The Schizotypal Personality

The following is a direct lift from Teddy Millon wrote the drafts of the Axis II Personality Disorders sections of the DSMs III an IV and is generally considered to be the world’s leading authority on personality characteristics. I’m all eyes and ears for comments in reaction to reading this.

(F) Expressively Peculiar (e.g., exhibits socially gauche and curious mannerisms; is perceived by others as aberrant, disposed to behave in an unobtrusively odd, aloof, or bizarre manner).

(F) Interpersonally Secretive (e.g., prefers privacy and isolation, with few highly tentative attachments and personal obligations; has drifted over time into increasingly peripheral vocational roles and clandestine social activities).

(F) Autistic Cognitive Style (e.g., capacity to “read” thoughts and feelings of others is markedly dysfunctional, mixes social communications with personal irrelevancies, circumstantial speech, ideas of reference, and metaphorical asides; often ruminative, appearing self-absorbed and lost in daydreams with occasional magical thinking, bodily illusions, obscure suspicion, odd beliefs, and a blurring of reality and fantasy).

(S) Estranged Self-Image (e.g., exhibits recurrent social perplexities and illusions as well as experiences of depersonalization, derealization and dissociation; sees self as forlorn, with repetitive thoughts of life’s emptiness and meaninglessness).

(S) Chaotic Objects (e.g., internalized representations consist of a piecemeal jumble of early relationships and affects, random drives and impulses, and uncoordinated channels of regulation that are only fitfully competent for binding tensions, accommodating needs and mediating conflicts).

(F) Undoing Regulatory Mechanism (e.g., bizarre mannerisms and idiosyncratic thoughts appear to reflect a retraction or reversal of previous acts or ideas that have stirred feelings of anxiety, conflict or guilt; ritualistic or magical behaviors serve to repent for or nullify assumed misdeeds or “evil” thoughts).

(S) Fragmented Morphologic Organization (e.g., possesses permeable ego-boundaries; coping and defensive operations are haphazardly ordered in a loose assemblage of morphologic structures, leading to desultory actions in which primitive thoughts and affects are discharged directly, with few reality-based sublimations, and significant further disintegrations into a psychotic structural level, likely under even modest stress).

(S) Distraught or Insentient Mood-Temperament (e.g., excessively apprehensive and ill-at-ease, particularly in social encounters; agitated and anxiously watchful, evincing distrust of others and suspicion of their motives that persists despite growing familiarity); or (e.g., manifests drab, apathetic, sluggish, joyless, and spiritless appearance; reveals marked deficiencies in face-to-face rapport and emotional expression).


Glad to know I’m not the only one…

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And I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who can own this stuff. So Thank you.


(F) Interpersonally Secretive (e.g., prefers privacy and isolation, with few highly tentative attachments and personal obligations; has drifted over time into increasingly peripheral vocational roles and clandestine social activities).

No need to get personal.



At one point I thought that I could possibly have Borderline - Paranoid Personality Disorder, maybe.

I never saw myself as having Schizotypal.

@notmoses can schizotypal personality get treated…
don’t know i might be one…

This I can recognize myself in - although I wouldn’t use the notion of preference to describe it myself. It is somewhat of an inclination to isolate at times, but whenever I am with friends I enjoy it as much as anyone else. The other traits do not strike me as particularly pronounced in me.

Some categories give mixed results, like the Autistic Cognitive style:

This I recognize, although it depends on the context whether this is somewhat unusual or not.

This not at all, when stable that is.

But this is no surprise to me, other ways of carving up the personality-traits spectrum have also given mixed results. Like the myers-briggs test. I can recognize aspects of myself in multiple personality types. Here I think it is important to notice that these personality types are nothing but a collection of traits. How one carves up the spectrum into subtypes is quite arbitrary, though some subsets of traits may co-occur more frequently than others. This is not to say that somewhere in a person, there is a single thing-like entity ‘a personality’ that causes these traits, though obviously there are causal factors that explain particular behavior. But one may perfectly exhibit traits of different personality types, and it is a mistake to think that there are multiple personality types at work causing these different traits. The types are merely shorthand for a description, they do not explain but merely describe.

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To be honest I don’t really identify with these traits.

Maybe I am in denial;)

Taking the DSM criteria:

Ideas of reference (excluding delusions of reference)

True to some extent.

Odd beliefs or magical thinking that influences behavior and is inconsistent with subcultural norms (e.g., superstitiousness, belief in clairvoyance, telepathy, or “sixth sense”; in children and adolescents, bizarre fantasies or preoccupations)

Definitely weird thinking.

Unusual perceptual experiences, including bodily illusions

Not sure about this one but it has been said I have difficulties with perception

Odd thinking and speech (e.g., vague, circumstantial, metaphorical, overelaborate, or stereotyped)

Some might say stilted speech

Suspiciousness or paranoid ideation

Most definitely

Inappropriate or constricted affect

Constricted for positive emotions/stimuli but the opposite for negative emotions/stimuli.

Behavior or appearance that is odd, eccentric, or peculiar 

Was seen as socially gauche as a child/teenager and have been treated by other adults as though I am somewhat off key

Lack of close friends or confidants other than first-degree relatives

Very true. A handful of friends in 58 years

Excessive social anxiety that does not diminish with familiarity and tends to be associated with paranoid fears rather than negative judgments about self

Can’t say it doesn’t diminish when I get to know people but hard to separate the paranoia from the social anxiety. Have a paranoid fear that I will be treated as I was as a teenager.

