Like other personality disorders, and antisocial personality disorder is a longstanding behavior that impairs functioning and causes distress. In essence, those with an antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) don’t follow society’s norms, can be impulsive, and are inconsiderate of others’ rights. Sound familiar? Well, substance abuse is prevalent among those with ASPD.
What is Antisocial Personality Disorder?
An antisocial personality disorder, also known as sociopathy, is a psychiatric condition in which individuals show little to no regard for others’ rights and feelings. Though this disorder isn’t diagnosed before age 18, evidence and symptoms start appearing before age 15. Basically, people with antisocial personality disorder are manipulative, chronic liers, and can easily treat others harshly without being affected.
Overall, they also can’t differentiate right from wrong, which is why they often violate the law. Substance abuse and other destructive behavior patterns are also common among those with this disorder. ASPD affects 2% to 4% of the population and is more common in men than women.
Symptoms and Causes
It can be challenging to spot these symptoms early on, and sometimes people dismiss them from inoffensive behavioral issues. These are some of the most common signs and symptoms:
- Disregard for right and wrong
- Chronic lying and deceiving behavior to exploit others
- Cynical and disrespectful behavior of others
- Arrogance and a sense of superiority
- Hostility and irritability
- Aggressive behavior or violence
- Lack of empathy for others
- Lack of remorse about harming others
- Dangerous and risk-taking behaviors
- Poor or abusive relationships
- Failure to consider negative consequences
Like with other personality disorders, the actual cause of antisocial personality disorder remains unknown. This is particularly true since personalities are unique, using various behaviors, emotions, thoughts, and history. It’s believed that personality disorders form during childhood, shaped through inherited actions and environmental factors. Some possible causes include:
- Family history of mental illness
- Brain development changes
Antisocial Personality Disorder Treatment Options
Personality disorders can be challenging to address. For some people, treatment and long-term follow-up can be beneficial. Some people may seek treatment for some of the downsides of ASPD, like substance abuse, anger management, and failed relationships. However, treatment varies tremendously, and it depends on the person’s situation, the severity of symptoms, and willingness to participate.
Therapy can help treat a myriad of personality disorders. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is usually the go-to option for these types of conditions. A dual diagnosis program may also incorporate other techniques to help with anger and violence management, alcohol or substance abuse, and treatment for any co-occurring mental health conditions.
Even though psychotherapy isn’t always effective for everyone, it can help manage symptoms and offer long-term management.
There are no medications specifically approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat antisocial personality disorder. Sometimes, doctors may prescribe medicines for conditions associated with the disease, such as anxiety, depression, and aggression. In the case of those recovering from addiction, some medications can also help with detox withdrawal symptoms to help people be better equipped for rehab.
It can be challenging for those with ASPD to find support from family members and friends. However, talking to support groups can help you talk about your struggles safely and in a friendly environment. It’s also essential for family members and friends to seek out professional help to learn how to set healthy boundaries and protect yourself from the aggression and manipulation common to antisocial personality disorder. Learn how you can participate in your loved one’s treatment program and how you can cope with the situation.
Finding Help Near Me
At Lighthouse Recovery Institute, we treat many patients struggling with co-occurring mental health conditions and personality disorders like ASPD. So, if you or a loved one struggles with substance abuse or mental illness, please don’t hesitate to seek professional help. Our mission is to help you learn the skills and resources available to help you live a fulfilling life free of substances and destructive behaviors. We invite you to start your new life today.