Schizoid personality disorder (SPD) is a personality disorder characterized by a lack of interest in social relationships, a tendency towards a solitary or sheltered lifestyle, secretiveness, emotional coldness, and apathy.
Affected individuals may simultaneously demonstrate a rich, elaborate and exclusively internal fantasy world.
SPD is not to be confused with schizophrenia, schizotypal personality disorder or antisocial personality disorder.
People with schizoid personality disorder are often aloof, cold, and indifferent, which causes interpersonal difficulty.
Most individuals diagnosed with SPD have trouble establishing personal relationships or expressing their feelings meaningfully.
They may remain passive in the face of unfavorable situations.
Their communication with other people may be indifferent and terse at times.
Because of their lack of meaningful communication with other people, those who are diagnosed with SPD are not able to develop accurate impressions of how well they get along with others. Laing suggests that when one is not enriched by injections of interpersonal reality, the self-image becomes increasingly empty and volatilized, which leads the individual to feel unreal.
Schizoid personality types are challenged to achieve self-awareness and the ability to assess the impact of their own actions in social situations. When the individual's personal space is violated, they feel suffocated and feel the need to free themselves and be independent.
People who have SPD tend to be happiest when they are in a relationship in which the partner places few emotional or intimate demands on them.
It is not people as such that they want to avoid, but emotions both negative and positive, emotional intimacy, and self disclosure.
This means that it is possible for schizoid individuals to form relationships with others based on intellectual, physical, familial, occupational, or recreational activities as long as these modes of relating do not require or force the need for emotional intimacy, which the affected individual will reject.
Donald Winnicott explains this need to modulate emotional interaction by saying that schizoid individuals "prefer to make relationships on their own terms and not in terms of the impulses of other people." Failing to attain that, they prefer isolation.
Many fundamentally schizoid individuals display an engaging, interactive personality that contradicts the observable characteristic emphasized by the DSM-IV and ICD-10 definitions of the schizoid personality.