Personality and disorder  

Being schizoid is primarily a personality type with an inherent, and distinctive behaviour pattern. 

This personality displays certain traits  which are described in ICD-10 and DSM-IV.

Some experts feel that the word “disorder” is incorrect, and that it should only be applied to those with a high level of schizoidism.

1 - Grades

Not all Schizoid personalities display all schizoid personality traits.

And some traits may be more pronounced in one person,

 than they are in another. Each personality has his/her own particular level or grade. For example:

anhedonia may be moderate, to severe. 

A person who displays most of the diagnostic criteria may be termed a high level schizoid, whereas those

 who display fewer traits may be termed medium to low level schizoids.

Those personalities who display a high level of schizoid traits border on schizophrenia, while those

who display a low level will fall within the limits of a ‘normal’ personality..

2 - Stress Disorders

Stress occurs in individuals because they feel that ‘they have to do something, but can’t’.

This situation has a negativel effect on the individual and his/her mental, and physical health.

Because schizoids do not have the emotional resources to respond to work and relationships in a way

that society expects them to,  schizoids are doomed to experience stress.

 Stress has the following effects in everyone:

1-Anxiety    2-Somatic disorders    3-Dysthymia and depression    4-Brief psychotic episodes  5- Crisis of depersonalization and derealization.

 The most frequent somatic disorders are digestive disorders. 

Dysthymia is a mild form of depression, but which is constantly present.

The most characteristic features of psychosis are delusions and hallucinations.

A psychotic episode is a short hallucination or  delusion which may affect anyone under stress. 

Schizoids frequently suffer from stress, which may lead to stress disorders.

However, these are stress disorders , and not personality disorders.


3 - A Psychoanalytic Explanation

Psychoanalysis argues that the absence of affection and parental connection is the root of  the schizoid conflict .

Michael Balint, a psychoanalyst explains schizoid behaviour in his book, ‘The Basic Fault’ .

The defect lies in the baby’s psyche, for which the mother was responsible.

The problem has its origin in empathy – the mother felt no empathy for the child, and this disturbed his/her ego.

Thus, during his or her childhood, the schizoid was never shown empathy.

This lack of empathy experienced with the mother, is reflected in the schizoid’s relationships with other people.

Thus, the schizoid perpetuates this kind of relationship – one in which there is no empathy – in his relationships with others.

4 - Heritage and Environment

Recent biological studies indicate that schizoid behaviour may be genetic.

However, the schizoid gene remains dormant in many individuals,

and is only expressed in those individuals where the environment is conducive

 to the development of schizoid behaviour.,

Thus, it is the environment which ultimately triggers schizoid behaviour.

In addition, the study of Epigenetics has found that certain genes may be inhibited

 by certain substances in the mother’s womb. In these cases,

 the initial genetic heredity may not be fully expressed.

Frequently, schizoid genes are obtained from both parents,

and it is also the parents who provide the environment which triggers the manifestation of schizoid behaviour.


5- Between normality and schizophrenia.

The gap between introversion, normality, and  schizophrenia is occupied by three groups :

* The schizotypal  

* The avoidant  

*  The schizoid (This web page is dedicated only to the schizoid)

A continuum can be traced between introversion and schizophrenia, with introversion being least affected,

 and schizophrenia being most affected.

The schizoid (and the other groups mentioned) falls in the intermediate space.

The high-grade schizoids appear  near schizophrenia, and they may share passive schizophrenic symptoms :

* anhedonia    * flattened affect    * apathy

The low-grade schizoids fall close to normality on the continuum, although they do experience some problems

 in integrating into society.


The schizoid  displays some re-balances which he establishes in his life spontaneously.

It’s as though he compensates to establish some kind of balance in his life..

A. INACTIVITY-ACTIVITY  The schizoid is characterized by a non-active personality, sometimes passive,

and sometimes apathetic. To compensate, he develops a rich inner life -  productive and sometimes creative.

The schizoid restricts outside activity and, instead, lives his life internally.

B.  FAILURE-POWER  The schizoid is incapable of adapting to the outside world.

In compensation for this failure, he has strong fantasies of power

Where he can bask in the sensation of power in an effort to compensate for his failure.

C. HUMILIATION-REVENGE  The schizoid – who at heart is an extremely sensitive person –

appears indifferent when he is humiliated in real life .

And he will compensate for these personal attacks in his fantasies by having fantasies of revenge.

D. INSENSITIVITY-SENSITIVITY  In real life he appears to be cold and insensitive.

 But, in private, may be sensitive and charming.

E. DETACHMENT-MEMBERSHIP  He goes through life as an uprooted person,

detached and disconnected from everything and everyone..

Yet he has a permanent yearning to belong – to something or someone.

Their detachment leaves a void which they attempt to fill with some form of ‘belonging’.

F. EMPTY-CREATIVE WORK  Since their lives lack friendship, communication, and meaningful relationships,

they live in an existential void. where the sterile loneliness may become unbearable.


However, it is possible to fill this great void with creative work, and


if this lonesome work produces pleasure, they may lead successful lives.


Revised on February 2012 ©Copyright