Schizoid personality disorder
Schizoid personality disorder (/ˈskɪtsɔɪd, ˈskɪdzɔɪd/, often abbreviated as SPD or SzPD) is a personality disorder characterized by a lack of interest in social relationships, a tendency toward a solitary or sheltered lifestyle, secretiveness, emotional coldness, detachment and apathy. Affected individuals may be unable to form intimate attachments to others and simultaneously possess a rich and elaborate but exclusively internal fantasy world. Other associated features include stilted speech, a lack of deriving enjoyment from most activities, feeling as though one is an “observer” rather than a participant in life, an inability to tolerate emotional expectations of others, apparent indifference when praised or criticized, a degree of asexuality, and idiosyncratic moral or political beliefs. Symptoms typically start in late childhood or adolescence.
The cause of SPD is uncertain, but there is some evidence of links and shared genetic risk between SPD, other cluster A personality disorders (such as schizotypal personality disorder) and schizophrenia. Thus, SPD is considered to be a “schizophrenia-like personality disorder”. It is diagnosed by clinical observation, and it can be very difficult to distinguish SPD from other mental disorders (such as autism spectrum disorder, with which it may sometimes overlap).
The effectiveness of psychotherapeutic and pharmacological treatments for the disorder have yet to be empirically and systematically investigated. This is largely because people with SPD rarely seek treatment for their condition. Originally, low doses of atypical antipsychotics were also used to treat some symptoms of SPD, but their use is no longer recommended. The substituted amphetamine bupropion may be used to treat associated anhedonia. However, it is not general practice to treat SPD with medications, other than for the short-term treatment of acute co-occurring disorders (e.g. depression). Talk therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) may not be effective, because people with SPD may have a hard time forming a good working relationship with a therapist.
SPD is a poorly studied disorder, and there is little clinical data on SPD because it is rarely encountered in clinical settings. Studies have generally reported a prevalence of less than 1% (a few estimates, however, have been as high as 4%). It is more common in males than in females. SPD is linked to negative outcomes, including a significantly compromised quality of life, reduced overall functioning even after 15 years and one of the lowest levels of “life success” of all personality disorders (measured as “status, wealth and successful relationships”). Bullying is particularly common towards schizoid individuals. Suicide may be a running mental theme for schizoid individuals, though they are not likely to actually attempt it. Some symptoms of SPD (e.g. solitary lifestyle and emotional detachment), however, have been stated as general risk factors for serious suicidal behaviour.
In Hindu philosophy , Sakshi (Sanskrit: साक्षी or शाक्षी), also Sākṣī or Shakshi, “witness,” refers to the ‘Pure Awareness’ that witnesses the world but does not get affected or involved. Sakshi is beyond time, space and the triad of experiencer, experiencing and experienced; sakshi witnesses all thoughts, words and deeds without interfering with them or being affected by them, other than sakshi there is nothing else in the entire universe.
Etymology and meaning
साक्षी or शाक्षी means ‘observer’, ‘eyewitness’ or the ‘Supreme Being’, is the Atman, the unchangeable eternal Reality, Pure Consciousness and knowledge. It is the timeless Being which witnesses all this ceaseless flow and change in the world of thought and things, the ‘Witness’ or the higher ‘Ego’, the faculty which perceives the individual personality.
It lends its shine (Chitchhaya) to the “ego” part of the subtle body, which consists of the everchanging Mind, the decision making Intellect, the Memory & the Illusory Ego. Mind (manas), Ego (ahankara) and Sakshi, all perform different functions but that difference of functions does not mean difference in nature or essence.
With regard to the word, साक्षी (sākṣī), used in the following verse from Shvetashvatara Upanishad,
- एको देवः सर्वभूतेषु गूढः सर्वव्यापी सर्वभूतान्तरात्मा |
- कर्माध्यक्षः सर्वभूताधिवासः साक्षी चेता केवलो निर्गुणश्च ||
- “The same Deity remains hidden in all beings, and is all-pervasive and the indwelling Self of all beings. He is the supervisor of actions, lives in all beings, (He is) the Witness, the bestower of intelligence, the Absolute and devoid of the (three) gunas.” (Shvetashvatara Upanishad Sl. VI.11)
The Varaha Upanishad (IV) refers to the Bhumika (‘stage of development of wisdom’) which is of the form of pranava (Aum or Om) as formed of or divided into – akāra, ukāra, makāra and ardhmātra, which is on account of the difference of sthula (‘gross’), sukshama (‘subtle’), bija (‘seed’ or ‘causal’) and sakshi (‘witness’) whose avasthas (‘states’) are – ‘waking’, ‘dreaming’, ‘dream-less sleep’ and ‘turiya’. Sakshi which is ‘turiya‘ is the essence.
Panini states that the same indicates a direct seer or eyewitness (Panini Sutras V.ii.91), Sakshi means Ishvara, the चेता (cetā), the sole Self-consciousness, who is the witness of all, who gives consciousness to every human being, thereby making each rational and discriminatory.
Vedanta speaks of mind (chitta) or antahkarana (‘internal instrument’), and matter as the subtle and gross forms of one and the same reality; being the subtle aspect of matter, mind is not a tangible reality. The field of mind (Chittakasha) involves the duality of the seer and the seen, the observer (drg) and the observed (drshya), which duality is overcome in the field of pure Consciousness. Drg-drshya-Viveka tells us:-
- “When form is the object of observation or drshyam, then the eye is the observer or drk; when the eye is the object of observation, then the mind is the observer; when the pulsations of the mind are the objects of observation, then Sakshi or the Witnessing-Self is the real observer; and it is always the observer, and, being self-luminous, can never be the object of observation. When the notion and the attachment that one is the physical body is dissolved, and the Supreme Self is realized, wherever one goes, there one experiences Samadhi. “