Schizoid Personality Disorder

Silhouette of man with schizoid personality disorder sitting on grass during golden hour

To Be Left Alone In Peace

A person with schizoid personality disorder avoids social activities and interactions and prefers to spend time by him or herself. They are classically labeled by society as “loners” and usually demonstrate a limited range of emotional expression. Schizoids lack the desire to form close relationships; their own presence is all they need to be satisfied.

Schizoid personality disorder becomes evident by early adulthood. Schizoids may have trouble with school and jobs because they are uncomfortable being around people. That is why they prefer jobs where they can work alone. Think of the tollbooth worker who only works the nightshift in order to avoid as many interactions as possible.

Schizoids prefer to be alone and do activities on their own. They do not want help, advice, suggestions or compliments from others; to be left alone in peace is all that they ask for. They do not want a close relationship; they feel uncomfortable, uneasy and uninterested in developing a close bond with another human being.

Schizoids feel little to no desire for a sexual relationship. Masturbation in the privacy of their home is all the pleasure that they need. Why would they want a sexual relationship if they do not enjoy being around others? The thought of getting close to another individual probably turns them off.

Schizoids have difficulty expressing their emotions and reacting appropriately in different situations. They do not know how to show their true colors without coming off as awkward or different. So they avoid situations that involve people in order to prevent uncomfortable experiences.

Schizoids may seem emotionally cold towards others. It’s not because they dislike people; they just prefer to keep to themselves. They find company in the comfort of their own presence. When they do interact with another person, their dysphoria translates into emotions that are perceived by others to be cold.

Schizoids don’t react to praise or remarks by others. What you say does not matter to them. It’s not that they are trying to be disrespectful; they simply do not care what you say about them. Their minds are disconnected from the rest of humanity; human interaction is not their cup of tea.

If you run into a person who seems emotionally cold, disinterested, aloof, makes poor eye contact and quickly attempts to leave your presence, keep in mind schizoid personality disorder!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Avoidant Personality Disorder

Woman with avoidant personality disorder covering her face with her right hand

Anxious Personality Disorder

People with avoidant personality disorder experience nervousness and fear of being around others. They tend to have poor self-esteem, resulting in a fear of being rejected by others or being negatively judged. Because their fear is excessive, it leads them to avoid social settings.

Avoidant personality disorder affects men and women equally. It becomes evident in childhood and progresses into adulthood. But it is not diagnosed until age 18 or later. Personality disorders are not diagnosed in people younger than age 18, even though you can get an idea of what type of personality a child or adolescent has.

It is not clear what causes someone to develop avoidant personality disorder. Parental or peer rejection are possible contributors, impacting the person’s self-esteem and sense of worth. If a person experiences rejection many times and also has a poor self-esteem to begin with, it may promote the development of an avoidant defense mechanism, causing them to retreat back in the shadows and avoiding any social interactions.

The main symptom is an excessive fear of rejection by others, resulting in isolation. They may also be oversensitive and easily hurt by criticism, promoting further isolation in order to avoid future negative emotions. They also lack many friends, sometimes having no friends at all. Unless they are certain of being liked, they are not willing to take the risk to start a friendship or relationship.

They experience extreme anxiety in social settings. Some will avoid getting a job that involves contact with other people; think of the tollbooth worker who only works the night shift and communicates with people who are probably too tired to even say anything.

They are also very self-conscious, shy and awkward in social situations due to a fear of being embarrassed. They cannot take a chance to show their true personality because such a chance makes them vulnerable to criticism; instead, they hide behind an avoidant personality.

Lastly, people with avoidant personality disorder have a poor self-image, seeing themselves as unappealing in the eyes of others. If they cannot tolerate their image within their own mind, how do they expect to tolerate remarks, jokes, banter or criticism from others around them?

They can’t. So they become avoidant. If you suspect someone of having avoidant personality disorder, see if you can gently approach them and help them come out of their shell. Do not leave someone in the dark when you can shine a little light into their life!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Histrionic Personality Disorder

Histrionic woman inside black car showing her cleavage

Histrionic Meaning

Histrionic personality disorder is a cluster B personality disorder characterized by an overdramatic, overly emotional and erratic type of behavior. Histrionics are extremely emotional and attention-seeking; their behavior becomes evident by early adulthood.

Histrionics become uncomfortable in situations in which they’re not the center of attention. They constantly feel the need to attract a lot of attention in order to fill their emotional void or inflate their ego. They may use their physical appearance to draw attention to themselves.

Histrionics often interact with others by inappropriate sexually seductive or provocative behavior. They are very sexual and may even get themselves into many sexual relationships out of a desire to feel attention and pleasure. They often dress very flaunty and revealing in order to attract sexual attention into their lives.

