What is Antisocial Personality Disorder?

What is Antisocial Personality Disorder?

Many assume an antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) is someone who avoids social events and spends a lot of time alone. However, people with the condition can actually charming, witty, and fun to be around.

In fact, they often use social opportunities as a way to manipulate, exploit, and violate the rights of others for their own advantage, without remorse for those their effecting. Naturally, this can lead to a number of relationship and potentially legal complications. ¹

Throughout this article, we’re going to take a deeper look at ASPD, it’s symptoms, causes, and treatment options. At the end, we invite you to ask further questions.

Antisocial Personality Disorder Symptoms

While personality types of people with ASPD vary from person to person, some of the most common traits of the condition include:

  • Ability to act charming and witty
  • Difficulty with substance abuse
  • Disregard for the safety of others and self
  • Flattering and able to manipulate other’s emotions
  • Lack of guilt or remorse
  • Often arrogant or angry
  • Repeatedly breaking the law
  • Will often lie, steal, and fight

People with ASPD tend to have no emotions for others and with disregard social rules in order to garner their own benefits.

On average, symptoms for ASPD tend to begin during a person’s teenage years or early 20s. While many never overcome the condition, some will find they naturally improve by time a person’s in their 40s.

Symptoms of ASPD

Antisocial Personality Disorder Causes

It remains unclear what causes ASPD in a person. Scientists have agreed it’s likely due to a combination of genes along with other factors, such as child abuse (or other previous traumas). ² ³

However, what is clear is that more men struggle with the condition than women and it’s very common among people in prison. ⁴ Furthermore, those who pose antisocial traits during childhood (i.e. setting fires or animal cruelty) are much more likely to carry ASPD into adulthood. ⁵

There are some discussions as to whether or not ASPD is the same as psychopathic personality (psychopathy), but some argue that ASPD is less severe a condition.

Antisocial Personality Disorder Treatment

Clinicians are able to diagnose ASPD based on a psychological evaluation. These look into a person’s current behaviors as well as their childhood conduct. However, treating ASPD is much more difficult.

Beyond the fact that people with ASPD don’t usually seek treatment, many end up struggling with legal ramifications due to their behavior. While a court may require therapy if it recognizes ASPD, it’s more likely these individuals will end up in prison.

Furthermore, there are no guidelines for treating ASPD. More often than not, those with ASPD will be treated for other conditions they may struggle with, such as a mood disorder or substance abuse disorder. ⁶

Final Word

Since we still don’t know a whole lot about ASPD, it’s one of the most difficult conditions to treat. Furthermore, since many of those who pass an antisocial personality disorder test end up in prison, it’s unlikely most receive treatment.

The best way to intervene with this condition (along with its related personality disorders or a conduct disorder) is by addressing it at an early age.

Your Questions

Still have questions about antisocial personality disorder?

We invite you to ask them in the comments section below. If you have any further knowledge to share – whether personal or professional – we’d also love to hear from you.

Reference Sources

¹ StatPearls [Internet]: Antisocial Personality Disorder

² Translational Psychiatry: Genome-wide association study of antisocial personality disorder

³ International Journal of Prisoner Health: Lifetime trauma victimization and PTSD in relation to psychopathy and antisocial personality disorder in a sample of incarcerated women and men

⁴ Annals of Clinical Psychology: Antisocial personality disorder in incarcerated offenders: Psychiatric comorbidity and quality of life

⁵ The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry (CJP): The Natural History of Antisocial Personality Disorder

⁶ Europe PMC Funders Group: Psychological interventions for antisocial personality disorder

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