Conclusion - schizotypal traits but stops short of a clinical diagnosis. i do believe that if you have one schizophrenia spectrum PD you often have another at a clinical or sub clinical level.

Because I refused to tell my therapist what was really going on in my head, but willing to be tested she had me take the Millon Multiaxial Inventory test. That’s how I was finally diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder and schizotypal personality disorder. After the test results I finally opened up about the hallucinations and delusions. Boy, that was a relief.

I wonder how this test is scored. Like, how did it know based on my true or false answers that I have schizoaffective?

I’ve gone through a hypochondriac phase where I thought I pretty much had everything, including schizotypal personality disorder. I wonder if my family has traits of it. Some of my family members are quite strange to me: my mom is overly religious and thinks the end of the world will be in her lifetime and my uncle thinks Sandy Hook was a false flag attack for example. They don’t dress weird but have weird beliefs like magical thinking and conspiracies. I’m the only one who dresses kind of weird. I wear sweaters when it’s hot out and stuff and I tend to wear the same clothes everyday. I also had magical thinking as a kid; thought I could control the traffic lights with my mind; thought that reality used to be black and white based on watching old TV shows; thought I wasn’t human.

My main issue with my schizo-affective disorder diagnosis is I don’t hallucinate, never really have… ever. It’s never been a problem. Just anxiety, fear, confusion, delusions, negative symptoms, no energy and no motivation (partly due to Risperdal). I’m glad I don’t hallucinate but I feel like it leaves some doubt that I have it.

Actually I saw a neurologist and told him everything and he didn’t believe I was psychotic or schizophrenic. He thought it all had to do with migraines. I was off my medication and started taking Topamax, but it overstimulated me: I was having panic attacks in public, increased sensitivity to light, and increased sensitivity to sound. Plus, it eventually made me paranoid so I had to get off of it.

While hospitalized, my psychiatrist suggested I might just have a very bad case of a personality disorder (borderline or possibly schizotypal) or I might just have borderline schizophrenia (aka schizoaffective). She also thinks I have Asperger’s (but is not 100% certain), which may be why I’m more disabled than I ought to be.

@astefano I’ve got the diagnostic criteria for schizoaffective disorder from the DSM-V right here. I asked my doc for a copy this morning.

It states that you must have “a major mood episode concurrent with criterion A for schizophrenia” criterion A for schizophrenia includes delusions and negative symptoms, so maybe that’s the reason for your diagnosis? I also know that hallucinations don’t necessarily have to be a symptom to be diagnosed with either schizophrenia or schizoaffective.

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  1. “SzPD” is a rundown of the traits of observed behaviors in the szhizophreniform spectrum; that’s all

  2. Yes. Meds + the CBTs and the MBCTs will (about 65-75% of the time) leaven the symptoms by reducing the unconscious reactivity to stressors in the environment that a) actually are there, and b) actually are not, but we think they are.

I found that by piling these therapies on top of each other, one can bring the percentages up into the 85-90% range. Pts may still be susceptible under higher degrees of stress load, but the therapies in combination reduce not only likelihood of schizotypal reactivity but provide the pt with tools to recognize the reactivity and greatly reduce the amount of time the pt remains in the reactive state.

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Typical in generations preceding the one of the “identified patient.” See…

Bateson, G., Jackson, D., Haley, J.; et al: Perceval’s Narrative: A Patient’s Account of his Psychosis, Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 1961. Etiology of schizophrenia.
Esterson, A.: The Leaves of Spring: Schizophrenia, Family and Sacrifice, London: Tavistock, 1972.
Henry, J.: Pathways to Madness, New York: Random House, 1965.
Jackson, D. (ed.): The Etiology of Schizophrenia: Genetics / Physiology / Psychology / Sociology, London: Basic Books, 1960.
Laing, R. D.; Esterson, A.: Sanity, Madness and the Family, London: Tavistock, 1964.
Lidz, T.: The Origin and Treatment of Schizophrenic Disorders, New York: Basic Books, 1973.
Lidz, T.; Fleck, S., Cornelison, A.: Schizophrenia and the Family, 2nd Ed.; New York: International Universities Press, 1985.

How old were you when your mind was thinking this way?

Topamirate can do that to one whose dopamine channels in the insular > amygdalar > hypothalamic path are too “open.” Sigh. (It’s often a ■■■■■■■ great med one when that’s not the case, however. I guess I a little surprised someone put you on it, though.)

You mean things like photographing a wedding and the MotB (Mother of the Bride) snarling, “these pictures better not make me look fat!” …at you?

I totally didn’t wallop her with a $7K camera/lens combo, but only because I valued the gear more than her. Nothing else was convenient. May have Photoshopped a few extra hairs into her nose, however.


I =hate= snarling (women).

I think you missed her chin and ear lobes though. Go back and take another shot at that before you show 'em the proofs.

How old were you when your mind was thinking this way?

Not sure exactly.

  1. For the traffic lights, somewhere between 7-10 years old
  2. For the black and white thing, probably in middle school
  3. For the human thing, in high school

Thus pretty much the “standard” or “classic” pro-dromal path described by so many who have been able to observe it because the children who became floridly sz were already in some tx path. We might do well to invite the other sz pts on the forum here into this discussion to see what they have to say about their own pro-dromal paths.

I really identified with most of these symptoms. There were one or two that didn’t fit me. I’m probably close enough to be schizotypal. When I was at a mental hospital in Dallas a long time ago one day they gave me this paper that said I had been diagnosed with “schizoid personality disorder”. That was probably the name for it back then.

I think it would be tough for people to look at your whole personality as a disorder.