Health A-Z

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Schizotypal personality disorder often is treated with a combination of medication and psychotherapy.

Medications can be prescribed if there are obvious symptoms. Illogical thinking can be treated with antipsychotic medications, usually in low doses. If there are symptoms of depression or anxiety, the doctor can prescribe antidepressant or antianxiety medications.

People with schizotypal personality disorders may find psychotherapy difficult because, as part of the disorder, they tend to be uncomfortable in relationships. A therapist can, however, foster a trusting relationship by accepting the person's need for more distance.

Since people with this disorder have difficulty picking up on social cues, it is often necessary to teach specific social skills, for example, explaining that certain behaviors may be seen by others as rude or off-putting. Similarly, a therapist can help a person with schizotypal personality disorder learn how his or her thoughts and perceptions are distorted and how best to respond to them.

Difficulties in social interactions can lead to personal disappointment and poor self-image throughout life. These kinds of problems may become an important focus in psychotherapy.

If a person's symptoms are mild to moderate, he or she may be able to adjust with relatively little support. If the problems are more severe, however, a person with schizotypal personality disorder may have more than average difficulty maintaining a job or living independently. For example, routine interactions at work may be very awkward or may provoke anxiety. The person may not be able to accomplish daily tasks like shopping for food or other necessities. People with this disorder may therefore need more support from family members or require the framework of a residential treatment setting. He or she also may be more capable of doing a job that includes a good deal of structure and requires little, if any, social interaction. And it is helpful if a job supervisor can understand and accommodate the person's eccentricities.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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