The symptoms of borderline personality disorder (BPD) and schizoid personality disorder are different, and BPD is more common. However, both can have a severe psychological impact, affecting a person’s relationships and social life.

Personality disorders involve consistent patterns of thought and behavior that differ from the expectations of society.

Each individual sits on a wide spectrum of human personalities with unique quirks and characteristics. However, personality disorders develop when a person’s inner world and behavior lead to significant distress and difficulty functioning within relationships, situations, and professional or social life.

Personality disorders differ based on how a person thinks about themselves and others, as well as the extent to which they can control emotions and behaviors.

BPD and schizoid personality disorder vary in their symptoms, how common they are, how professionals categorize them, and the success of treatment.

This article explains the differences and similarities between BPD and schizoid personality disorder.

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BPD is the most commonly recognized personality disorder, according to the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS).

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) reports that 1.4% of people in the United States have BPD, and 9.1% of people have a personality disorder of any kind.

The main characteristics of BPD are unstable emotions, self-image issues, and disruptive relationships with others. People with this personality disorder may also experience the following symptoms:

  • intense, rapid mood changes
  • sudden changes in interests, values, and feelings about others
  • difficulties managing emotions
  • an extreme fear of being alone or abandonment
  • taking efforts to avoid abandonment, such as by abruptly jumping into or out of relationships
  • unstable relationships with friends and family
  • feelings of emptiness
  • frequent episodes of intense and disproportionate anger
  • impulsive, high risk behavior, such as gambling, overeating, sex without a condom or other barrier method, spending sprees, or substance misuse
  • regular mental health crises, including self-harm

Mental health professionals categorize BPD as a cluster B personality disorder, along with:

These involve issues with regulating emotions, impulsive actions, and conflict management. Mental health professionals often diagnose BPD during the late teenage years or early adulthood.

Learn more about borderline personality disorder.

Schizoid personality disorder involves detachment from personal relationships, often meaning that people with the disorder choose to spend most or all of their time alone.

Fewer than 1% of people have schizoid personality disorder, according to a 2023 review.

The characteristics of schizoid personality disorder include:

  • not seeking or getting joy from relationships
  • preferring activities that take place without other people
  • having little to no interest in sexual interactions
  • having few or no close friends
  • not showing much or any emotion
  • demonstrating very little emotional response to criticism or positive feedback

Mental health professionals consider schizoid personality disorder to be a cluster A personality disorder. This is the same category as paranoid and schizotypal personality disorders.

Disorders in this category involve unusual behaviors and thought patterns.

Learn more about schizoid personality disorder.

BPD and schizoid personality disorder are different in various key ways.


BPD and schizoid personality disorder fall under different clusters of personality disorders. BPD is a cluster B disorder, while schizoid personality comes under cluster A.

Personality disorders in different clusters have varying characteristics and symptoms.

Relationship symptoms

The emotional and interpersonal effects of BPD and schizoid personality disorder can differ.

BPD leads to intense, rapid investment or sudden ending of relationships. However, schizoid personality disorder often leads to total avoidance of relationships.

People with BPD may also fear being alone, but those with schizoid personality disorder may seek solitude and decline the company of others.

Emotional symptoms

BPD causes emotional extremes, while those with schizoid personality disorder do not feel strong negative or positive emotions.

People with schizoid personality disorder also do not commonly show much interest in many activities. However, BPD often causes dramatic shifts in interests, meaning that people become intensely keen on certain activities before losing interest quickly.

BPD is more likely to contribute to:

  • extreme anger
  • mood swings
  • self-harm
  • mental health crises
  • suicidal ideation

Schizoid personality disorder mainly carries a risk of depression due to not having enough social interaction.

Suicide prevention

If you know someone at immediate risk of self-harm, suicide, or hurting another person:

  • Ask the tough question: “Are you considering suicide?”
  • Listen to the person without judgment.
  • Call 911 or the local emergency number, or text TALK to 741741 to communicate with a trained crisis counselor.
  • Stay with the person until professional help arrives.
  • Try to remove any weapons, medications, or other potentially harmful objects if it’s safe to do so.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, a prevention hotline can help. The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is available 24 hours a day at 988. During a crisis, people who are hard of hearing can use their preferred relay service or dial 711 then 988.

Find more links and local resources.

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A risk of BPD and schizoid personality disorders can pass from parents to their children in the genes, although research is yet to confirm the direct causes of either.

However, the environmental causes of schizoid personality disorder are not clear. Certain factors may increase a person’s risk of BPD, including:

  • childhood trauma
  • abuse
  • abandonment
  • unstable relationships

Like all personality disorders, BPD and schizoid personality disorder both involve unusual and damaging long-term thought and behavior patterns. These affect overall health and do not change over time.

Without treatment, BPD and schizoid personality disorder have a similar risk of interfering with professional, personal, and social life.

However, people with either disorder may see other people as the source of their disruption and may not seek treatment as a result. Both also carry a risk of depression as a complication.

Personality disorders are often long-term and difficult to treat. It can also be difficult to persuade individuals with personality disorders to seek treatment and stay with a course of psychotherapy, as they often do not see personality disorders as mental health conditions.


A 2023 review supports several types of psychotherapy for treating BPD:

  • Mentalizing-based therapy (MBT): This may help people with BPD feel understood and assume what those around them are thinking less often.
  • Dialectic-based therapy (DBT): DBT aims to combine emotion regulation techniques, including mindfulness, with a focus on building and preserving relationships with others.
  • Transference-focused psychotherapy (TFP): This may help to increase an individual’s awareness of what problematic dynamics between people look like.

People with BPD may need 12–18 months of therapy to see results. Mental health professionals do not often prescribe medications for BPD. However, they may recommend medications for specific symptoms, such as depression or mood swings.

Schizoid personality disorder

No evidence-backed treatments are available for schizoid personality disorder.

However, mental health professionals first have to make sure that the symptoms are not occurring due to a different disorder, such as schizophrenia, which can cause a similar perceived lack of emotion.

The following are answers to some questions people frequently ask about borderline personality disorder and schizoid personality disorder.

Can you have schizoid and borderline personality disorder?

No recent, reliable, documented evidence suggests that people can have both disorders at the same time.

However, people may have traits of several personality disorders and receive a diagnosis of mixed personality disorder, as their disorder may not fit a single description.

Do people with schizoid personality disorder feel grief?

A 2020 study did not find that underlying schizoid personality disorder had a relationship with grief symptoms. However, few studies have taken place examining the link. The experience of grief is highly individual and may feel or present differently for anyone who feels it.

However, a person with schizoid personality disorder might not feel a strong emotion such as grief or may not mourn in a traditional way.

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) and schizoid personality disorder fall under two different clusters of personality disorders.

BPD involves problems with emotional regulation, extreme mood swings, and a damaging fear of abandonment and being alone. Schizoid personality disorder leads to the rejection of relationships, ongoing isolation, and emotional flatness.

They are very different as a result. However, they are both long-term and difficult to treat. Both can lead to depression and other psychological complications, although more treatments are available for BPD.