Schizoid personality disorder

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Schizoid personality disorder is a personality disorder that causes people who suffer from it to "avoid social activities and consistently shy away from interaction with others."[1] According to the Mayo Clinic, the exact causes are unknown, but genetics and environmental factors are believed to contribute to the condition.[2] Risk factors include having a parent or close relative with the disorder or one similar to it, child abuse and/or a childhood atmosphere of scorn or neglect, and having an emotionally distant parent.[3]

Schizoid personality disorder is described by the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) as:

  • A. A pervasive pattern of detachment from social relationships and a restricted range of expression of emotions in interpersonal settings, beginning by early adulthood (age eighteen or older) 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 affect
  • B. 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.

Schizoid personality disorder is described by the World Health Organization's International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD) as:

  • It is characterized by at least three of the following criteria:
    • 1. Emotional coldness, detachment or reduced affection.
    • 2. Limited capacity to express either positive or negative emotions towards others.
    • 3. Consistent preference for solitary activities.
    • 4. Very few, if any, close friends or relationships, and a lack of desire for such.
    • 5. Indifference to either praise or criticism.
    • 6. Taking pleasure in few, if any, activities.
    • 7. Indifference to social norms and conventions.
    • 8. Preoccupation with fantasy and introspection.
    • 9. Lack of desire for sexual experiences with another person.

In both manuals, schizoid personality disorder is denoted by the disease code number 301.2.

The signs and symptoms of schizoid personality disorder have been tragically mistaken for signs of demonic possession. The possibility of demonic possession or oppression is almost non-existent, and should be the last suspicion. If anyone is observed experiencing any conditions suggestive of possession, experienced pastoral care counsellors, mental health and medical professionals, and experts in paranormal phenomena and research, all strongly advise immediately contacting a physician for further evaluation. A medical consultation should always be the first step.


  1. Schizoid personality disorder: definition, retrieved September 9, 2011
  2. Causes, retrieved September 9, 2011
  3. Risk factors, retrieved September 9, 2011