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Antisocial Personality Disorder

AntisocialPersonality Disorder



The antisocial personality disorder is also referred to associopathy. It is regarded as a mental disorder that causesindividuals suffering from it to disregard right and wrong and toignore the feelings of others. As such, they only do as per theirwishes and rarely consider how their actions will impact on otherparties that have a stake in the same. Sociopathy cause individualssuffering from it to consciously or unconsciously manipulate,antagonize or treat others with significant indifference (Swann etal., 2013). Beyond merely behaving in such an undesirable manner,individuals suffering from this mental disorder are never remorseful,and they do not show any signs of guilt. This is a key considerationfor psychologists who seek to distinguish between individuals who aresuffering from the disorder and those who are not.


The antisocial personality disorder is either caused either geneticor as a result of the elements of the environment in which theindividuals was brought up in their childhood and adolescent days.The genetically stimulated sociopathy is inborn and the individualsuffering from it as well as the environment he/ she was brought upin has nothing to do with the disorder. The gene that encodes forMonoamine oxidase A (MAO-A) is one of the genes that has proved to beclosely related with antisocial behavior (Anderson et al.,2014). Also, all variants of genes that result to the production ofthis gene have a considerably likelihood to stimulate the antisocialbehavior in an individual. These prevalence of the high-activityvariants is said to be influenced, to a considerable extent, by theperson’s experiences in early life. If the individual had negativeexperiences such as maltreatment, the high-activity variants areprevalent, and the vice versa is also true. The second gene that ishighly associated with this behavior is the gene that encodes forserotonin transporter (SCL6A4).

Sociopathy that is environmentally driven is mainly as a result ofthe occurrences of two categories of environment: the social familyenvironment and cultural influences. If the family in which theindividual was brought up had a general antisocial mood, it is morelikely than not that the individual will as well develop anantisocial character that later grows into an antisocial personalitydisorder. This is mainly the case especially if parents displayedsignificant antisocial behavior. The reason behind this can beadopted from the provisions of the social learning theory. The secondenvironmental driver of the antisocial behavior, as pointed outearlier, is cultural influences. Culture simply refers to the waythings are done among a specific group of people with commoncharacteristics. If it is the culture of a particular group of peopleto disregard other people’s feelings in relation to their actions,more people in the group are likely to suffer from the disorder thanin a group where such behavior is intolerable.

Signs andSymptoms

One does not have to undergo medical examination for a confirmationthat they are suffering from the antisocial personality disorder.Keen observation of an individual’s behavior and how he/ she treatsothers is enough to determine whether or not they are suffering fromthe disorder. Individuals suffering from this disorder arecharacterized with persistent and pervasive disregard for theacceptable behavior in the society, societal social norms and therights as well as feelings of others. As pointed out earlier, theyare rarely remorseful or guilty of their actions. Such individualswill comfortably exploit and manipulate others in harmful ways forpersonal gains or simply personal pleasure (Ogloff et al.,2015). They have no problem with seeing other individuals suffer asthey enjoy themselves. They are less compassionate and considerate.High frequency of deception, manipulation and exploitation of othersis a major sign that an individual is suffering from this disorder.

Beyond mere exploitation and manipulation of others, theseindividuals go further to think lowly and negatively of others andfurther display it. An additional sign of this disorder isirresponsibility. Sociopathy stimulated irresponsibility is mainlyevidenced by the individual’s inability to maintain stableemployment. Besides, it is considerably difficult for suchindividuals to accomplish both social and financial obligations.Instead of leading socially and financially lives, they leadexploitative, unlawful and parasitic lifestyles. They rarely considerthe consequences of their actions on them just like they disregardthe impact of their actions on others. Aggressiveness, hostility, andhigh temper are some of the characteristics of their personality.Majority of the people with serious problems in interpersonalrelationships are diagnosed with this disorder.

Finally, the conduct disorder is a major symptom of sociopathy. Whileit is a disorder in itself, it is considered as a precedent of theantisocial personality disorder in the childhood days. Researchstudies have confirmed that about 25-40% of the youth with theconduct disorder will be diagnosed with sociopathy in their adulthood(Ogloff et al., 2015). Adolescents and teenagers sufferingfrom the conduct disorder rarely regard the feelings and rights oftheir colleagues (Black, 2013). They only regard those of theirelders, and in some cases, they do not. The conduct disorder hasparallel signs and symptoms to those of sociopathy only that itoccurs in children as opposed to adults. The childhood disorder hastwo main types: “childhood-onset type” (occurs before the age often) and “adolescent-onset type” (occurs after the age of ten).


