Diagnosis

People with schizotypal personality disorder may seek help from their primary care provider because of other symptoms such as anxiety, depression or angry outbursts or for treatment of substance abuse.

After a physical exam to help rule out other medical conditions, your primary care provider may refer you to a mental health provider for further evaluation.

Diagnosis of schizotypal personality disorder typically is based on:

  • Thorough interview about your symptoms
  • Your personal and medical history
  • Symptoms listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association

Treatment

Treatment for schizotypal personality disorder often includes a combination of medication and one or more types of psychotherapy. Many people can be helped by work and social activities that are a fit for their personality style.

Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy, also called talk therapy, may help people with schizotypal personality disorder begin to trust others by building a trusting relationship with a therapist.

Psychotherapy may include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy — identifying and changing distorted thought patterns, learning specific social skills, and modifying problem behaviors
  • Supportive therapy — offering encouragement and fostering adaptive skills
  • Family therapy — involving family members, which may help reduce fighting or emotional distance and improve trust in the home

Medications

There are no medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration specifically for the treatment of schizotypal personality disorder. However, doctors may prescribe an antipsychotic, a mood stabilizer, an antidepressant or an anti-anxiety drug to help relieve certain symptoms, such as psychotic episodes, depression or anxiety. Some medications may help reduce distorted thinking.

Coping and support

Symptoms of conditions such as schizotypal personality disorder may improve over time through experiences that help foster — among other positive traits — self-confidence, a belief in one's ability to overcome difficulty and a sense of social support.

Factors that appear most likely to reduce the symptoms of this disorder include:

  • Positive relationships with friends and family
  • A sense of achievement at school, work and in extracurricular activities

Preparing for your appointment

You're likely to start by seeing your primary care doctor. However, in some cases when you call to set up an appointment, you may be referred immediately to a psychiatrist.

Take a family member or friend along, if possible. With your permission, someone who has known you for a long time may be able to answer questions or share information with the doctor that you don't think to bring up.

Here's some information to help you prepare for your appointment.

What you can do

Before your appointment, make a list of:

  • Any symptoms you or your family noticed, and for how long. Ask friends or family members if they've felt concerned about your behavior and what they've noticed.
  • Key personal information, including traumatic events in your past and any current, major stressors. Find out about your family's medical history, including any history of mental illness.
  • Your medical information, including other physical or mental health conditions with which you've been diagnosed.
  • All medications you take, including the names and dosages of any medications, herbs, vitamins or other supplements you're taking.
  • Questions you want to ask your doctor to make the most of your appointment.

Some basic questions to ask your doctor include:

  • What is likely causing my symptoms?
  • What are other possible causes for my symptoms?
  • Is my condition likely temporary or chronic?
  • What treatments are most likely to be effective for me?
  • How much can I expect my symptoms to improve with treatment?
  • How often will I need psychotherapy, and for how long?
  • Are there medications that can help?
  • Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing?
  • If you're recommending medications, what are the possible side effects?
  • I have these other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
  • Are there any brochures or other printed material I can take? What websites do you recommend?

Don't hesitate to ask any other questions during your appointment.

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Be ready to answer them to reserve time to go over points you want to spend more time on. Your doctor may ask:

  • What are your symptoms?
  • When did you or your family first notice these symptoms?
  • How are your symptoms affecting your life?
  • Have your family members or friends expressed concern about your behavior?
  • Do you feel comfortable in social situations? Why or why not?
  • Do you have any close relationships?
  • If you're not satisfied with work, school or relationships, what do you think is causing your problems?
  • Have you ever thought about harming yourself or others? Have you ever actually done so?
  • Have you ever felt that other people can control your thoughts or that you could influence other people and events through your thoughts?
  • Have any of your close relatives been diagnosed or treated for mental illness?