Histrionics are often shallow in their emotional expression. They may show interest in what you say in one moment and completely forget about you in the next. Think of the loud attractive blonde lady at a dinner party who is having one too many cocktails and demonstrating obnoxious behavior and “omg” statements. That’s histrionic.

Their speech often lack details. Their conversations are very superficial and bubbly; logic and facts are not on the agenda. It’s about emotions, appearance, sexuality and materialism. The simpler the conversation, the better the histrionic feels.

Histrionics display self-dramatization, theatricality and an exaggerated expression of emotions. It’s as if they are the leading actor on stage, attempting to soak up all the attention and credit. They may appear very entertaining and fun to be around with, but their shallowness often drives people away.

Histrionics may also be very easily influenced by others. Because they are so engulfed in superficial emotions and theatricality, they naturally make themselves easy targets for others to exploit. This may lead to good or bad situations, depending on if there is anything to gain by the histrionic.

Lastly, histrionics may consider relationships to be more intimate than they actually are. For instance, they may get into a one night stand believing that the hookup was the start of a brand new relationship. They may believe that innocent flirting by the opposite sex is a sign of a future relationship, when in reality, the man is just being polite and friendly.

Whenever someone is overly dramatic, flaunty, emotional and attention-seeking, keep in mind histrionic personality disorder!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Narcissistic man wearing black top

Understanding Narcissism

Narcissism is the excessive interest in or admiration of oneself and one’s physical appearance. Narcissistic people are self-centered and selfish, involving a sense of entitlement, a lack of empathy and a need for admiration. They come first; you come second.

Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a cluster B personality disorder involving a pattern of grandiosity, lack of empathy and need for admiration developing in early childhood. As the person ages, the traits become more evident.

Grandiosity is an unrealistic sense of superiority and the belief that one is better than others. Narcissists believe themselves to be unique while others are inferior and the same. They are very pretentious, attempting to impress others with the belief of holding greater importance or talent than is actually possessed.

Narcissists are very preoccupied with fantasies of power, beauty, intelligence and success. Their goal is to climb the ladder of success and stomp on everyone below them; some narcissists do have the capability of becoming very successful in life. Their inflated ego actually works to their advantage, but with distaste from many around them.

Because narcissists believe that they are special or unique, they can only associate themselves with other high-status people or groups. If you are not wealthy, brilliant or successful, a narcissist views you as inferior and a waste of time. A common example is a narcissist walking in the emergency room and impatiently demanding to be seen first by the best physician, only to be told otherwise, resulting in his or her stomping out of the hospital.

Narcissists have the need for excessive admiration. They expect others to praise their talents and success, even when none may be apparent. Because they are self-centered, the view themselves as the center of the universe, with everyone else rotating around them with the expectation of constant attention.

Narcissists attempt to exploit others for their own benefit. They may easily take advantage of vulnerable people in order to gain an upper hand and inflate their ego even more. They lack empathy and have no remorse for anything bad that happens to those around them.

Lastly, narcissists may believe that others are envious of him or her because of their imagined success and power. In reality, nobody is actually envious of them. For narcissists who are wealthy and successful, they may falsely believe that others are envious; in reality, others just do not like them as a person and are not necessarily envious.

Whenever interacting with an arrogant and self-centered person, keep in mind narcissistic personality disorder!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

The Importance Of Educating

Person holding a piece of paper with "phone a friend" written on it

Educating Others On Mental Illness

The mind controls everything: our reactions, movements, choices, beliefs, respiration, sexual drive, creativity, motivation, work ethic and the list goes on. The importance of educating each other on mental illness is immense; one person’s experience can help prevent another person’s demise.

Many people can participate in educating others about mental illness. The more honesty that is delivered, the more stories that can be interrelated! The more open that we are with each other, the greater the effect becomes on shaping society to develop a stronger understanding of how mental health impacts our lives in many different ways.

If we do not come together and form a web of sticky education, humanity will continue to remain divided on the experience of mental health. Cohesion must form to help spread the understanding of mental illness! Education is one form of ending stigma; people are attracted to knowledge and personal experience.

If you have suffered or are suffering from a mental illness, share the experience with someone you know who may be suffering as well; strength in numbers is the expectation. Utilize the power of knowledge and past experience to help someone in need!

The problem does not lie with the medical field in terms of education. But as professionals, our reach can only extend so far. We need the help of humanity to contribute by promoting the end of mental health stigma and the sharing of personal and honest experiences, while being nonjudgmental.

