Schizotypal Personality Disorder (STPD) is a type of mental illness characterized by a pervasive pattern of suspiciousness, dissociation, and interpersonal relationships marked by grandiose fantasies of omnipotence and control over others. Individuals with schizotypal personality disorder are often highly manipulative and have little or no empathy. They may display behaviors such as lying repeatedly, manipulating others into doing things they do not want to do, being overly dramatic and exhibiting extreme egocentricity.
The symptoms of schizotypal personality disorder vary from person to person. Some individuals will show few or none of these symptoms at all while other individuals will exhibit many of them. There is no single diagnostic criteria for schizotypal personality disorder; instead it is a spectrum disease. Symptoms may appear suddenly or gradually over time.
There are two main types of schizotypal personality disorder: paranoid and delusional. People with schizotypal personality disorder tend to believe that everyone is out to get them, including family members, friends, co-workers and even complete strangers. They may see their own behavior as mysterious and unpredictable. They may think that they are being watched constantly by unseen forces. They may believe that they possess special powers or abilities and often have delusions of grandeur.
The cause of schizotypal personality disorder is not known, however, it is known that genetics plays a significant role in the development of it. Many people with a family history of schizotypal personality disorder are more likely to develop it. It typically develops between late adolescence and young adulthood. There is no known cure at this time; however, there are treatments available which may be effective in helping an individual cope with the disease.
Although an individual with STPD typically begins displaying symptoms in their late adolescence or early adulthood, it is not unusual for a condition like this to go undiagnosed for many years. The reason for this is because most people do not seek treatment for what they believe to be minor symptoms which do not interfere with their normal daily routines. A person suffering from STPD may begin to realize that something is not quite right when the symptoms of STPD begin to interfere with their work, school or other types of important activities in their daily lives. In addition, it is also common for these individuals to feel as if others are out to get them, either secretly or overtly. This is where the paranoia begins.
For most people, the feelings of being watched or plotted against become too much to handle, so they decide to seek help at this point. It is important to note that a person with STPD does not necessarily have the same symptoms or present them in the same way as another who has it. The paranoia and delusions may be more prominent in one individual while another may experience the grandiose beliefs more so than anything else.
In addition, the symptoms of STPD can vary from mild to severe. Some people experience bouts of paranoia and delusions, while others experience them on a constant basis. This means that some people may have a certain “flavor” of the disorder, if you will, one that is more prominent than the others.
Although there are different theories on the cause of schizotypal personality disorder, a popular one is the diathesis stress model. This basically states that if an individual has a mild cognitive defect, their defenses are weakened to allow for the development of certain disorders such as STPD. In other words, an individual may have been susceptible to STPD for quite some time, but their strong defense mechanisms keep the disorder at bay. However, if the right combination of stressors act upon the affected individual, STPD may develop.
Another cause of STPD is the biological model, which basically states that some people are just more prone to developing STPD due to their genetic make-up. In this case, stressors do not affect the individual at all; rather they (the stressors) simply serve to bring out the disorder that was already there.
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