What is Antisocial Personality Disorder?
Antisocial personality Disorder, also known as the Sociopathic Personality Disorder, is a chronic mental illness, a mental health condition, in which the person tries to exploit, cheat or violate the rights of others. The person has abnormal ways of thinking about others and perceiving situations. In fact, he has a destructive nature.
Sociopath is a very severe form of antisocial personality disorder. The people who suffer from this disorder have no regard for right or wrong. They lie, behave violently, indulge in a conflict, or violate the rights of others. The patients with this disease also commit crimes. They are the person concerned with antisocial personality disorder crimes. They may often indulge in alcohol or drugs. They do not fulfill any responsibilities towards their family, society or towards any one.
Antisocial Personality Disorder Definition
Antisocial personality disorder is a pervasive pattern of disregard for people, with amorality and indifference towards others rights, characterized by irresponsible and aggressive behavior, often accompanied by violation of rights of other people, often initiating in childhood and continues throughout adulthood.
Antisocial Personality Disorder Characteristics
The people who suffer from this disorder are usually unable to function properly at a high level and are unsuccessful both socially and economically. They do not have the genuine empathy for others. They fail terribly when it comes to fulfilling their social responsibilities. Some of the characteristics of an antisocial person are:
- Making rash decisions
- Disregard for people’s right
- Indulgence into frequent conflicts
- Indulgence in alcohol or drug abuse
Antisocial Personality Disorder Symptoms
You should remember that antisocial personality disorder is a persistent pattern of the thoughts, behaviors and feelings of an individual, which differs significantly from the acceptable norms of the society. These people behave in a manner that they are in need of social isolation due to their eccentric behavior. They are counter-social in their behavior. Basically, this condition is diagnosed after the age of 15, and involves a longstanding pattern of disregarding the rights of others. The symptoms of antisocial personality disorder vary from one person to other, but there are certain common signs of antisocial personality disorder. They are:
- Failure in conforming to the social norms, since the person is regular in committing crimes and acts that calls for arrest.
- Impulsive in making decisions, as a result of which he fails to plan ahead.
- Repeated deceitfulness, lying to others, fooling and conning others
- Reckless disregard, in terms of safety for one’s own self or for others.
- No sense of guilt or remorse for one’s wrong doing
- Aggressive and irritable behavior, often indulging in physical fights and assaults
- Callous and irresponsible behavior, does not fulfill social or financial obligations
- Lack of concern for others
- Cruelty to animals or towards other human beings
- Inability to feel sympathetic towards others
- Bullying and destructive in nature
Antisocial Personality Disorder Causes
It is not easy to detect the exact cause of antisocial personality disorder. The cause may either be genetic, or due to life situations. Sometimes, it may be due to certain childhood events such as deaths of close relatives in the recent family. Sometimes, a child may turn antisocial if he is exposed to certain circumstances such as divorce of parents, and frequent illness of a close one. All these may cause certain psychological impacts on the child, to the extent of completely losing his or her sense. Psychoanalytic theories may also be the cause. Basically, the personality may be shaped due to two reasons:
Life Situations or Environment Factors
This is the surroundings in which an individual grows up. He may be affected due to the relationship that he shares with the different members of his family, the parenting that the child has experienced, his neighborhood and the behavior of the people around him towards him.
There are certain aspects of a person’s personality, which are molded due to the nature of his/her rents. He may be overtly shy or have a happy outlook, which may be owing to his parents. This is the so-called temperament, which the person inherits from his/her parent.
The causes of antisocial personality disorder can therefore be many, and may vary from one person to the other.
Famous People with Antisocial Personality Disorder
There are famous people and celebrities, who have suffer from this condition, called the antisocial personality disorder. Some of them who suffer from this disease are Charles Manson, Jimmy Jones, Adolf Hitler, Pobert Maudsley, Mary Bel, Ted Bundy, and And Daniel Gonzalez.
Antisocial Personality Disorder Serial Killers
Serial killers are sufferers of this condition. They appear very charming and normal at times, as if they have put on their mask of sanity. But when they are in murderous mood, they appear very inhuman. These killers also have a sexual element to their murders.
