Schizoid Personality Disorder

Schizoid Personality Disorder

Disinterest in social interactions and limited expression of emotions

Information on Schizoid Personality Disorder – presentation, symptoms and treatment.

Schizoid Personality Disorder beliefs, emotions and behaviour

Someone with schizoid characteristics is likely to have unclear thought processes and will struggle to understand how they should act around others.  Beliefs and thoughts about situations will be practical rather than emotional. The person may view relationships with others as unwanted, intrusive and complicating their lives.

Missing Interpersonal Ability:

Intimacy; empathy; positive affect

These individuals are unlikely to report strong emotions, either positive (love, happiness) or negative (anger, sadness).  They can appear to have a lack of interest in social relationships and other people.  They can come across as boring, dull and distant and with a lack of warmth towards others.  A schizoid personality can mean the person experiences few pleasures in life and does not respond to praise, criticism or emotions from others.  They may choose solitary activities and can show an emotional coldness or detachment. 

Schizoid personality disorder

I am self sufficient, alone

Beliefs about self

Others are intrusive and not needed

Beliefs about others

The world should be avoided

Beliefs about the world

How is Schizoid different from Schizotypal and Avoidant Personality Disorder?

This Personality Disorder is different to the schizotypal type because the person does not have any of the psychotic symptoms. They are different to Avoidant Personality Disorder as avoidant people have a need for intimacy and a sensitivity to rejection.  However, because schizoid characteristics are found in these two PDs as well, this can make it hard to distinguish the three types.  There is also an overlap with diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome.

Mark lives on his own and works as a computer engineer.  He has few friends and prefers to spend his time alone.  His hobbies include building computer software, reading and nature.  When he was younger, he did have a relationship for six months, however, did not enjoy intimacy and felt that it was an intrusion on his life.  At work he is good at his job, but can appear aloof and rarely engages in any social activities.  He will help and explain things to others, but does this as it part of his role rather than to make friends.  Whilst his family worry about him being lonely, Mark enjoys this solitary lifestyle. 

Example presentation

What is the diagnosis criteria for Schizoid Personality Disorder?

The DSM V criteria is a persistent pattern of disinterest from social interactions and a limited variety of expression of emotions in a close personal settings. This starts in early adulthood and must be shown by at least four (or more) of the following:

  • neither wants nor likes close relationships, counting being part of a family
  • almost constantly picks introverted activities
  • has little if any, thought in engaging in any sexual experiences
  • seldom derives pleasure from any activities
  • has no close friends other than immediate relatives
  • appears apathetic to the admiration or disapproval of others
  • shows emotional coldness, detachment, or flattened affectivity


There is very limited research into the most effective therapy for Schizoid Personality Disorder. This is generally believed to be because individuals with this personality pattern do not experience loneliness or negative reactions to interpersonal situations and so are less likely to seek out therapy.

Therapy that allows the individual to build up a long term trusting relationship with the therapist may be most beneficial to model what these can be like. It is also important to focus on small goals that focus on current concerns in their life. CBT therapy may help with this or longer-term psychotherapy.

Have Questions about Schizoid Personality Disorder?

Contact GP Psychology


Therapy | Supervision | Assessment