Science can only take us so far. But love and care are limitless.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Improving Mental Health

Doctor in white coat holding patient's hand

Passion, Care And Trust

Our patients come first. Our ego comes last. As soon as the medical community adopts this mindset, mental health care will start to improve. Even among the medical community, there is too much selfishness, pride, competition and ego, that we forget what we signed up for: to help other human beings live happier and healthier lives.

Where is the passion? Many physicians see patients as an obligatory task, like checking off a to-do list. They forget to smile, be empathetic, listen well and compliment. It’s as if burnout has overtaken passion, resulting in empty interactions that lack any meaning or purpose. Passion is a must in order for the mental health of humanity to consistently improve.

Where is the care? I am not referring to prescribing medications or talking to patients. Where is the concern and interest for our patients today? Some physicians crack jokes, laugh and even make inappropriate comments; we cannot expect patients to play along when mental health care is not a playing matter.

Where is the trust? Many physicians say this and that and do not deliver. “I will talk to you later today”, “I will see you in ten minutes”, “I will follow up with you later”, only to do the opposite. Some physicians also sell out to pharmaceutical companies, replacing patient care with money as their number one objective.

Improving mental health is not only about doing genetics and neuroscience research or coming out with more effective medications; that is 25% of the battle. The rest relies on delivering authentic, reliable, passionate and trustworthy care on a daily basis. Our patients rely on us; they view us as healers in times of need.

On the first day of medical school, we put on our white coats and took a vow, to deliver honest and ethical care to our patients for the rest of our careers. Many physicians are unconsciously throwing in the towel and breaking the vow before their careers have even ended; they forget their past.

Let us come together and restore the prestige of medicine and psychiatry!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Mild Suicidal Ideation

Positive motivating mental health signs posted on fence along trees

How To Stop Suicidal Intrusive Thoughts

Gun violence. Psychotic breaks. Heroin injections. Hatred fueled by racism. Political clashing. Domestic and international terrorism. Suicides. The list goes on. It is no secret that we are living in times of great stress. Constantly being bombarded by negativity brings up the concept of epigenetics: the modification of genes resulting in some turning on or off.

Think of it like this: stress and negativity result in genetic modifications which result in mental illness. Add to this picture alcohol and drugs and you have a society suffering from addiction, depression, psychosis and suicides. And mental illness almost never presents alone; suicidal ideation is a frequent flyer.

Whether you are suffering from anxiety, depression, OCD, anorexia nervosa, binge eating disorder or compulsive buying, mild suicidal ideation will present itself at one point in time, whether you admit it or not. This is because the human mind is not naturally trained to deal with mental illness.

Suicidal ideation becomes a dysfunctional defense mechanism of the mind to put an end to the suffering caused by mental illness. However, suicidal ideation may also become part of a mental illness, becoming stronger and more powerful as each day goes by. For instance, a teenager going through puberty and peer pressure at school may have passive suicidal ideation, but not strong enough to act upon it. But if that same teenager now becomes depressed, the suicidal ideation now becomes persistent and more potent, to the point of progressing to a suicidal attempt.

The key to stopping suicidal thoughts is to break the chain before it has a chance to expand; cut it loose before it self-replicates. If you find yourself having suicidal thoughts, take a deep breath and distract yourself by immediately thinking of something positive in your life. Looking at the positive things in your life allows you to shift your focus away from the virus known as suicidal ideation.

And lastly, never give up! Be honest with yourself and seek help if you continue to struggle with suicidal ideation. There is no shame to being prescribed antidepressants such as Prozac, Lexapro or Wellbutrin or undergoing psychotherapy. Your life is precious so take care of it!

We are all in this together.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Severely Mentally Ill And Suffering From Delusions

Person outside the window suffering from a mental illness and delusions

When Delusions Take Over Reality

Sanity is often taken for granted and not given enough recognition. We live our lives on autopilot, coasting through our days with little worry and concern about our mental health; until a disturbance in our consciousness becomes evident. Then we slow down, press the pause button and wonder, “what was that?”

Now imagine having no pause button because you never had a signal to slow down. Your final destination becomes questionable because you are now confronted with suspicions, beliefs or worries which you never previously thought about. And the scary part is that you start to believe these delusions without knowing them to be delusions.

Imagine believing that your mind is controlled by a government, that there are electrodes placed inside of you, that shoes give you electric shocks or that someone famous is in love with you. 10% of the time you question these beliefs, leaving you 90% of the time in a twilight state.

Imagine no longer being able to tell the difference between what is real and what is not; slowly, more ideas and situations become incorporated into your delusional world. You don’t know what to believe anymore! You are slowly being robbed of your reality, piece by piece, minute by minute; a fictional world now stands as your best bet of becoming your final destination.