Antisocial Personality Disorder in Children
The origin of this condition is in childhood in maximum cases. If a child grows up in a very disturbed environment, may carry the same emotionally injured mood in his adulthood. This kind of child is self-absorbed and is indifferent towards others. It is owing to his lack of discipline that he has a delayed gratification. These kinds of children are bullies, and tend to chase their playmates. They may get the habit of abusing, hitting or stealing at a very early age. From childhood itself, he does not have any empathy for others around him.
Antisocial Personality Disorder Test
There is no specific or any definitive test for antisocial personality disorder, such as blood test or a test that can diagnose this condition. The medical practitioners look for the symptoms of this disease, to conform whether it is present in the person. But the practitioners must themselves have adequate knowledge about the symptoms of this disease, so that he can identify it in his patient.
There are certain conditions that coexist with antisocial personality disorder. They are – Histrionic Personality Disorder, narcissistic Personality disorder, Anxiety Disorder, Substance-related disorders, Somatization disorder, and Borderline personality disorder.
Usually, the behavior, appearance and history of the person are sufficient to detect the disease. A psychological evaluation has to be performed for the diagnosis of this condition. Medication is generally not helpful for the treatment or diagnosis of this disease. But psychotherapy can help in this case.
Antisocial personality Disorder Diagnostic Criteria
Psychopathy and Sociopathy also fall in the antisocial personality disorder criteria. Psycopathy antisocial personality disorder is a condition that shows lack of empathy and is also combined with a very amoral conduct. The diagnostic criteria of antisocial personality disorder are broadened very much. The ICD-10 diagnostic criteria of world health centre do not consider psycopathy as a personality disorder.
Antisocial Personality Disorder Treatment
Antisocial Personality Disorder Treatment Guidelines
There are no controlled studies that have reported any effective treatment for Antisocial Personality Disorder. Use of medications for antisocial personality treatment is absolutely not suggested, as this hardly helps. Psychotherapy is a very effective treatment that helps in the treatment of antisocial personality disorder.
The following are the techniques and treatment guidelines for antisocial personality disorder:
This was the technique that was earlier used to treat the patients with depression. But it is now being used for the treatment of antisocial personality disorder also. The main aim of the therapy is to make the patient understand that it is due to his own acts that he is creating problems for himself, and that he s intentionally not trying to see the good side of others, which he could otherwise easily see. The therapist should insist on regular attendance, proper guidelines and the active involvement of the patient in the therapy. In fact this therapy works best with professional therapists, who can anticipate the emotions and condition of the patient without moralizing it.
The patients with antisocial personality disorder should be given psychotherapy so as to understand his nature and the consequences of his disorder. But in case of psychotherapy, the therapist should always a neutral stand. He should not get into arguments with the patient, since this may worsen the situation. The actual content of the therapy should be such that it actually focuses on the patient’s emotions. The therapist such select his topics in such a way that they are based on real life situations and the issues are safe. This helps the patient since it is a motivating factor in his treatment.
This is rarely required by the patient for his treatment. There may be a situation in his life, when he realizes about his condition. The person may then require specialty treatment for treatment of this condition. The patient may also require community support when he is going through his rehabilitation phase.
Generally it is not preferable to use mediations for antisocial personality disorder treatment. It is only used to clear serious or acute concurrent diseases. Research has proved that medication has never proved effective for the treatment of this disease.
Antisocial Personality Disorder Prognosis
The symptoms of the condition are at their peak in the teenage or in the early 20s. By the time the person acquires age, the symptoms improve on their own. By late 40s, the symptoms of this condition disappear in maximum cases.
Antisocial personality Disorder is a very serious condition. The patient suffering from this condition is anti-socialists, and indulges in all sorts of crimes. Therefore these people should be taken proper care of, and should be offered an environment in which they can come out of such a situation. The society should also be sympathetic towards them, and should offer conditions and situations in which they can transform to a normal and social human being.
Written by Simran Goyal
on June 27th, 2011. The article was last updated on August 30th, 2011