Antisocial Personality Disorder
Antisocial Personality Disorder
Rhoda Hahn (Psychiatrist) gives expert video advice on: What are the dangers of antisocial personality disorder?; Who is at risk for antisocial personality disorder? and more...
What is an "antisocial personality disorder"?
Patients with antisocial disorder show a consistent lack of regard for the rights and feelings of other people. Now, this is the one personality disorder that you have to actually have met criteria for another disorder before the age of 15. While most personality disorders aren't diagnosed until the age of 18, this one is also not diagnosed until the age of 18; however, you have to meet criteria for having a conduct disorder before the age of 15. A conduct disorder is essentially the exact same thing: a persistent disregard for the rights and feelings of other people. This personality disorder is unique in the sense that the behavior has to go back - way back - into childhood.
What are the signs of antisocial personality disorder?
In general, what you're going to see is, this is someone who is participating in a lot of illegal activities, that they may not actually get arrested, but they could be if anybody knew about it. The other thing is that this is a person who is actually just not very nice. They lie, they cheat, they steal and they're irresponsible. They're unable to maintain relationships with other people unless they are going to get something out of it. In other words, they will engage others if there is gain for them. Probably most importantly of all is that they show a total and utter lack of remorse for any of their past deeds.
What causes antisocial personality disorder?
No one really knows exactly what the cause of antisocial personality disorder is. There does appear to be higher rate of antisocial in people who have a first-degree relative that was also antisocial. Before you get all excited and say, "oh there's a genetic component", it may just be that the best way to become an antisocial is to be raised by one, so it could also be just learned behavior. It also seems that if you have conduct disorder and you are abused or neglected, you are at much higher risk for developing antisocial personality disorder.
What are the dangers of antisocial personality disorder?
Probably the most common danger is getting arrested and thrown in jail. I think that the prisons are probably filled with persons who meet criteria for antisocial personality disorder. The other thing of course is that sense they are very aggressive and they get into fights frequently, you know you could get hurt. The interpersonal dysfunction is marked in this personality disorder. These people don't get into relationships with other people unless they think they're going to get something out of it. They are completly untrustworthy so they are not able to maintain relationships with reasonable people in any kind of way, nor are they paticulary interested in it. The occupational dysfunction speaks for itself, they are irresponsible and untrustworthy. They are not going to come to work on time, they may not even come to work at all, and they are not going to be very honest in a work setting. One aspect of antisocial personality disorder that is not written as much about though is that they are also capable of great superficial charm. So the conman, you hear these stories about guys who like con six old ladies into leaving all they're money to them or whatever, I think again when there is a definite gain, something in it for them they can be extremely charming.
Who is at risk for antisocial personality disorder?
Patients who have first-degree relatives with antisocial personality disorder appear to be at higher risk for developing it. If you have a conduct disorder and you get abused and/or neglected, this will also put you at higher risk. I think the increased incidence in families doesn't necessarily point to a genetic component; it may be a learned response as well.
What are the treatments for antisocial personality disorder?
Patients with antisocial personality disorder show a consistent lack of regard for the rights and feelings of other people. Now, this is the one personality disorder that you have to actually have met criteria for another disorder before the age of fifteen. So, while most personality disorders aren't diagnosed until the age of eighteen, this one is also not diagnosed until the age of eighteen; however, you have to meet criteria for having a conduct disorder before the age of fifteen. A conduct disorder is essentially the exact same thing: a persistent disregard for the rights and feelings of other people. So, this personality disorder is unique in the sense that it, the behavior, has to go back, way back, into childhood.