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Symptoms of Schizotypal Personality Disoders

Rashmi Nemade, Ph.D. & Mark Dombeck, Ph.D., edited by Kathryn Patricelli, MA Updated: Mar 20th 2017

spiralPeople with Schizotypal personality disorder are usually described as odd, eccentric or "a little off" by people who know them. They commonly show evidence of mildly distorted thinking, perceptions, and behaviors. This may include the belief in UFOs, telepathy, telekinesis, clairvoyance, ghosts, past lives, etc. They may dress in eccentric ways. They are often drawn to cults, mystical gurus, and/or the supernatural. This is likely because these groups will agree with and confirm their odd experiences and perceptions. Though sharing some aspects of positive symptoms of schizophrenia, they generally do not have psychotic breaks, and can function in society.

To be diagnosed with this disorder, a person must display five or more of the following symptoms:

  • ideas of reference (excluding delusions of reference). This means that they have the belief that certain public communications contain specific hidden messages meant for them alone. They may believe that a television host's gesture has personal meaning for them, for example, or that song lyrics contain a special personal message. However, when pressed, the person accepts that these ideas are possibly not true.
  • odd beliefs or magical thinking that influences behavior and is not consistent with normal society beliefs. Examples include being superstitious or having a belief in clairvoyance, telepathy, or a "sixth sense." In children and adolescents, this may be displayed as having bizarre fantasies or preoccupations.
  • Unusual perceptual experiences, including bodily illusions
  • odd thinking and speech. This may include vague, metaphorical, very elaborate, or stereotyped speech
  • suspiciousness or paranoid thoughts
  • inappropriate or reduced expression of emotions
  • behavior or appearance that is odd, eccentric or unique
  • lack of close friends other than first-degree relatives (parents and siblings)
  • excessive social anxiety that does not get reduced after knowing someone. This anxiety is more about the person having paranoid fears and not about how they see themselves as is common with social anxiety symptoms.

These symptoms must not happen only as part of Schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or major depressive disorder with psychotic features, another psychotic disorder, or autism spectrum disorder.


Reader Comments
Discuss this issue below or in our forums.

so now not only do i have to feel bad for being different, i'm also now apparently insane? - i agree with occultist - Feb 14th 2015

I concur with what Occultist said. This definition on the site needs to be further clarified. One cannot be diagnosed as mentally ill if the 5 D's: Distress Danger Dysfunction Deviance and Duration.

I have personally had some weird experiences in my life but I do not suffer from hallucinations. I have had people with me on several occasions when weird seemingly impossible stuff was witnessed--and they saw the same thing as me. Hallucinations cannot be shared in that way. Go read something by Oliver Sacks and then try to tell me that I'm wrong. :D

Anyway, weren't UFO's fact in the 40's before the government hush up? I personally think they're demonic/angelic in origin because fact of the matter is is that spiritual warfare exists and occurs every day and everywhere on this earth.

Recently I've been freaking out because I really hate the fact that I haven't had an entirelly normal life. I luckily know Jesus and have faith that everything will work out but it's still really stressful and difficult. I'm on here reading things trying desperately to figure out if there's something wrong with me because I feel kinda traumatized after the last couple of years. I had my first encounter with something at age 2. Then I lived a normal life and was in denial and forgot about it till the occult smacked me in the face when I was 19. And continued to do so up until now--but it's definitely peetering off and nowhere near as intense as a couple of years ago. I'm 23 now.

I'm trying to learn how to deal with the fact that I'm sensitive and that it seems that I am a spiritual medium. I don't want to be. I would rather just be crazy because then I'd have nothing to worry about because it wouldn't be real. But it is real and that's why I am so scared.

Reading this post hurt my feelings and honestly I've had enough of that lately. I only have 4 of the symptoms and not 5 anyway but feels like you're saying that I'm right in being afraid of going insane. At least define the D's please. It would clear up a lot of confusion.

I'm a psychology major/clinical lab research double major who wants to be a clinical psychologist one day.

