Teen schizotypal personality disorder is a mental illness characterized by paranoia, intentional distance from others, and delusions. It does have some similar characteristics as schizophrenia but is usually less severe and easier to treat.
Insipid Schizotypal – Characterized by depressive and dependent features and a passive overall attitude. Insipid schizotypal personality disorder is often exhibited with apathy, nonbeing, and sluggishness. Insipid schizotypal teens are often entirely indifferent. If they do lash out, then it is usually in a form of existential crisis.
Timorous Schizotypal – Characterized by avoidant, passive-aggressive features and more of an active approach to life overall. Timorous schizotypal personality disorder is often exhibited through an exaggeration of the minute. What might seem insignificant or unimportant becomes a detail with hidden, obscure, or esoteric meaning, and they cling to supernatural explanations for random coincidences. They are prone to believing in superstitions and may turn towards fantasies and rituals to protect themselves. They are still apathetic towards others and distance themselves from social interaction.
Like other personality disorders, the causes are varied and depend on individual experiences and certain risk factors.
Family history – teens with a family history of schizotypal personality disorders or schizophrenia are more likely to develop these symptoms.
Childhood experiences – personalities are formed through childhood experiences, and if certain beliefs or behaviors persist all throughout puberty, they may continue to persist in early adulthood. A teen with a schizotypal personality may have developed it to cope with something in their childhood.
Traumatic events – trauma is more likely to do emotional and psychological damage than any other emotional pain. Traumatic events are classified as traumatic based on how an individual responds, rather than the severity of the event. Some people are traumatized by an event while others cope in a healthy fashion. Trauma may be identified by hazy or incomplete details, a lack of memory or temporary amnesia, an unwillingness to bring up the past.
of the U.S. population suffers from schizotypal personality disorder
of sufferers also have major depressive disorder
of sufferers develop the disorder from genetics
Be understanding – approach your teen non-judgmentally and understand that their behavior is rooted in a disordered way of thinking, rather than any usual personality flaw. Being more open and accepting can also help your teen trust you more, even if you don’t completely understand why they think the way they do.
Communicate with your teen – having someone to confide in is important for anyone, but it is much more important for people who struggle to identify with others and distance themselves from social interaction on purpose. Learn how to clearly communicate with your teen to avoid mistrust.
Learn more about the disorder – there is a lot of literature detailing the different personality disorders and how they are different from one another. Better understanding what makes your teen tick can help you support them moving forward and allows you to continue to help them identify what type of thinking is appropriate and what type of thinking is inappropriate, long after therapy.
The primary forms of treatment for personality disorders is therapy, and medication. Where therapy is the key to helping a teen understand how their behavior might be harmful, medication exists in severe cases where symptoms become unmanageable through therapy and require a greater level of intervention.
Short-term medication through antidepressants or anti-anxiety drugs can help teens cope with severe negative thinking, and persistent fears. Antipsychotic drugs may also be used as mood stabilizers. There is no medication available to directly treat the symptoms of schizotypal personality disorder, but other medication when properly prescribed can aid therapy.
Talk therapy or psychotherapy involves helping a teen identify what makes their behavior dangerous to them or others and find ways to cope with the causes of their behavior in a healthier manner. One-on-one therapy often involves the use of cognitive behavioral therapy or dialectical behavioral therapy to help teens break down and understand their thinking and address it accordingly. Group therapy or family therapy helps teens better explore their condition around others and can also help their family better understand what they’re going through.
The best teen schizotypal personality disorder treatment available is a holistic treatment that aims to address all the different aspects of a teen’s symptoms, and most often, involves both talk therapy as well as medication. Teens who struggle with personality disorders often have a wide breadth of symptoms that need addressing, and treatment must adequately respond to them all.
Because of the aspect of paranoia associated with this disorder, it’s extremely important that a teen trusts his/her therapist and the establishment of such trust may take time. A Paradigm Malibu, we work hard to foster such bonds of trust and help teens feel comfortable in their new environment.
Once they feel safe, the therapist can help them to acknowledge any negative of false beliefs, recognize irrational or erroneous thinking, evaluate behavioral patterns that are associated with those beliefs, and implement healthier behavior.
Therapists also teach teens how to cope with stress and conflict in a healthier way, to empower the teen not to resort to old habits.
Beyond all of this, during teen schizotypal personality disorder treatment, a therapist can help develop healthier attitudes toward others, which can provide a foundation from which a patient can begin forming and maintaining new relationships. This also helps abate the stress and anxiety produced by feelings of paranoia.
Paradigm Malibu was truly a lifesaver for our daughter. It took some time, but giving our complete trust over to the wonderful staff was the right thing to do. The communication from the staff there was amazing. I highly recommend Paradigm to any family that is struggling to find help for their teen.
– Keri and Rob
What’s the difference between this and schizophrenia?
Schizotypal personality disorder is on the same “spectrum” as schizophrenia, meaning it shares certain characteristics and symptoms. However, schizotypal personality disorder is a milder illness with milder symptoms, and is somewhere in the middle of the spectrum, whereas schizophrenia is much more severe.
Are teens with schizotypal personality disorder dangerous?
No more than others. Schizotypal personality disorder does not make teens more prone to violence but does make them prone to distancing themselves from others. They may feel threatened by others and will pull up walls to avoid social contact, from behaving apathetically or inappropriately to simply being extremely eccentric in both beliefs and behavior. They may believe themselves to be clairvoyant or telepathic but will not seek out fights or become violent more than other teens would.