Teen Schizotypal Personality Disorder, What It Is:
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.
What It Looks Like
Those with Teen Schizotypal Personality Disorder often have suspicion of others and a level of paranoia that leads them to avoiding close relationships. They also often tend to ramble when they speak, have abnormal thinking patterns and attitudes, and dress eccentrically. It’s also common for adolescents with the illness to have belief in the supernatural or be superstitious, and/or tend to give important meaning to things.
The level of paranoia that teens with this disorder experience is so extreme that it leads them to maintain only relatively few relationships, such as with close family members, and retreat into daydreams or other inner fantasies as a means of escape.
Characterized by depressive and dependent features and a passive overall attitude
Characterized by avoidant, passive-aggressive features and more of an active approach to life overall
Schizotypal Personality Disorder is often present as a Co-Occurring disorder, along with such disorders as Depression and Anxiety.
The best treatment available for teens with Schizotypal Personality Disorder 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.
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. However, once there is an environment in which teens feel safe, the therapist can help them to acknowledge any sort of negative, false belief systems, evaluate behavioral patterns that are associated with those beliefs, and implement new healthier behaviors.
Therapists also teach teens healthier and more successful ways of dealing with stress and conflict, in order to empower the teen not to resort back to habitual negative ways of dealing.
Beyond all of this, therapists can also help teens to develop healthier and more positive attitudes toward others, which can provide a foundation from which the teen can begin forming and maintaining new relationships. This also helps to abate the stress and anxiety produced by the feelings of paranoia.
What’s the difference between this and schizophrenia?
Schizotypal Personality Disorder is on the same “spectrum” as Schizophrenia, meaning it shares certain characteristics. However, Schizotypal Personality Disorder is a less severe illness with more mild symptoms, and is somewhere in the middle of the spectrum, whereas Schizophrenia is the most extreme in this category of illnesses.