When Is a Disorder a Disorder?

In this Reddit post, a man describes himself as a “happy loner” whose adulthood has been peaceful and enjoyable. But recently he learned about schizoid personality disorder and began to wonder if he has it and what it means for his life.

Let’s leave aside the question of whether or not he actually has this disorder. Had he never come across information about it, would he have continued being content with his life? Generally, distress is a major indicator of a psychological issue – distress and disruption to one’s life and ability to function. Would he have just kept enjoying his life?

Or would he have become discontented at some point, maybe wondering if he’s missing out on something? It’s hard to answer this question. People can live an unusual or off-the-beaten-track life with satisfaction and without harm to themselves or others.

Looking further down in the thread, I see that he mentions wanting to have a long-term relationship… so maybe that’s his area of discontent? He may not really desire relationships but he still wants to see if he can be in one successfully?

Maybe he has an underlying discontent that he was only vaguely aware of, but the information on schizoid personality disorder brought it to the forefront of his mind. He may be reacting to what he’s learned and maybe also to a perceived stagnation. A lot of times, people feel the need to try something new and see if it works for them better than their current way of life – not necessarily because they’re suffering, but because they want to explore other possibilities.

The responses on that thread include people telling him that he already has a good life and wondering what exactly he thinks he needs to change if he’s satisfied. Also, even if at some point he does wish to change his life, would he need a formal diagnosis and a psychologist?

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