still have trouble though,

with social interactions,

because of the difficulties

in the way that they relate to people.

So the social awkwardness can look similar

to someone with schizoid personality.

But the person with schizoid personality

is not gonna have the same

stereotyped behaviors and interests

that you see with autism spectrum.

Also, the social impairment

with autism spectrum

is different in quality.

People with autism spectrum

don’t necessary prefer to be alone,

like the person with schizoid personality.

You can think of it this

way, the schizoid person

keeps people at an arm’s distance.

Whereas the autism spectrum person

has a desire for relationships,

but their non-typical way

of interacting with people

makes it hard for them

vito forge relationships.