Antisocial Personality Disorder – Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments

Disorder personality antisocial is characterized by a long-standing pattern of disregard for the rights of others, often crossing the line and violating those rights. A person may feel little or no empathy for other people and see no problem bending or breaking the law to get their own needs or wants. The disorder usually begins in childhood or adolescence and continues into adult life.

personality disorder is an enduring pattern of internal experience and behavior that deviates from the norm of the individual’s culture; the design is seen in two or more of the following areas: cognition, interpersonal functioning, or impulse control. The enduring pattern is inflexible and pervasive in many personal and social situations. It leads to significant distress or impairment in social, professional, or other areas. It is a stable and long-lasting pattern, and its onset dates back to adulthood, early or adolescence.

What is an antisocial personality disorder?

It is a personality disorder that prevents a person’s ability to care about the feelings and needs of others; people with this condition can harm others, engage in criminal behavior, or consider the needs of others only when doing so benefits them.

Everyone sometimes ignores other people’s feelings, and most people can be manipulative, selfish, or indifferent from time to time. For people with this type of disorder, this disregard for others is a hallmark of their condition rather than occasional neglect.

An antisocial personality disorder is part of a group of disorders personality disorders called group B, characterized by an unusual emotional behavior that disrupts relations and leads to unstable relationship patterns with others.

Symptoms of personality disorder

Some people with antisocial disorder are highly successful, intelligent, and charming but exploit others for their gain; others cannot maintain a stable job or home and end up in jail or drug or alcohol facilities. They are generally unable to maintain meaningful relationships with others.

People with this type of problem tend to:

  • It breaks social norms regarding lawful behavior, as indicated by repeating acts that are grounds for arrest.
  • Violation of the physical or emotional rights of others.
  • Lack of stability in work and home life.
  • Impulsiveness or lack of planning.
  • Irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults.
  • Consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to maintain consistent work behavior or honor financial obligations.
  • The lack of remorse for having hurt, mistreated, or stolen another person.

There must also be evidence of a conduct disorder in the individual, whether or not it has been formally diagnosed by a professional.

Because personality disorders describe long-lasting and lasting patterns of behavior, they are often diagnosed in adulthood; it is not common for them to be interpreted in childhood or adolescence because they are constantly developing. Personality changes and maturation. Like most personality disorders, it will generally decrease in intensity with age, and many people will experience some of the disease symptoms in their 40s and 50s.

Antisocial Personality Disorder

Causes of antisocial personality disorder

They are caused by a combination and interaction of genetic and environmental influences. Genetically, they are the intrinsic temperamental tendencies determined by their genetically influenced physiology. Environmentally, they are a person’s social and cultural experiences in childhood and adolescence that encompass their family dynamics, influences, and social values.


Research on genetic associations in antisocial personality disorder suggests that it has some or even a solid genetic basis; the prevalence is higher in people related to someone affected by the disease. Twin studies, designed to discern between genetic and environmental effects, have reported important influences on antisocial behavior and conduct disorder.

Of the specific genes involved, a gene that has shown particular interest in its correlation with antisocial behavior is the gene that encodes monoamine oxidase A (MAO-A). This enzyme breaks down monoamine neurotransmitters, such as serotonin. And norepinephrine. Various studies examining the relationship of the gene to behavior have suggested that variants of the gene that produce less MAO-A, such as the 2R and 3R alleles of the promoter region, have associations with aggressive behavior in males.

The association is also influenced by negative experiences in early life. Children with a low-activity variant who experience such abuse are more likely to develop antisocial behavior than those with the high-activity variants. I


Hormones and neurotransmitters

Traumatic events can alter the normal development of the central nervous system, which can lead to the release of hormones that can change standard development patterns. Aggression and impulsivity are among the possible symptoms. Testosterone is a hormone that plays a vital role in aggressiveness in the brain; for example, criminals who have committed violent crimes tend to have higher testosterone levels than the average person. The effect of testosterone is counteracted by cortisol, which facilitates the cognitive control of impulsive tendencies.


Antisocial behavior may be related to head trauma; it is associated with a decrease in gray matter in the right lentiform nucleus, left insula, and frontopolar cortex. Increased volumes have been observed in the right fusiform gyrus, the inferior parietal cortex, the right cingulate gyrus, and the posterior central cortex.