And what is a final destination which does not exist?

Delusional Disorder.

Imagine.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Ways To Calm Anxiety

Woman leaning on bed suffering from anxiety

What Helps With Anxiety?

Running away from it is definitely not the answer. Anxiety is a very uncomfortable mental sensation that can happen at anytime and anywhere. Genetics, substance abuse, stress, trauma, physical disorders and other mental disorders can trigger anxiety.

Before turning to psychotropic medications, psychiatric evaluations or making any drastic lifestyle changes, it is important to remain calm and find a quiet place to unwind and analyze yourself. Attempt to understand what may be causing the anxiety; often times, a source can be pinpointed with some careful self-observation.

Are there people who are bringing negative energy into your life? Are you more stressed and worried than you usually are? Are you afraid of future events bringing you dismay? Are you experiencing a repetitive and dull lifestyle with little to no pleasurable activities to spice things up?

Analyzing your life is not a difficult process if you commit some time and energy to the process. But you must be interested in understanding and bettering your life for this technique to work. Not surprisingly, many people don’t have the courage nor desire to analyze themselves, naively thinking that their life will get better.

There is a high chance that anxiety will not go away on its own without some sort of intervention. Perhaps try to meditate using a technique called mindfulness; practicing it daily will allow you to become more in tune with yourself as well as help clear the cluster of thoughts that accumulate day after day.

Talking with a person you trust can also help alleviate anxiety. There is something soothing about sharing your thoughts and feelings with a person who you feel comfortable around. If you are the type of person who holds in a lot of feelings without sharing them with others, anxiety can develop as a side effect.

Exercising is a great way to alleviate anxiety. It helps refresh your mind and body and diminish stressful thoughts and emotions. Implementing a consistent exercise routine is one of the best lifetime investments that you can introduce into your life; you only stand to gain.

Lastly, if you are still suffering from anxiety after trying the above techniques, then you may need to seek psychiatric services. You will either be started on an antidepressant, psychotherapy or both; there is no shame to either treatment. Many people are on antidepressants and undergo psychotherapy for various reasons.

What matters is that you defeat your anxiety and live a comfortable and rewarding life!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

El Paso Shooting

Mentally ill person wearing armor suit and carrying shotgun

Turning A Blind Eye To Mental Illness

A manifesto. Accumulation of hate. Thoughts of killing. Destruction. Elimination. All fueled by deep hatred stemming from malfunctioning brain circuits; neurons releasing too little or too much neurotransmitters in different regions of the brain. Meanwhile, the clues pile up on social media and nobody does anything about it.

This is the problem with gun violence in the United States: mental illness is still not receiving the full attention and focus that it needs to prevent such catastrophes from taking place. People witness disturbing social media posts or odd behavior by a certain individual and do nothing about it.

Whenever you see something, say something! Mental illness can no longer be ignored. For how much longer will America turn a blind eye to mental health? Guns do not kill people; people kill people! A deep hatred towards another race, gender, ethnicity or creed stems from mental illness. All emotions originate from the brain.

Anger, jealously, hatred or fear; they all originate from the brain. There is no hatred without something malfunctioning in the human mind. When you have a person take twenty innocent lives and injury twenty-six people in a shopping mall on a Saturday afternoon, you know that mental illness played a role. You would have to be naive and ignorant to believe otherwise.

Some would argue that America is overmedicated and that we need to rely less on prescription drugs. How can this argument stand when every other month there is a shooting spree in a different state? We can ban all the guns in the world but people with mental illness would still obtain them very easily via the black market.

Banning guns is like starting a modern day “war on drugs” by attempting to make everything illegal. We are finally admitting that the “war on drugs” has failure, as evidenced by the modern opioid and methamphetamine epidemics, soon to be followed by a stimulant epidemic.

Banning guns is not the solution; it never will be. The solution is ending the mental health stigma and coming forward to share our problems rather than spraying them on innocent lives. We need to be honest with ourselves and step out of the darkness where mental illness sometimes takes us.

It is time for America to come out of the closet regarding our mental health crisis. We can no longer treat this subject lightly or else innocent lives will continue to be robbed. Violence, murders, suicides and drug abuse all stem from an under-treated society. We are being prescribed medications but we are not fully forthcoming with all of our problems.

The psychiatric medications are acting as temporary bandages rather than long-term solutions. Some people do not even know the significance of the medication which they are taking. This is because we are superficially addressing the mental health crisis. We can no longer be ashamed of sharing our problems with each other.

And this applies to the rest of the world as well. By coming together and sharing our mental health concerns, we will make this world a better place and decrease violence and hatred exponentially!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)