What Is Antisocial Personality Disorder?

What Is Antisocial Personality Disorder?

Antisocial Personality Disorder is a condition that is characterized by a consistent lack of regard for what society considers right and wrong, moral or legal, as well as a disregard for the feelings and rights of others. Sometimes Antisocial Personality Disorder is called sociopathy and individuals with the condition may be referred to as sociopaths. Harvard psychologist Martha Stout estimates that one out of every 25 individuals worldwide is a sociopath. This means you have likely interacted with someone with Antisocial Personality Disorder whether you realized it or not.

According to Stout, sociopathy is characterized by, “a marked inability to get along with others or abide by societal rules.” Additionally, people with Antisocial Personality Disorder tend to engage in behavior that manipulates and antagonizes others and they typically treat others with callous indifference or in an overtly harsh manner. The disorder is also characterized by a lack of guilt or remorse for their behavior.

Signs of Antisocial Personality Disorder

There are many signs and symptoms of Antisocial Personality Disorder including:

  • Persistent lying or deceit in order to exploit others
  • A sense of superiority and arrogance as well as being extremely opinionated
  • Callous, cynical and disrespectful treatment of others
  • Repeatedly violating the rights of others via intimidation and dishonesty
  • Disregard for society’s views of right and wrong
  • Poor or abusive relationships
  • Impulsivity and/or failure to plan ahead
  • The use of charm or wit to manipulate others
  • Recurring problems with the law and criminal behavior
  • Violence, hostility, agitation, significant irritability and aggression
  • Lack of empathy and lack of remorse for hurting others
  • Consistently irresponsible such as repeated failure to fulfill work or financial obligations
  • Unnecessary risk-taking and/or dangerous behavior without regard to safety
  • Failure to consider negative consequences and/or learn from them

Early Warnings in Adolescents

Experts consider several indicators as symptoms of Antisocial Personality Disorder in individuals younger than 15. These include conduct issues such as:

  • Destruction of property
  • Aggression and/or violence toward people and animals
  • Theft
  • Serious violation of rules
  • Deceitfulness

Because sociopaths can be very skilled manipulators, it is easy to be initially swayed by their charm and wit. But beneath the appealing exterior, most sociopaths are thinking of ways in which to cheat, lie, and intimidate you in order to meet their own needs. As a result, it is common for individuals with Antisocial Personality Disorder to violate the law, behave violently or impulsively, and experience drug or alcohol issues. Given these behaviors, it is not surprising that people with Antisocial Personality Disorder typically do not meet school, family or work obligations.

Is There a Cure for Antisocial Personality Disorder?

Like other personality disorders, Antisocial Personality Disorder is notoriously resistant to treatment and typically persists throughout a person’s lifetime. Nonetheless, in certain individuals, certain symptoms—such as criminal and destructive behavior—may decline over time. Experts are divided as to the reasons for this. Some believe the change in behavior is a natural result of the aging process while others attribute it to an enhanced awareness of the consequences of antisocial behavior.

Can Antisocial Personality Disorder Be Prevented?

The exact cause of Antisocial Personality Disorder isn’t known. Personality in and of itself is the dynamic blend of cognitions, emotions, and behaviors that renders every one of us unique. One’s personality influences how we view others, how we make sense and relate to the outside world as well as how we view ourselves. Personality develops during childhood and is molded by a synergy of inherited tendencies and environmental influences. In other words, your DNA may make you vulnerable to developing Antisocial Personality Disorder and environmental conditions may trigger its development.

Risk factors linked to this disorder include but are not limited to:

  • An early unstable, violent or chaotic family life
  • Diagnosis of childhood conduct disorder
  • The experience of childhood abuse or neglect
  • A family history of Antisocial Personality Disorder or other mental health disorders
  • Gender; males are at greater risk of being diagnosed with Antisocial Personality Disorder

There is no known method for preventing Antisocial Personality Disorder from developing in individuals who are at risk. However, because antisocial behavior is thought to originate during childhood, parents, teachers and pediatricians are in an ideal position to recognize early warning signs. With this in mind it is crucial to identify at-risk individuals, such as children who exhibit signs of conduct disorder, and then offer early intervention.

Starbent Recovery was founded on the belief that people suffering from Antisocial Personality Disorder and other co-occurring mental health issues can thrive in the right environment. Our professional, dedicated staff have the understanding, experience, and compassion necessary to support each resident’s clinical treatment goals. To learn more about our premier women’s recovery residence, call us at (800) 673-0176.

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