According to Medline Plus “antisocial personality disorder is a mental health condition in which a person has a long-term pattern of manipulating, exploiting, or violating the rights of others. This behavior is often criminal” (www.nim.nih.gov). People with this disorder have no regard for right and wrong and disregard the feelings of others. They violate the law, show no guilt, and get into frequent trouble. It may include symptoms of lying, fighting, irresponsibility, impulsivity, and irritability.
Antisocial personality disorder becomes evident during adolescence. The behavior becomes extreme during late teens and early 20’s. In children, some early signs of the disorder are cruelty to animals, bullying, explosion of anger, social isolation, thieves, vandals, poor performance in school, impulsivity. It is not diagnosed in children but the individual shows symptoms from at least the age of 15. In childhood, children usually develop Oppositional Defiant Disorder which develops into Conduct Disorder in adolescence. Psychopaths are considered to have a severe form of this disorder.
What are the signs and symptoms:
- manipulate rights of others
- lack concern
- lack regret
- lack remorse
- behave irresponsibly and show no regard for social behavior
- lack guilt
- break the law
- disregard for right and wrong
- use charm for personal gain
- poor relationships
- failure to learn from negative behavior
This disorder affects more men than women. Both genetics and traumatic childhood experiences may play a role.
This disorder is difficult to treat. Individuals do not seek treatment on their own. They are usually mandated by court to seek treatment. The main form of treatment is psychotherapy, particularly cognitive behavior therapy. Reinforcing appropriate behaviors and making connections between actions and feelings can be beneficial. Group therapy may not be the best choice since usually, in group therapy the individual can remain emotionally closed and will not share with others which may not be helpful for individuals with this disorder. Group therapy that is devoted for this disorder is the best choice.