Antisocial Personality Disorder

Antisocial Personality Disorder is characterized by a pattern of disregard and violation of the rights of others since the age of 15. The diagnosis includes impulsiveness, self-destructive behavior, and interpersonal exploitation. The diagnosis (as with other personality disorders) requires that the individual be at least 18 years of age. Further, the individual must have a history of conduct disorder in childhood and does not occur exclusively in the course of other disorders.

Individuals with this disorder often have a childhood or adolescent history of aggressive behavior, hyperactivity, poor peer relationships, irresponsibility, lying theft, truancy, poor school performance, promiscuity, impulsivity, and drug and alcohol abuse. They are often prone to conversion symptoms and experience episodic anxiety and depression. Parents of these individuals are often antisocial, abusive, or rejecting and use inconsistent and overly harsh discipline. First-degree male relatives have a high incidence of substance abuse and criminal behavior. Female relatives are prone to Somatization Disorder. Families are characterized by the lack of appropriate emotional expression.

Antisocial and narcissistic personality disorders have similar characteristics. However, the Antisocial Personality tend to seek materialistic gain, while individuals with Narcissistic personality seek personal glory and a sense of superiority. People with this disorder are at times called sociopath, which is basically referring to a person who has no conscience about possible harm to others and often refers to criminal behavior.

These individuals tend to think of other people as no more than object that can sometimes provide them with certain kinds of needs. they do not have empathy and generally do not understand or care what others think or feel. They generally do not experience guilt as do others not so afflicted.

There is little evidence that conventional counseling will have any impact on these individuals, particularly without any containment of the acting out, impulsive behavior. In prison settings, there has been some success with peer confrontation in the group setting. There tends to be some improved prognosis if the patient is able to develop a relationship with the therapist. Antisocial acting out tends to diminish with age and as these folks begin to become aware of the exploitive nature of their relationships.

It is unlikely that an antisocial individual will seek out help for himself or herself but parents of antisocial youths may seek help for them. Sometimes a spouse will initiate therapy for an antisocial individual. Antisocial individuals are widely populate prisons.