And yeah I believe in the Occult. Get some :P

Yeah.. - Occultist - Jan 29th 2010

They fail to make an important distinction here. That people that have this disorder have irrational and paranoid beliefs.There are people who carry spirituality and the occult too far, and it IS a magnet to people who have this type of disorder.

This classification assumes that people and organizations including isaac newton, aleister crowley, franz bardon, the OTO, Freemasons, Ceremonial Magicians, Hermetics, Voodoo/Hoodoo, tribal peoples, and many others were CRAZY when in fact they weren't. They were magic users, spiritualsits, religionists.

According to their classification, anyone who has ever been into the occult or paranormal studies has these symptoms. Anyone who has had a religious experience is also classified under this. I suppose also, that the thousands of books written about the occult were written by people with this disorder. Also, people who have practiced the occult for the past 6oo  years are classifed under this as well. While they are at it they should also consider that cultures such as the ancient greeks, romans and egyptians also had spiritual experiences, saw ghosts and spirits and believed in gods. were they crazy too? might as well disregard the entire history of humanity as long as it has reported these spiritual experiences.

These classifications tend to generalize people into a stereotype that does humanity, and the spirituality of humanity a disservice.


They should hand these crazy pills to everyone who goes to church, too..because they have spiritual experiences.


Were you raised a christian? you might have Schizotypal Personality Disorder because according to this, you believe in jesus, and for that you are crazy..



Burn Baby Burn - - Mar 31st 2009

I am with the guy who said STFU and burn all pages that cannot do more then generalize and scare the crap out of amateur psychologists (lay people).  What does this schitzotypal personality even mean?  So believing in UFOs, ESP and aliens makes someone a candidate for being idiosyncratic?  I guess the United States government is paranoid then because they experimented with remote viewing and that is declassified information.  Why are people provided with grants for paranormal research then?  These are not granted by Grandma Smith, they are from guys like Uncle Sam and corporations.  What if they find aliens?  Does that mean these people are not ummmm schitzo?  I wonder why believing in invisibility is not up there wlith believing in other world life forms it sounds just as wild.  Oh yeah those university guys shocked the world about a year and a half ago when they made that cylinder invisible.  If they did that who knows what the nerds hired by the Pentagon had already done by then.  I believe that Moses parted the Red Sea and Noah lived to be over 900.  What does this personality type even mean?  Idiosyncratic means has not been proven yet.

wondering.... - person kid - Feb 26th 2009

so i have fears about really non-scary things like vaccume cleaners, water faucets, and televisions are out to torture me. i've had these ideas ever since i watched the "brave little toaster when i was....about seven...or six...and im 16 now and still have those fears. the Cingular ringtone on people's cell phones make me freak out soooo bad... i also dress weirder than anybody i've ever met and am scared to look into the eyes of my own reflection, and i sometimes feel like im being possessed by demons at my bedside at night..dpes that count as schizotypalish?  



Hey! I think I'm Schizotypical! - Valerie - Jul 9th 2008
Well, it all started when I was 2-3.  I woke up in the middle of the night and I heard chains coming up the stairs.  Clank!  Clank!  Clank!   I am Wonderlaw!  Coming to get you.  I ran to my drawer and tryed to push it in front of the door.  It was too heavy.  So I did the next best thing.  I pushed my laundry basket in front of the door.  I was kind of into sci-fi all my life.  I took care of my friends ghosts.  Or should I say I got rid of them.  Not that they were real.  But in 2003 or 2004 I almost thought I saw a zombie.  I dress weird all the time.  I mean like in high school I would wear like a blue and white striped shirt with pink pants, or a neon green spandex shirt with purple sweats.  Stuff like that.  I still dress pretty eccentric but nothing like in high school.  Welll I had better run.  If you have any questions or want to talk, go ahead.  My life's an open book.  Well got to go.  Bye.  Valerie

