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Difference between Avoidant and Schizoid personalities

Avoidant vs Schizoid personalities

What are avoidant and schizoid personalities?
An Avoidant personality disorder is characterized by lack of social interest and inadequacy basically due to fear of criticism whereas, a Schizoid personality is seen in those who avoid interaction with the society because they enjoy solitary lifestyle and are emotionally cold, and love their own company.
Difference in presentations
Avoidant personality disorder is characterized by people who are extremely sensitive to rejection and because of fear of being rejected, they avoid socializing, avoid meeting new people and have low self esteem, a feeling of inadequacy and feel unwanted. Extreme shyness in social situations and anxiety is experienced by such people. Though they wish to have close relations but due to fear of being neglected they back off and they avoid physical contact as well. They are self loathers and have imposed self isolation due to fear of being criticized.
Schizoid personality disorder is characterized by emotional detachment from society, coldness, apathy, lack of interaction with others, preferring solitude, being in their own world and being happy in it, having very few close friends and minimally interested even in them and indifference to praise or criticism. They prefer introspection to outside activities, have no interest in sexual activities, and are indifferent to society. They enjoy their solitude and are happy about it unlike avoidant personalities who prefer company.

Difference in causes leading to such personalities
Childhood emotional neglect and peer group rejection are considered as risk factors for development of avoidant personalities. It is usually seen in early adulthood. Other factors associated could include stammering, temperamental factors which is considered genetic. Causes for schizoid personalities are believed to be genetic. It is also the result of unloving, neglectful parenting. It is mostly seen in relatives of schizophrenic people.
WHO guidelines for diagnosis of Avoidant personality disorder: any 4 from below mentioned traits-
1. persistent and pervasive feelings of tension and apprehension;
2. belief that one is socially inept, personally unappealing, or inferior to others;
3. excessive preoccupation with being criticized or rejected in social situations;
4. unwillingness to become involved with people unless certain of being liked;
5. restrictions in lifestyle because of need to have physical security;
6. avoidance of social or occupational activities that involve significant interpersonal contact because of fear of criticism, disapproval, or rejection.

WHO criteria for the diagnosis of Schizoid personality disorder, out of which four should be present:
1. Emotional coldness, detachment
2. Limited capacity to express emotions towards others.
3. preference for solitary activities.
4. Very few close friends or relationship and a lack of desire for such.
5. Indifference to praise or criticism.
6. Little interest in sexual experiences (taking into account age).
7. Lack of interest in activities.
8. Indifference to social norms and conventions.
9. Preoccupation with fantasy and introspection

Avoidant personality disorder is treated by employing various trainings like social skill, group therapy were the main aim of the therapist is to gain confidence of the patient. If his trust is violated he will start avoiding the treatment sessions. He should be encouraged to challenge his negative beliefs about himself. Sometimes medical therapy is also included. Treatment for Schizoid personality are anti psychotic drugs but mainly encouraging them to interact with people by communicating, sharing of ideas, feelings, speech therapy.

Avoidant personality disorder is seen in individuals who avoid contact with society due to fear of rejection. They fear criticism and thus distance themselves, though if given security of being loved and accepted he would love to be in the company. Schizoid means one who directs attention towards one’s inner self away from external world. He is happy in his own space and does not want to be interfered. He loves his solitude and is a loner. Both the personality disorders are treated mainly by counseling and encouraging them to challenge their beliefs.

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