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Do I Have Antisocial Personality Disorder?
Antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) is a mental health disorder that is distinguishable by an overall lack of conscience. In fact, there is some overlap between ASPD and sociopathy. Take the antisocial personality disorder quiz here.
Antisocial Personality Disorder Explained
ASPD features an ongoing pattern of violating other people’s rights or exploiting them in some way. Someone with ASPD has no regard for the rights of others and shows little remorse when they inflict harm on people.
Because of the deviant nature of people with this disorder, their behaviors are often criminal. The term “sociopath” is often applied to someone with ASPD. This is so when the person’s actions are purposely harmful and are coupled with a lack of remorse.
This disorder usually develops during late childhood or early teen years, and before age eighteen. ASPD affects between 1%-4% of the U.S. population, with men outnumbering women 3-1. There is no known cause for this disorder, however, there are some risk factors that have been identified. These include:
- Adverse childhood experiences, such as having a parent who withheld affection or was abused.
- Having an alcoholic parent.
- Being diagnosed with conduct disorder as a child.
- Head trauma.
- Stressful life events; trauma.
- Low levels of serotonin.
Symptoms of Antisocial Personality Disorder
In general, people with ASPD are not easy to get along with. They have trouble managing frustration and tend to lash out in anger. Symptoms of ASPD include:
- They are physically aggressive and violent.
- They destroy property.
- They are impulsive and reckless.
- They have no regard for the concept of right and wrong.
- They get into trouble with the law.
- They blame others for things that go wrong.
- They manipulate and deceive others.
- They feel no guilt or remorse for their actions.
- They exploit others.
- They are callous and insensitive.
- They ignore social norms or rules.
- They are hostile and highly irritable.
- Their relationships are unstable.
- Substance abuse.
Signs of ASPD usually emerge in childhood. Some red flags include setting fires and torturing animals, or other signs of conduct disorder. If the child is diagnosed early and receives psychotherapy from an early age, some of the behavior traits may be changed and managed. If not, and adult ASPD develops, the person will have trouble fulfilling work, family, or school obligations. People with ASPD are at a higher risk for suicide.
Take the Antisocial Personality Disorder Quiz
Someone who is curious about ASPD and might suspect they or a loved one has this disorder can access this free antisocial personality disorder quiz. ASPD is not easy to diagnose, as its symptoms often cross over with other personality disorders. A mental health professional uses these methods to diagnose this serious mental health disorder:
- Psychological evaluation.
- Medical history.
- DSM-5 diagnostic criteria.
What is the Treatment for Antisocial Personality Disorder?
It is rare for someone with ASPD to seek help for their mental illness. Many of these diagnoses are made in childhood when the child displays symptoms of conduct disorder. Teachers often notice these behavior traits in a child and initiate a psych assessment.
To try to manage ASPD, at least to some degree, a mental health expert can provide the following interventions:
Psychotherapy. Therapy can assist the person in making the connection between their actions and how they affect others. The most useful types of therapy for ASPD are cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and contingency management (CM). CBT helps the person change their thought patterns, which then change behaviors. The CM is based on a reward system, which can help encourage behavioral changes.
Medication. There is no specific drug designed for PSPD, although many drugs are used off-label to help manage its symptoms. These are:
- Mood stabilizers
It has been found that people with ASPD tend to improve after age 45.
Personality Disorders With Similar Traits
What can make a diagnosis of ASPD difficult are the overlapping symptoms it shares with other mental health disorders. Because there are other disorders that mimic ASPD, special care must be taken to properly evaluate the person’s illness.
Similar personality disorders include:
- Psychopathic personality disorder. Psychopathic personality is very similar to ASPD. The main difference is that psychopaths can come across as charming when it will serve him or her. They also tend to be sexually promiscuous.
- Narcissistic personality disorder. A narcissistic personality is similar to an antisocial personality in that NPD has little regard for others and feels no guilt or remorse. NPD differs in that the narcissist generally lacks the criminal behaviors of ASPD.
- Borderline personality disorder. Borderline is similar to ASPD, as they both feature impulsive and reckless behaviors and have a higher risk of suicide. Borderline, though, features extreme mood swings, whereas ASPD doesn’t.
Substance Abuse and ASPD
Someone with ASPD may turn to drugs or alcohol to relieve symptoms of irritability, boredom, or stress. They also may be more open to experimenting with substances due to their tendency toward impulsive or risky behaviors. Someone with ASPD who develops a substance use disorder will benefit from a dual diagnosis treatment program. These programs address both substance use disorders and mental health disorders at the same time.
Early Death and ASPD
People who struggle with ASPD tend to have a shorter life span. A study of 500 people with ASPD found that their mortality rate was 8.5 times higher than those without ASPD. This was attributed to drug use, suicide, and violent behaviors. There is also a high rate of depression in those with ASPD, which could help explain the suicide deaths in this cohort.
The Treatment Specialist is a Leading Online Resource for Mental Health Needs
The Treatment Specialist is an online resource for informative articles on mental health conditions and treatment options for adults, teens, and families. If you suspect ASPD in yourself or a loved one, take the quiz and call our team for further guidance. Call today at (866) 644-7911.