Phased Out - Sarah - Feb 11th 2008
I wish someone could help me help my daughter, she is 41 born with a rare kidney disease which caused both kidneys to fill with stones by age 2. She has raised a son to age 17 alone and has no one but family. She has never been in love or been loved. She is so lonely .Because of taking demerol most of her life she finally tried meth.Since trying meth the stones are gone but now she hears voices and thinks there is something implanted in her brain. I must live with her now because she is scared. She swears shes in danger but won't tell me why. For a while she looked behind things for the person talking to her.She thinks she has done porno among other things. I don't know how to get her to get help because the voices tell her they'll (Drs.) will lock her up and tie her down. She is a registered nurse by profession but since this started she has quit. Mental health is such a devouring disease, it takes away your life and those who love you. Its a vicious circle especially this. You can't get help unless you see a Dr. and can't see a Dr. because the voices tell you such bad things. If anyone has any ideas other than PUTTING her away I would appreciate it.

y the categorization? - david - Oct 20th 2007

i aspire to be a psychologist myself, and i dont like mainstream psychology

personally i feel i may have schizotypal personaltiy disorder, and maybe schizophrenia too---i've read and obsessed about it over and over again and now hate myself more than used to to the point where i hate everything about myself including how i am created

 yes some people are odd, and some people are dicks, and some elitists and some crazy split personality people--u call them sociopaths and schizotypes narcissists and borderlines.

 but wut u dont get is, we cant help it, its in built just like normal peoples views are in built and we dont want to change

 undermining people using psychological terms, and branding them with personality disorders--just makes people unhappier, and its a gay thing to do, the only reason people do it anyways it to cover up their own unhappiness with those kinds of people (those wronged by sociopaths, schizotypes narcissists and borderlines)

 so i ask u to stfu, and unless u have something positive to say like say, i dont know  A VIABLE CURE then STFU and burn this page to the ground because our culture does too much stereotyping and generalizationating already

having lived and loved a person suffering from schizophrenia - for A - Jul 28th 2007
I met him while in school, and his vibracy, eccentricities, and brilliance in school allured me. We met, became friends quickly, and eventually moved in together. Within the first year i began noticing his behavior change. He would become upset and speak of Hiltler, Religion, and electronics. Eventually, he went into the hospital, (for the third time I found out) and had been diagnosed scizophrenic.  I stood there right beside him. Throughout the three years we were together, there were alot of misunderstandings, alot of nursing on my part as his dillusions became the forefront of his exsitance. I loved this person deeply, but I found that living with someone who has this illess is usually very one-sided, and I never got much back in the way of emotional support. We have since parted ways, and I am concerned for him everyday. I still see him around, and when we do, we usually both begin to cry for what life andlove we once had briefly, and for the life we'll never have. In conclusion, if you have a classmate that seems a bit strange or wears his hair very differently, remember he or she is someones child, someones husband or wife, and is struggling through life much the way we all do. Their struggle is sometimes just a little harder. 

ok wait a second... - Angela - Dec 12th 2006

It is quite possible that there is something more to this read that I don't understand. However in saying that, it appears that this suggests that being imaginative, creative, and open minded has become a disorder. I might be a little offended.

Editor's Note: This is not what is being suggested. Many schizotypal indivdiuals are creative in one fashion or another, but this is not their defining characteristic. Schziotypal and Schizoid personality disorders are similar to Schizophrenia, but without the hallucinations and psychosis characteristic of that disorder. There is a social "oddness" to schizotypal people, and a willingness to embrace non-mainstream belief systems (e.g., alien abduction, extra-sensory perception (esp), etc.). Such individuals may indeed be creative, but by the same token, it is easily possible (and in fact more common) for people to be creative and not schizotypal.

I think I might know someone... - Stella - Oct 15th 2006
While reading this acticle I realized that a fellow classmate has many of these symptoms, including the eccentric behavoir, that isnt just being unique or orignal. He tends to speak vaugley and in his speech he talks in words that don't really have any rythm or flow, he will say random unrealated statements. Also he can never quite bring himself to say what city he's from. He slicks his hair completley back and always wears a changable pen around his neck that he writes with while still wrapped around his neck. Now, im not sure if he is just strange or really might have some kind of disorder. If you could please maybe write some more symptoms or something to help me verify this prediction, Thanks.

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