Antisocial Personality DisorderWhen it comes to antisocial personality disorder, many people may recognize this condition by another name: sociopathy. According to Harvard Health Publishing:

By definition, people with an antisocial personality disorder don’t follow society’s norms, are deceitful and intimidating in relationships, and are inconsiderate of the rights of others. People with this type of personality may take part in criminal activity. But if they do, they are not sorry for their hurtful deeds. They can be impulsive, reckless and sometimes violent. This disorder is far more common and more apparent in men than women.

Here is more on antisocial personality disorder and its treatment. In this article you’ll learn what causes it, who is more susceptible, the problems it causes, and more.

What is Antisocial Personality Disorder?

As mentioned above, someone with an antisocial personality disorder has no regard for others. And the only time these people go along with the rules is when they are threatened by punishment.

Many people with antisocial personality disorder (APD) are outwardly charming and likable. However, with intimate relationships, there is often abuse and/or neglect.

Someone with APD may know that other people have feelings but have no desire to do anything but use that knowledge against those people. If they cause pain, they do not suffer from being ashamed or guilty. People with APD can be harmful, deceitful, and manipulative.

A person with antisocial personality disorder is known as a sociopath. You might recognize some of the more famous sociopaths such as Ted Bundy, John Gacy, and Jeffrey Dahmer.

Of course, not every sociopath is a serial killer. Yet those who are the most famous are often living with antisocial personality disorder.

It is also a common misconception that a sociopath is always a successful person. This is simply not true. Many sociopaths are highly functioning and may indeed be successful, but this is not the only main statistic. There are others who are not successful, well-known, and so on.

What Causes Antisocial Personality Disorder?

There are a number of factors that may lead to someone having an antisocial personality disorder. Yet, this doesn’t mean that a person having these factors has an antisocial personality disorder. It means that those who do have APD may have been exposed to these factors that create the disorder.

Brain Anatomy

While this may seem like a given, it’s more complex than that. The frontal lobe is what determines things like judgment and planning. Interestingly, this area is different in those who have APD. Researchers are not able to determine if this observation is an indicator of APD, but it is relevant to research.

Genetic or Biological Factors

It does seem that antisocial personality disorder is heritable. There is another interesting indicator. Those with APD do not react to stress the same way and will actually have a more flat response than others. There is also a minor startle reflex, which indicates insensitivity.

Environmental Influences

A family dynamic that is chaotic, with little supervision, may be relevant for the onset of antisocial personality disorder. Receiving very little reward for positive behavior may also contribute to this disorder. In certain situations, some people are even rewarded for more sociopathic behavior.

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What Are the Symptoms of Antisocial Personality Disorder?

The main symptoms are mentioned above. A person with an antisocial personality disorder will exhibit the following:

  • Deceitfulness
  • Lack of remorse
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Irresponsibility
  • Recklessness
  • Irritability
  • Aggression

How is Antisocial Personality Disorder Diagnosed?

This disorder is diagnosed by a mental health professional. Like for the diagnosis of many mental health disorders, there are no laboratory tests that are used. Instead, to diagnose antisocial personality disorder, doctors use the person’s mental health history and take into account other issues that may be present. These can include substance abuse, attention deficit disorder, or anxiety or mood disorder.

WHO‘s International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems has six indicators of an antisocial personality disorder. These six indicators are:

  • Problems with maintaining, but not with establishing, relationships
  • Tendency to blame others or rationalize their behavior that has brought the person into conflict with society
  • Lack of concern for others or heartlessness
  • Lack of guilt or the willingness to change their manner as a result of punishment
  • General irresponsibility and disregard for social norms or rules
  • An inability to tolerate frustration, which results in anger and sometimes violence

How Is It Treated?

An antisocial personality disorder is not preventable, but there is treatment available. There are a few types of therapy that may be beneficial, though there is no known cure. These therapies include:

  • Cognitive therapy is used to try to change how the person thinks so they have less sociopathic thoughts.
  • Psychotherapy may help the person become more sensitive to others. It also helps encourage productive thinking and socially acceptable behavior.
  • Behavior therapy promotes good behavior with punishment and rewards.

There are no specific medications for this disorder. Yet, there are medications that treat symptoms such as aggression, irritability, feeling low, and anxiety. These medications include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) like Zoloft and Prozac.

At Transformations, we offer a variety of therapies used to treat antisocial personality disorder. We offer an individualized, clinically sound program to treat the most pressing mental health concerns and/or any mental health issue that takes away from your quality of life or that of a loved one.

Our therapeutic options encompass a wealth of treatments such as those mentioned above, experiential therapy, holistic therapy, group therapy, and individual and family therapy.