Understanding Schizotypal Personality Disorder

Friends cast in first season. Front: Cox, Anis...

Friends cast in first season. Front: Cox, Aniston. Back: LeBlanc, Kudrow, Schwimmer, Perry. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Pop quiz: what word is similar to “schizotypal”?  If you said “schizophrenia”, then you are right.  Schizotypal is derived from the two words schizophrenia and genotype.  Schizophrenias see, hear and believe things that aren’t really there.  Genotype is the genetic makeup of an individual, think DNA.  So putting the two together a Schizotypal Personality Disorder (SPD) is someone who has may seem schizophrenic but is not a full-blown schizophrenic.  Confused yet?  Good because that is precisely what it feels like to speak to a SPD.

 

So what is SPD?  Here is the technical DSM-V definition:

 

  • Identity:  Confused boundaries between self and others
  • Self-direction:  Incoherent goals, no clear set of standards
  • Empathy:  Difficulty understanding impact of behavior on others
  • Intimacy:  Mistrust and anxiety with close relationships
  • Eccentricity:  Odd, unusual, or bizarre behavior and appearance
  • Cognitive and perceptual dysregulation:  Odd or unusual thought processes, over-elaborate speech
  • Unusual beliefs and experiences:  Unusual experiences of reality
  • Restricted affectivity:  Little reaction to emotional situations, indifference or coldness
  • Withdrawal:  Preference for being alone
  • Suspiciousness:  Expectations of signs of interpersonal harm

 

The practical definition looks more like this:

 

  • Loner lacking close friends
  • Feels external events have personal meaning
  • Peculiar, eccentric or unusual thinking, beliefs or behavior
  • Dresses in peculiar ways
  • Belief in special powers
  • Phantom pains
  • Excessive social anxiety
  • Rambling oddly and endlessly during conversations
  • Suspicious or paranoid ideas
  • Doubts the loyalty of others
  • Flat emotions

 

Still not sure what a SPD looks like in person?  Lisa Kudrow who played Pheobe from “Friends” did a wonderful job portraying SPD.  Remember the “Smelly Cat” song or the “Pigeon” song (look them up on YouTube)?  None of her songs ever made sense which added to the humor of the show but for a SPD what they are saying makes perfect sense and everyone else is crazy.

 

So how do you deal with a person who might have SPD?  Here are a few suggestions:

 

  • Don’t follow them down the rabbit trail, stay focused on the topic.
  • Don’t try to apply logic to random comments; it only frustrates you, not them.
  • Emotional reasoning won’t work either because their emotions don’t make sense with the circumstances.
  • They will agree with you even when they don’t.
  • Put everything in writing for future reference.
  • Expect to re-explain over and over.
  • Be patient, show no emotion.  They shut down when confronted.
  • Questions should be simple almost child-like.

 

SPDs live in their own world and are very happy that way.  While they will invite you in on occasion, the level of intimacy will not be the same as other people in your life.  Be patient with SPDs and allow them to control the speed of the relationship, they will be much more willing to engage that way.

 

 

 

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

 

Depression, ADHD, Bi-Polar, Autism and Schizophrenia Have Similiar Genes

It is wonderful to see the research coming out for disorders such as depression, ADHD, bi-polar, autism, and schizophrenia.  But when the same genetic code can be traced for each of these disorders, it is even better.

Such a discovery can lead to a more accurate diagnosis between the disorders, better  understanding of how the disorders affect the brain, more creditability issuing a diagnosis in the first place, and clearer definition of each disorder.

If you or someone you love has one of these disorders, please read this important article.

http://psychcentral.com/news/2013/08/19/5-major-mental-illnesses-traced-to-same-genetic-variations/58642.html 

 

New Term: Brain Disorders

Regions of the brain affected by PTSD and stress.

Regions of the brain affected by PTSD and stress. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Instead of calling disorders such as ADHD, PTSD, OCD, and schizophrenia mental or behavioral disorders, Dr. Thomas Insel the National Institute of Mental Health Director suggests calling them brain disorders.  This shift highlights changes in how the diagnosis can be made.

In the past, ADHD, PTSD, OCD and schizophrenia were made by observing behaviors that are consistent with each disorder.  Now, such diagnoses can be made by reviewing detailed brain scans which show increased or decreased levels of activity.

The importance of this shift means that such disorders can not be ignored or devalued in importance.  They are real disorders and not subjects of the imagination, lack of discipline, or a spiritual issue.  Instead, they are discernible and diagnosable.

Early detection of these disorders can help to reduce the consequences of an undiagnosed disorder.  Consequences which sadly increase anxiety, depression and even suicide rates.

As a brain disorder, the dynamatics of brain functioning change first and then behavior changes.  Unfortunately, waiting for behavior changes to diagnosis disorders can sometimes be too late.

How this is going to impact your child who might be displaying early signs of a brain disorder is too early to tell.  But the good news is that this area is being studied and more accurate diagnosises are in the future.

Here is the link to listen to Dr. Insel’s lecture.  It is well worth your 15 minutes.

http://www.nimh.nih.gov/about/updates/2013/mental-disorders-as-brain-disorders-thomas-insel-at-tedxcaltech.shtml

 

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

 

Autism Spectrum Disorder and Schizophrenia

This article is an interesting study on the co-morbidity of schizophrenia and autism spectrum disorders (ASD).  While there is no definitive correlation between the two disorders, if you child has been diagnosed with ASD, a quick review of the article will provide you with additional information on how schizophrenia behavior is displayed.  This does not mean that your ASD child has schizophrenia or even has a greater chance of schizophrenia, rather it explains how schizophrenia is manifested in an ASD child.

http://pro.psychcentral.com/2012/autism-and-schizophrenia/001005.html#

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.