Antisocial Personality Disorder

By Kelli Bray

What is it?

Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD) is characterized by amorality and lack of affect: capable of violent acts without guilt feelings. It is also known as sociopathic personality, or sociopathy. Many of times these people go against the law numerous times and do not show remorse if hurting someone.

How prevalent is the disorder?

It affects more men than women. It is also more seen among the people who are in prisons. Statistics show that 5.8% of males and 1.2% of females show evidence of having ASPD. Many times the signs can emerge in childhood and solidify in early adulthood (20s and 30s).

What is the etiology of this disorder?

The cause of ASPD is unknown to researchers is unknown. Genetic factors and environmental facts, like child abuse and a chaotic environment, are said to contribute to the development of this condition. It is believed that people with alcoholic parents are at an increased risk. In 1968 it was reported that mothers of children who developed this had mothers that lacked affection, discipline, and increased incidence in alcoholism.

What are the symptoms?

  • Able to act charming and manipulate others emotion's
  • Break the law repeatedly while disregarding the safety of themselves and others
  • Lie and steal very often and show no guilt or remorse after doing so
  • Very angry personality
  • Hard time of holding a relationship, fulfilling parental needs for their children, even holding a job

What treatments exist?

When doctors believe their patient has ASPD, they typically run a series of medical and psychological tests to help decide the diagnosis. They use physical exams, lab test, and a psychological evaluation to help rule out what may be causing their patient to act in this way. Yet many times it is difficult to determine if the patient has ASPD because many symptoms over lap with other disorders. Accoring to the DSM-IV, the symptom criteria for a diagnosis includes:

  • being at least 18 years old
  • having comminted crimes before age 15,= including stealing, vandalism, violence, and bullying
  • repeatedlty conning or lying
  • being irratible or aggressive
  • feeling no remorse
  • acting impulsively
  • having no regard for the safety of others
  • being irresponsible

Antisocial personality disorder is very difficult to treat. People with this disorder need long term treatments. People with antisocial personality disorder may also need treatment for other conditions, such as depression, anxiety or substance abuse. Psychotherapy is sometimes used to treat antisocial personality disorder. It is not always effective, especially if symptoms are severe and the person can’t admit that they contribute to the problem. No medications are approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat the disorder. Yet several types of psychiatric medications may help with certain conditions sometimes associated with the disorder or with aggression symptoms.