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Question:

My husband has recently been diagnosed with Schizotypal Personality Disorder. I have read a little about autism and my husband doesn’t participate in small talk and doesn’t make eye contact. He is a bad communicater and likes to work on projects on his own and has always been quiet and shy when younger. He is left handed. His siblings are better communicaters but they all seem to be a bit reserved and seem to have anxiety. My husband was the youngest of five children. Could it be possible that he has autism and not shizotypal personality disorder?

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Answer:

First, let me assure you that your husband being left handed has noting to do with anything. There was a time, very long ago, when people mistakenly thought that left handedness was a problem. That is simply not true and it is something you need not worry or think about.

When diagnosing an adult, it can be very difficult to distinguish between autism versus schizotypal personality disorder because there are many areas where the symptoms of each overlap. Assuming your husband was diagnosed by a Psychiatrist (MD) or Clinical Psychologist (PhD), they must have some reason for the Schizotypal diagnosis.

One of the characteristics of Schizotypal people is that they behave oddly or think oddly. What I am referring to are thoughts and behaviors that do not fit into the norm. Sometimes, these people are referred to as being eccentric. Here are a few examples:

1. Odd clothes, 2. Superstitious beliefs that are out of the norm, 3. Mistaking noises for hearing voices, 4. Distorting reality, not just misinterpreting something but creating a new reality different from what anyone else experienced, 5. Etc. There are many more examples.

In fact, there are times when this type of person might be considered to have a very mild form of schizophrenia.

I assume that your husband was diagnosed because you or he or both of you were uncomfortable with his behaviors and thinking. It is common for these folks to experience lots of anxiety and depression. Anyway, psychotherapy will be extremely important for him and it will take a long time.

I hope this helps,

Best of Luck

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