A Dark Corner in an Unwritten Space

Awareness of Antisocial Personality Disorder

What is it?

Often linked to criminal activity, antisocial personality disorder is seen in people with dysfunctional and destructive ways of thinking and acting. People with this disorder violate and disregard the rights of others; even taking on the level of socio- or psychopathic ("Antisocial Personality Disorder" Mayo Clinic).

To be Antisocial is to be antagonist to any and all social activities and interactions while disregarding the law.


The causes of antisocial personality disorder have been linked to both biological and environmental factors. However, there is no apparent cause just yet, only theories. One theory suggests that if there is an abnormality in the development of the nervous system, a child can develop learning disorders and more. Another theory suggests that if the mother smokes while the child is in the womb, the child may develop and brain deformation that results in APD. Another theory suggests that patients with ASP need more sensory input in order for the brain to function. In this case, serial killers come in, they need more excitement and risk in order to feel something inside. Another theory is that there is a malfunction in the temporal lobes and prefrontal cortex that make it hard to increase serotonin (Black M.D.).

Most importantly is the environmental factors. A child who grows up in a home with abuse, alcoholism, and substance abuse is much more likely to develop APD. Children who lack empathy or love from their parents also could obtain the disorder ("Antisocial Personality Disorder").

What to Watch Out For...

Antisocial Personality Disorder consists of a variety of symptoms and signs. One of the most well-known is lack of respect for the law. This disorder not only effects a persons reputation but also their relationships with others both at home and in the workspace. Other symptoms include:

  • Anger
  • Lack of a conscience
  • Lack of responsibility
  • Failure to plan ahead
  • No personal safety
("Antisocial Personality Disorder Treatment, Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Risk Factors - MedicineNet").

Most people with this disorder are also linked to alcohol or substance abuse which makes it nearly impossible to treat the diagnosis ("Antisocial Personality Disorder" Psychology Today).

You Are Not Alone...Which Could Be A Problem...

Antisocial personality disorder is found mostly in the adult ages, and the disorder is only diagnosed if the patient is over the age of eighteen ("Antisocial Personality Disorder" Psychology Today). The criminal behavior and other symptoms begin at around thirteen. The children preform petty misdemeanors from trouble in school to animal cruelty to vandalism. In most cases this time is the peak of the behavior and at the age of 40 most symptoms subside ("Antisocial personality disorder: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia").

The disorder can be found in 0.2% to 3% of the general population, which for the United States would be around 9,417,000 people. However, in the prison population alone, the percentage of inmates with antisocial personality disorder is a good 70%. The disorder is also way more likely to be found in males then in female; 3% to 1% (P.L. M.D.).

Criminal Behavior

Since 70% of all inmates have antisocial personality disorder, most people with antisocial personality disorder are inmates, or potential inmates. Many are uneducated and lack a care in the world for the idea of antisocial personality disorder. This lack of knowledge can end badly for anyone. Here's why...

Most accounts of APD that have been recorded have been recorded in the files for serial killers. Many know killers such as Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy. Bundy was known for kidnapping young women and later killing them, and Gacy was known for luring young boys and middle-aged men into his home by showing them magic tricks while dressed up like a clown. However, the most infamous serial killer is Jeffrey Dahmer.


"I couldn’t find any meaning in my life when I was out there. I'm sure as hell not going to find it in here. This is the grand finale of a life poorly spent and the end result is just overwhelmingly depressing … it's just a sick, pathetic, wretched, miserable life story, that's all it is. How it can help anyone, I've no idea."
National Poetry Slam: Sierra DeMulder

Dahmer: The Life of a Cannibalistic Killer

Dahmer grew up with a mostly normal childhood until the age of 10 when he began to withdraw from his normal activities and became unnervingly interested in dead animals. He quickly turned to alcohol in high school and on. His first murder took place when he was just 18 years old. From then on he expressed unlawful behavior; alcoholism, substance abuse, sexual assault of minors, and of course, murder. He was caught and tried in January 1992. Police found many disturbing things in his apartment, such as evidence that he was a cannibal. He was sentenced to 15 life imprisonments, but only served two years before beaten to death by another inmate ("Jeffrey Dahmer").


APD is extremely difficult to treat. It requires the cooperation of both the administrator and the patient, which is not often the case. Most people with ASPD do not feel like they need help. One why to try a treatment is psychotherapy and have the patient talk, however this is not always successful. Cognitive therapy was attempted but also not successful. Patients are unable to self-evaluate and do not see themselves as others see them. As far as medication, there are no pills that have been discovered to completely work and alleviate symptoms. Lithium carbonate and phenytoin have been used to reduce anger and aggression, and they seem to work. Researchers are still experimenting with various medications to find the best treatment (Black).

Anything New in the Field?

One interesting new study that is being developed is the idea of curing a psychopath. Scientists are trying to find a way to raise the level of a psychopath's empathy. They say that the reason that psychopaths do not fell remorse is due to their lack of empathy. Researchers did a study where they put criminals into an MRI and monitored their brain while showing them videos about empathy and also showing other people hurt people. The results were astonishing. The criminals showed empathy! This is a huge breakthrough in psychology and could prove to be very useful in the ASPD research area (Fox).

Works Cited/Consulted


MedicineNet. (n.d.). MedicineNet. Retrieved February 26, 2014, from



Technology. N.p., 7 Aug. 2013. Web. 2 Mar. 2014.