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Schizotypal personality disorder is an uncommon occurrence that is characterized by a clique of strange behaviors. People with this condition usually are antisocial and seem not to value relationships or the sense of belonging. Their emotions are characterized by a lot of anxiety that make them turn inward in social occasions. It is a condition cultured by thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in one’s perceptions, understanding of things and the world. Interaction with inherited tendencies and other environmental factors influence the development of this personality (Ratner, 2006). In an ordinary growth and development process, a child learns how to interpret and respond appropriately to social cues. However, in schizotypal patients, the process is interfered and impaired with leading to illogical beliefs, paranoia, and magical thinking. The symptoms of these conditions become manifested in the early adulthood, even though the development runs overtime. A possible reason is that, at adulthood, people become independent and entitled to their behaviors and decisions, so their true self is understood at this stage. Other uncommon clusters of behaviors that resemble it in characteristics normally accompany this condition. These conditions are collectively termed as personality disorders. This discourse shall expound on the behavior manifested by an individual suffering from the schizotypal disorder in order to represent a solid background of the subject.
Behavior of Schizotypal Patients
One classical characteristic is solitude or schizoid. People with this condition find comfort in the absence of other people, and they enjoy being alone. In the presences of other people, they become anxious due to their human phobia. This condition is caused by self-perceptions of being alien. The antisocial behavior tends to inflict pain in these persons as they avoid relationships and slip into an individualistic world. The sociopaths (a term used to describe the antisocial character) also tend to be liars, manipulative and hold selfish disregard towards the rights of other people. Sexual promiscuity is also common among them.
Another condition exhibited by these patients is paranoia. Paranoid patients see other people as a threat and are out to harm them. Sometimes, they may opt to join cults that have paranoid belief just to guard themselves against the other people. Narcissistic behaviors are also accompanying characteristics; these patients have a craving for admiration and seek attention of the others overly. Other patients experience fear of rejection and tend to be avoidant. Such people may reject building long-lasting and close relationships. They may also become dependent. This is when they feel they cannot be on their own and typically develop submissive character to avoid displeasing the others. In the same context, they overly stick to those whom they hold close to and become overly dependent to avoid dismissal.
Schizotypal personalities prefer prolonged arguments and conversations, which is caused by impaired thinking and logic processes. They usually do not consider much about their clothing and dress in outlandish way. Their world perception is different and has imaginations that are overboard and unrealistic. For instance, they may think of influencing and changing other people’s perspectives using magical powers. They would also think of a world where all are equal with only holy people (Gross, 2010).
Borderline is the other condition that may accompany these individuals. Patients with this condition experience the emotional instability with accompanying mood swings. Mood swings are a known contributing factor to social attempts that schizotypal people experience. They may also have impetuous behavior characterized by confusion. Obsession is another condition diagnosed on patients who are closely related to schizotypal. Their possessiveness can be exhibited either their career or attaining perfection in their work. They spend a lot of time adhering to rules and plans and mostly avoid going against them. Such patients have a tendency of becoming workaholics.
There are several other conditions associated with the Schizotypal behavior that show similarities to the ones already discussed. All fall into the category of personality disorders and management. The last two are somewhat similar. Most of these patients seek a medical treatment in hospitals and end up being treated with antipsychotic drugs. Even though these interventions are productive, a question comes when the patients reject such treatments and threaten either their lives or those of their close relatives. Psychotherapy can offer a solution to this problem, but close family members have to be a part of the solution. These patients can reject any thing offered to them due to their impaired thinking and behavior. This implies that one or more family members need to have special psychotherapy skills and they should be practiced in the right and professional manner (McMains, & Mullins, 2010).
Guidelines Applied to Schizotypal Patients
Several guidelines have proven workable in this condition. In the following paragraphs, we shall focus on the guidelines and their application to the problem stated.
First, in the clinical medicine, psychotherapists and negotiators need to know their clients or patients. Before treatment is done in clinical diseases, a laboratory examination and a clinical history are fulfilled to ensure a full understanding of the patients’ health status and magnitude of the problem. Similarly, a closer examination need to be done on the mentally disturbed in order to devise appropriate methods for an approach. In general settings, there are about three distinct categories of personality disorder patients. There are those that have personality disorders, mood disorders or psychotic disorders. Further subdivisions should be issued in order to offer a better understanding of these patients. The following subdivision aids their management.
When people grow, they tend to develop a consistent behavior generated from their view of things, especially when dealing with people in authority. These people have a set of predetermined reactions against the authorities. For negotiators to be successful then, they should conduct themselves in ways that do not trigger such responses from the patients. It is advisable for negotiators to avoid, by all means, criticism and disapproval of their patients. Confusion is a common characteristic of these patients; the use of interpersonal styles in communication tends to cause confusion in most patients. Most negotiators should expect confusion, increased tension and an effort to direct the response of the negotiator. The patients need to be handled in humble and encouraging ways that make them feel wanted and safe.
Another significant huddle which negotiators need to overcome and win over is to reduce the patients pre-set responses when dealing with authoritative figures (Segall, Dasen, Berry & Poortinga, 1999). This will help the patient think in new ways and make informed decisions that will affect their healing process. In developing rapport with the patient, the negotiator should be aware of an individual variation, and simple and successful approach may not work in other patients of the same condition. This means that an appropriate self-image for the patient should be applied to.
A good category of people who suffer personality disorders are terrorist or war hostages. The traumatic stress they undergo when in captive contributes to their emotional distress they experience after the release. We shall examine this as a case example to understand the applicability of the guidelines provided above. The physical torture these people have undergone causes a significant harm to their emotional health that leaves them with a lost hope and a control for their lives. A feeling of threat to their lives, body insecurity, and distorted self-image are common among them. They have to adapt, accept the reality, and finally learn how to survive in that situation. This has prolonged consequences on their perception of their lives, freedom, and self-control. The components of captivity consequences include emotional, impaired cognitive function and physical effects. These components exert their effects together to produce a systemic syndrome that affects their personality and behavior. The emotional component is characterized by elevated levels of anxiety that may run throughout their lives (Louis, 2011). They hardly find emotional stability, tense easily and experience unexplained fear. These experiences not only happen unexpectedly but also intensify when confronted. A feeling of guilty is also a common experience among most POWS (Prisoners of War) victims. This is because they tend to think that their own failures took them captive. Their motions swing without apparent reasons; they may experience periods of joy, which are then followed by unexplained sad or low spirits. Cognitive after effects follow the emotional effects in this component. Self-guilt tends to occupy a central role in making these people feel and see themselves as failures not only to them but also even to their colleges. They may no longer feel their value for the society and community. Self-criticism and second-guessing are also common. When interventions are not sorted early enough, these individuals tend to develop impaired thinking process and reasoning which can be attached to physical behavior. Social isolation may be one of the manifested physical consequences, which can be regarded as behavioral. Others include aggression, uncontrollable crying, and even a drug and substance abuse. Therefore, negotiators for these people actually have to be aware of all these possible reactions and handle them with the appropriate approach.