Family atmosphere

Some studies suggest that the social and domestic environment has contributed to the development of antisocial behavior; it has been shown that the parents of these children show antisocial behavior, which could be adopted by their children.

Cultural influences

The sociocultural perspective of clinical psychology considers that disorders are influenced by cultural aspects; Since cultural norms differ significantly, mental illnesses such as antisocial personality disorder are viewed differently. There is also an ongoing debate about the extent to which the legal system should be involved in the identification and admission of patients with vague symptoms.

How is antisocial personality disorder diagnosed?

This type of personality disorder cannot be diagnosed in people under 18 since the symptoms that resemble it in those people can be interpreted as a conduct disorder. People over the age of 18 can be diagnosed only if there is a history of conduct disorder before 15.

A mental health provider can question people over 18 about past and current behaviors; this will help detect signs and symptoms that could support a diagnosis of this condition.

It would help if you met specific criteria to diagnose the condition. This includes:

  • A diagnosis of conduct disorder before the age of 15.
  • Documentation or observation of at least three symptoms of the antisocial disorder from the age of 15 years.
  • Documentation or observation of symptoms that do not occur only during schizophrenic or manic episodes (if you have schizophrenia or bipolar disorder)

Treatment for antisocial personality disorder

This type of disorder is complicated to treat. Usually, your doctor will try a combination of psychotherapy and medications; it is difficult to assess how effective the available treatments are in treating the symptoms.


Psychotherapy can help people with antisocial personality disorder understand the emotions of others. A person can only seek treatment when ordered by a court or experience serious consequences, such as incarceration or the loss of a meaningful relationship.

Most people with this are never diagnosed and do not seek treatment. Treatment focuses on helping a person work around their disturbing thought patterns, behavior, and way of relating to others; this usually involves psychotherapy.

A therapist can work with a person to find better ways to deal with aggression or understand how harmful aggressive or manipulative behavior can be. Your psychologist may recommend different types of psychotherapy depending on your situation.

The cognitive-behavioral therapy can help reveal negative thoughts and behaviors and teach ways to replace them with positive ones.

Psychodynamic psychotherapy can raise awareness of the negative thoughts and unconscious behaviors, which can help the person change.


There are no medications specifically designed for antisocial personality disorder. However, additional symptoms, such as depressionanxiety, or substance abuse, can be reduced with medication, and psychotherapy can be made more effective. Your doctor may prescribe:

  • Antidepressants
  • Mood stabilizers.
  • Anti-anxiety medications.
  • Antipsychotic medications.

And it can recommend a stay in a mental health hospital where you can receive intensive treatment.

There is no cure for antisocial personality disorder, but treatment can help people manage their symptoms. There is limited research on the effectiveness of treatment, and what works for one person may not work for another.

During treatment, a person will learn to manage their feelings and impulses and adapt culturally appropriate behaviors; this can be challenging as they must discover behaviors that most people take for granted, such as worrying about the pain of their loved ones. A partnership with a humane therapist and a commitment to making significant changes in behavior can increase the treatment success rate.

Antisocial personality disorder remains poorly understood; people with this condition are often singled out as serial killers or criminals, even though many never harm anyone. As research continues, clinicians can better understand this challenging mental health condition.

Antisocial personality disorder and psychopathy

Psychopathy is commonly defined as a personality disorder characterized by antisocial behavior, a diminished capacity for empathy and remorse, and poor behavioral controls.

The DSM states that antisocial personality disorder is often referred to as psychopathy. However, critics argue that it is not synonymous with psychopathy. The diagnostic criteria are not the same as criteria related to personality traits are emphasized relatively less in the first. These differences exist in part because such characteristics were believed to be challenging to measure reliably, and it was easier to agree on the behaviors that typify a disorder than on the reasons why they occur.

Other core symptoms of this condition include a severe lack of concern for others, lack of emotions, overconfidence, selfishness, and a greater propensity for aggression than others with antisocial disorder. While statistics indicate that 50% -80% of incarcerated people have an antisocial disorder, only 15% of those convicted criminals have the most severe type of psychopathy.

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Hello, how are you? My name is Georgia Tarrant, and I am a clinical psychologist. In everyday life, professional obligations seem to predominate over our personal life. It's as if work takes up more and more of the time we'd love to devote to our love life, our family, or even a moment of leisure.