What is Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD)?
Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD) is a metal health condition where an individual may be charming or witty, but also have long-term patterns of manipulating, exploiting, or violating the rights of others. Individuals with this personality disorder may act rashly or unsafely without feeling guilty when their actions hurt others. They are very likely to break the law or not honor social norms. The condition exists on a spectrum depending on the frequency, intensity, and impact of the behaviors. ASPD affects 2-4% of the population and is more common in men and is more likely to develop in individuals who had a conduct disorder in childhood or adolescence.
How does Antisocial Personality Disorder affect individuals?
Although individuals cannot be diagnosed until the age of 18 with ASPD, it is common for individuals with ASPD to have a conduct disorder, with conduct being at its worst during late adolescence and early adulthood. Their behavior may impact relationships, employment as well as increase the likelihood of experiencing homelessness. Although an individuals’ conduct can improve over time, there’s a high risk that someone with ASPD will be imprisoned at some point in their life. 47% of male inmates are shown to have this disorder, highlighting how their behaviors can lead to incarceration due to breaking laws or social norms. Men with ASPD are also 3-5 times more likely to misuse alcohol and drugs than those without the disorder.
What does treatment for an individual with ASPD look like?
The barrier to treatment for many individuals who have ASPD is not being able to acknowledge that they need help or that their behavior is harmful, which is part of the diagnostic criteria due to the inability to feel empathy for the effects of their behaviors. Evidence suggests that a person’s behavior can improve with therapy, increasing their quality of life, but they may continue to lack empathy. Community-based programs have also been shown to be an effective long-term treatment. Medication has been utilized for treating mood fluctuation for individuals who experience ASPD, but more research is needed in this area to identify the impact of medication on treatment.
This page is part of the Roamers Therapy Glossary; a collection of mental-health related definitions that are written by our therapists.
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