The antisocial personality disorder is more prevalent in psychiatricpatients than in normal individuals. The condition worsens when aperson suffers from other mental complications. Research studiesprovide that 3% to 30% of patients who are diagnosed with otherpsychiatric complications also suffer from this disorder (Anderson etal., 2014). From an aerial point of view, the more the thought anindividual has, the higher the likelihood that they will portraycharacteristics of sociopathy. The majority of the people have asuppressed antisocial personality condition that is only aroused whenthey are under stress (whether acute or chronic). If they are in anacute stress condition, they experience temporary sociopathy and ifthey are chronic stress conditions they experience permanent orprolonged sociopathy. For this reason, the prevalence of thisdisorder varies from one population to the other depending on thegeneral stress level of the populations. For instance, it is higherin prisons where there are violent officers than those where they areless violent. In general, though (Derefinko &amp Widiger, 2016). Theprevalence of this disorder is higher in prisons than in otherpopulations. A literature study conducted in 2012 provided that 47%of male prisoners and 21% of the females were suffering from theantisocial personality disorder. Likewise, the prevalence is alsohigher in populations that are addicted to alcohol and other drugsthan it is in the general populations.


According to Stone (2013), in his article: “Abnormalities ofPersonality: Within and Beyond the Realm of Treatment,” theantisocial personality behavior is one of the most difficultdisorders to treat due to its low or absent capacity for remorse.From their behavior, it is difficult for these individuals toappreciate the harm caused by their antisocial behavior. Rarely tothese individual make full commitments to change. Besides, theindividuals portray the same behavior to medics and other patientsduring treatment making it more complicated. When they are providedwith inpatient services, they seek to manipulate the physicians andexploit other patients. To make the matters worse, studies haveconfirmed that outpatient therapy is less likely to be successful,but there is a high likelihood that these studies have beenexaggerated. The extent to which those studies are exaggerated is,however, yet to be ascertained.

Even so, when treatment is possible, it is recommended that thepatients are taken through residential programs at a controlledenvironment under supervision. It is also highly recommended that thepatient’s supervisor should be a peer to the patient it increasesresponsiveness. Besides, it is also provided that therapeuticinterventions have a major positive impact on the treatment ofantisocial personality disorder. To add on this, current researchersare working on the schema therapy as a treatment for this disorder.The multi-systematic therapy has also been identified as one of thefactors that have a considerably high likelihood to improve on thetreatment of this condition (Black, 2013). While some studies havepointed out that the presence of this disorder does not interferewith the treatment of others, others point out that it does. Thealternative use of medications to treat this disorder is yet to beconfirmed. By the end of 2013, the Food and Drug AdministrationAgency was yet to approve any medications for the mental disorder.


To wrap things up, the antisocial personality disorder is a mentalcondition that is mainly as a result of the characteristics of thesocial environment in which an individual is brought up. Individualssuffering from this disorder totally disregard the impact of theiractions on other people. They do not respect the rights of others,and they rarely consider their feelings. Most of the signs andsymptoms of this disorder can be noticed via keen observation of theindividual’s behavior (Ogloff et al., 2015). The prevalenceof this disorder is largely dependent on the population. As such, itdiffers from one population to the other. It is said to be moreprevalent in populations that have a high general stress level thanin those whose general stress level is low. Even though thecondition’s treatment is difficult, physicians recommendtherapeutic treatment over other medications.


Anderson, J. L., Sellbom, M., Wygant, D. B., Salekin, R. T., &ampKrueger, R. F. (2014). Examining the associations between DSM-5Section III antisocial personality disorder traits and psychopathy incommunity and university samples. Journal of PersonalityDisorders, 28(5), 675.

Black, D. W. (2013). Bad boys, bad men: Confronting antisocialpersonality disorder (sociopathy). Oxford University Press.

Derefinko, K. J., &amp Widiger, T. A. (2016). Antisocial personalitydisorder. In The medical basis of psychiatry (pp. 229-245).Springer New York.

Ogloff, J. R., Talevski, D., Lemphers, A., Wood, M., &amp Simmons,M. (2015). Co-occurring mental illness, substance use disorders, andantisocial personality disorder among clients of forensic mentalhealth services. Psychiatric rehabilitation journal, 38(1),16.

Stone, M. H., &amp ELLISON, J. M. (2013). Abnormalities ofPersonality: Within and Beyond the Realm of Treatment. Journal ofClinical Psychopharmacology, 14(4), 294.

Swann, A. C., Lijffijt, M., Lane, S. D., Steinberg, J. L., &ampMoeller, F. G. (2013). Antisocial personality disorder and borderlinesymptoms are differentially related to impulsivity and course ofillness in bipolar disorder. Journal of affective disorders,148(2), 384-390.