"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Antisocial personality disorder: symptoms, causes, diagnosis, treatment

People with antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) could be funny, charming, and fun to be around—but they may lie and exploit others. People with ASPD appear indifferent and show no remorse for his or her actions. Someone with this disorder may act rashly, destructively, and insecurely without feeling guilty if their actions hurt other people.

Modern diagnostic systems assume that ASPD encompasses two related but not similar conditions: a “psychopath” is someone whose hurtful actions toward others are inclined to be based on calculation, manipulation, and cunning; They also are inclined to not feel emotions and to mimic (fairly than feel) empathy for others. It is a severe type of ASPD. They could be deceptively charismatic and charming. In contrast, “sociopaths” are somewhat more capable of form bonds with others, but still disregard social rules; They are inclined to be more impulsive, more arbitrary, and more easily agitated than individuals with psychopathy. ASPD affects 2 to 4% of the population and is more common in men.

People with ASPD may often:

  • Lie, cheat and exploit others
  • Act rashly
  • Be irritable and aggressive
  • Fighting or attacking other people
  • Break the law and accepted social norms
  • Not caring in regards to the safety of others or yourself
  • Not showing signs of remorse after hurting another person
  • Failure to meet financial, work or social obligations

More men than women are affected by antisocial personality disorder. Experts don't know exactly what causes this, but genetic and other biological aspects are thought to play a task (particularly in psychopathy), as does growing up in a traumatic or abusive environment (particularly in sociopathy). Research shows that brain defects and injuries throughout the developmental years can also be linked to ASPD.

Possibly because individuals with ASPD often break the law, many prisoners suffer from ASPD. Research shows that as much as 47% of male inmates and 21% of female inmates suffer from this disorder. Children and adolescents with behavioral disorders usually tend to develop ASPD. Conduct disorder is comparable to ASPD, but is diagnosed in young individuals who repeatedly violate social norms and the rights of others.

To be diagnosed with ASPD, an individual would need to have exhibited symptoms of a behavioral disorder before age 15. However, a diagnosis can only be made on the age of 18. Adults with ASPD often show signs of behavioral problems as early as childhood or early adolescence. Symptoms are often worst within the late teens and 20s, but may improve on their very own over time.

The disorder is difficult to treat. People with ASPD rarely seek help themselves because they often think they don't need it.

If treatment is sought, behavioral therapy or psychotherapy in a person or group setting could be helpful. Doctors sometimes use certain psychiatric medications, resembling mood stabilizers or some atypical (off-label) antipsychotics, to treat symptoms resembling impulsive aggression and related disorders. The FDA has not approved any medications specifically for antisocial personality disorder.

If someone near you has ASPD, consider attending a support group or searching for help from a psychiatrist, social employee, or psychologist. You won't give you the chance to alter the one you love's behavior, but you may learn coping strategies to provide help to set boundaries and protect yourself from harm.