Eccentric Personality Disorders

Paranoid, Schizoid, Schizotypal

Individuals with these disorders often appear ‘odd’ or different from societal norms and show these patterns of behaviour and thinking by early adulthood and in various contexts (e.g. work, home, social situations). 

Paranoid Personality Disorder

An individual with Paranoid Personality Disorder generally tends to interpret the actions of others as threatening. The distrust and suspiciousness is indicated by four or more of the following (from DSM-IV, American Psychiatric Association 1994):

  • Suspect, without sufficient basis, that others are exploiting, harming, or deceiving him or her
  • Is preoccupied with unjustified doubts about the loyalty or trustworthiness of friends or associates
  • Is reluctant to confide in others because of unwarranted fear that the information will be used against him or her
  • Reads hurtful or threatening meanings into kind remarks or events
  • Is unforgiving of insults or injuries
  • perceives attacks on his or her character or reputation that are not apparent to others and is quick to react angrily
  • has recurrent suspicions, without justification, regarding faithfulness of spouse or sexual partner

Schizoid Personality Disorder

An individual with Schizoid Personality Disorder is generally detached from social relationships, and shows a narrow range of emotional expression in various social settings. This pattern is indicated by four (or more) of the following (from DSM-IV, American Psychiatric Association, 1994):

  • Neither desires nor enjoys close relationships, including family relationships
  • Often chooses activities that don’t involve other people
  • Has little interest in having sexual relations with another person
  • Enjoys few activities
  • Lacks close friends other than immediate family
  • Appears indifferent to praise or criticism
  • Shows emotional coldness, detachment, or little emotional expression

A diagnosis of Schizoid Personality Disorder would not be made if the criteria only occurred during the course of a Pervasive Developmental Disorder (e.g. Autism).

Schizotypal Personality Disorder

A person with Schizotypal Personality Disorder is uncomfortable in close relationships, has thought or perceptual distortions and peculiarities of behaviour. This disorder is indicated by five (or more) of the following (from DSM IV, American Psychiatric Association 1994):

  • Ideas of reference, i.e., believes that casual and external events have a particular and unusual meaning that is specific to him or her
  • Odd beliefs or magical thinking that influences behaviour and is inconsistent with cultural norms (e.g., belief in superstitions, or clairvoyance, telepathy, or “sixth sense”)
  • Unusual perceptual experiences (e.g., hears a voice murmuring his or her name; reports bodily illusions)
  • Odd thinking and speech (e.g., unusual phrasing, speech which is vague, overly elaborate, and wanders from the main point)
  • Excessively suspicious thinking
  • Inappropriate or constricted emotions (reduced range and intensity of emotion)
  • Behaviour or appearance that is odd or peculiar (e.g., unusual mannerisms, avoids eye contact, wears stained, ill-fitting clothes)
  • Lack of close friends or confidants other than immediate family
  • Excessive social anxiety that remains despite familiarity with people and social situation. The anxiety relates more to suspiciousness about others’ motivations than to negative judgments about self.

In addition to the exclusions described above, this disorder would not be diagnosed if the pattern described above only occurred during the course of a Pervasive Developmental Disorder (e.g., Autism)