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Antisocial Personality Disorder

Symptoms and Treatments


According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 7.6 million American adults suffer from antisocial personality disorder. According to some critics, the DSM diagnostic criteria are too focused on behaviors commonly displayed by those with antisocial personality disorder, such as fire-setting, cruelty to animals, and difficulties with authority figures. Because of this, it is possible that the prevalence of this disorder has been overstated. Regardless of this possibility, these behaviors often lead to major difficulties in many life areas, including work and personal relationships and the disorder is often linked to criminal behavior. 

Symptoms of Antisocial Personality Disorder

Individuals with antisocial personality disorder:
  • May begin displaying symptoms during childhood. Such behaviors include fire setting, cruelty to animals, and difficulty with authority.

  • Often have legal problems resulting from failures to conform to social norms and a lack of concern for the rights of others.

  • Often act out impulsively and fail to consider the consequences of their actions.

  • Display aggressiveness and irritability that often lead to physical assaults.

  • Have difficulty feeling empathy for others. This inability to consider the thoughts, feelings, and motivations of other people can lead to disregard for others.

  • Display a lack of remorse for damaging behavior.

Treatments for Antisocial Personality Disorder

  • Those with antisocial personality disorder rarely seek out treatment on their own. Individuals generally receive treatment only after some type of altercation with the legal system.

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy can be useful in helping individuals gain insight into their behaviors and to change maladaptive thought patterns.

  • Effective results usually occur only after long-term treatment.
Further Reading
Overview of Personality Disorders

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