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How to Identify Antisocial Personality Disorder

November 25, 2022

6 min read

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Author : United We Care
How to Identify Antisocial Personality Disorder

Introduction

Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD) is a dysfunctional and deep-rooted thinking pattern that makes the affected person socially exploitative and exhibit criminal behaviours. Most importantly, an individual with this mental condition lacks a sense of guilt for such unexpected behaviours. According to the DSMV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition), ASPD comes in the category of personality disorders (1 of 4 cluster-B). This blog explores the main aspects of this condition, including its definition, symptoms, causes, treatment, and management. Read on to know more!

What is an Antisocial Personality Disorder?

Antisocial Personality Disorder is a mental health condition in which the affected individual is indifferent to social rights and wrongs and disregards other people’s feelings and rights. Also known as sociopathy, it is a challenging personality ailment that makes the person irresponsible and impulsive.

People with this condition often show criminal behaviour. They are likely to be reckless, manipulative, and dishonest. They do not care how other people feel about their behaviour and actions.

The severity of ASPD can range from occasional wrong conduct to consistently involving in criminal activities and breaking laws. Moreover, people with ASPD have little or no remorse for their wrongdoings and often insult others and act insensitively. An ASPD-affected individual tends to lie, become violent, manipulate others, and engage in antisocial activities.

Although psychopathy is often linked to ASPD, research indicates that not every affected person has it. Around one-third of ASPD-affected individuals have psychopathy.

How to Identify Antisocial Personality Disorder?

Identifying Antisocial Personality Disorder requires a proper assessment by a psychologist. People with conditions such as schizophrenia or medical condition usually have episodes in which signs of ASPD surface. One of the criteria for diagnosis is a person with ASPD would have shown symptoms of conduct disorder in childhood or early teens, though it cannot be diagnosed until 18.

Antisocial Personality Disorder, thus, is hard to identify, and individuals do not tend to seek treatment on their own. Diagnosing most mental health conditions is difficult because of the abstract nature of the states involved. Nevertheless, here are the primary criteria to determine whether someone has an Antisocial Personality Disorder.

The signs and symptoms of Antisocial Personality Disorder include:

  • Indifference or disregard for right and wrong
  • Consistent bad conduct and deceitful behaviour to exploit others
  • Being disrespectful, rude, uncaring, and negative
  • Manipulating others with wit or charm to fulfil personal interests
  • A sense of being superior
  • Arrogance and an extremely opinionated mind
  • Involving in criminal activities
  • Violating rules, breaking the rules, ignoring others’ rights
  • Doing dishonest things persistently
  • Impulsiveness, aggression, irritability, hatred
  • Inability to plan
  • Destructive conduct with no concern for others or self-safety
  • Unwanted risk-taking
  • Lack of guilt for harming or hurting others
  • Lack of empathy
  • Being irresponsible persistently
  • Abusive relationships
  • Inability to understand the adverse outcomes of their reckless behaviour
  • Failing to meet work or finance-related commitments

What Causes Antisocial Personality Disorder?

The personality or character of a person is a blend of feelings, thought processes, and behaviours. Most importantly, various factors shape it and make every person unique. Although the exact cause of Antisocial Personality Disorder is not yet known, some of the factors include the following:

Biological Causes

  • Antisocial Personality Disorder is common in first-degree biological relatives, including parents, siblings, or kids. So, if one of your parents, brother, or sister has ASPD, you are more likely to develop it.
  • According to research, this mental condition is linked to genetics, and various environmental factors aggravate it.

Environmental Causes

  • One of the chief environmental factors behind the development of ASPD is upbringing. Childhood trauma and abuse are likely to trigger the symptoms of ASPD.
  • Kids who grow up in dysfunctional families or have abusive parents will likely learn and use those unsocial behavioural patterns on others. People who have alcoholic parents are at risk of developing ASPD.
  • Cruelty to animals or other kids during childhood can also trigger an antisocial personality.
  • Smoking during pregnancy can also increase the risk of personality disorder in your kid(s).

Psychological Causes

  • Abnormal brain function can also lead to Antisocial Personality Disorder.
  • Various studies show that people with this condition have different frontal lobes (this portion of the brain deals with judgment and planning).

Treatment for Antisocial Personality Disorder

Psychiatrists and therapists agree that Antisocial Personality Disorder can be hard to treat. It could be due to a lack of willingness to seek help on the part of the individual. However, ASPD symptoms can get better over time with the following treatment approaches:

Treatment for Antisocial Personality Disorder

Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy, including cognitive behavioural therapy or talk therapy, is one of a doctor’s first treatment approaches. It helps the affected individual understand their behaviours, wrong conduct, and distorted thought processes. The therapy will likely include anger management, violence control, and drug or alcohol abuse rehabilitation (if needed).

Mentalization-based treatments and group and family therapies are promising and enable the affected person to gain insight into their mental state and behaviours towards others.

Meditative techniques

Practising yoga and meditation also help with managing the symptoms.

Medication

Although there is no specific medicine to treat ASPD, doctors may prescribe the following medications to manage the symptoms:

  • Antidepressants
  • Antipsychotics drugs
  • Anti-anxiety medications
  • Mood stabilizers

Coping with Antisocial Personality Disorder

Today, therapies and medications can lead individuals with ASPD on a better path that enhances their quality of life. The challenge, however, lies in convincing those with the disorder to seek help.

Moreover, coping with Antisocial Personality Disorder can be a struggle, but seeking professional help and setting challenges to become a better person one step at a time is the path toward betterment.

Conclusion

However, Antisocial Personality Disorder is hard to diagnose and needs the intervention of a trained mental health counsellor or psychiatrist. If you feel you or a loved one is showing symptoms of ASPD, do not hesitate to seek professional help today. Contact United We Care for expert guidance on all your personality problems from the comfort of your home.

References
[1] K. Cherry, “Symptoms and treatment options for antisocial personality disorder,” Verywell Mind, 04-Dec-2005. [Online]. Available: https://www.verywellmind.com/antisocial-personality-disorder-2795566. [Accessed: 28-Mar-2023].
[2] K. A. Fisher and M. Hany, Antisocial Personality Disorder. StatPearls Publishing, 2022.
[3] “Antisocial personality disorder,” Mayoclinic.org, 24-Feb-2023. [Online]. Available: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/antisocial-personality-disorder/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20353934. [Accessed: 28-Mar-2023]

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Author : United We Care

Founded in 2020, United We Care (UWC) is providing mental health and wellness services at a global level, UWC utilizes its team of dedicated and focused professionals with expertise in mental healthcare, to solve 2 essential missing components in the market, sustained user engagement and program efficacy/outcomes.

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