What is Antisocial Personality Disorder?

Antisocial personality disorder is one of a larger category of personality disorders. Each personality disorder is different and is treated differently. It is important to speak to a doctor right away if you notice symptoms of a personality disorder in yourself or your child.

3% of men and 1% of women in the U.S. have antisocial personality disorder. This condition often leads to serious criminal behavior. People with this disorder may seem charming and attractive but can lack empathy and regard for the law or other people. Individuals with antisocial personality disorder may use their abilities to manipulate others. 

Antisocial Personality Disorder Symptoms

Antisocial personality disorder is a condition that requires consistent treatment and attention from medical professionals. Contact your physician and ask for an evaluation if you see any symptoms in yourself or your child, including:

  • Physical cruelty to people or animals
  • Consistent manipulative or exploitative behavior toward others
  • A lack of conscience or remorse for actions that negatively affect others
  • A disregard or contempt for authority or authority figures including the police
  • A repeated pattern of lawbreaking with no regard for the consequences
  • Frequent outbursts of violence, anger, or aggression
  • A pattern of deceptive or lying behavior to their own benefit 
  • Substance abuse problems
  • Disregard for their own, or others’, safety
  • Frequently using flattery, wit, and charm to gain advantage for themselves
  • Trouble forming attachments or maintaining relationships 

Antisocial Personality Disorder Causes

The exact cause of antisocial personality disorder is unknown. Several contributing factors can lead to an increased risk of developing this condition. Some of those risk factors include:

  • Abuse, neglect, or mistreatment in childhood
  • A parent with alcoholism or another substance use disorder
  • A parent with antisocial personality disorder or another personality disorder
  • Childhood exposure to violence and criminal dealings as an acceptable way of life
  • Traumatic events early in life, or exposure to trauma such as war
  • Environmental factors, including exposure to lead paint in childhood

Antisocial Personality Disorder Treatment

Antisocial personality disorder can be treated with a combination of therapy, medication, and support. Your doctor and therapist can help you come up with a treatment plan that works well to keep symptoms of antisocial personality disorder under control.

Medication: Antidepressants, antipsychotics, anti-anxiety medications, and other types of medication are often used to treat this disorder. Your care team can help you find the medications and dosages that are right for you. Find a doctor or therapist at Sheppard Pratt.

Therapy: Many kinds of therapy can help you and your family overcome the hurdles of antisocial personality disorder. Learn more about your options for residential therapy at The Retreat at Sheppard Pratt or outpatient therapy.

Education: Learning more about antisocial personality disorder can help you and your loved ones recognize triggers and signs and know when to get help. See our resource library to learn more.

Support: Finding the right support network is a crucial step toward recovery. Sheppard Pratt offers many kinds of support groups that can help. Find your support group today.