among us are people with no conscience, no emotions, and no conceptions of
love. Welcome to the chilling world of the sociopath.” (Stout, 2005) Antisocial
personality disorder (APD), also known as dissocial personality disorder, is identification appropriate for individuals who behave with
no regard for the rights, safety or feelings of others. A personality disorder
is a persistent pattern of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that is considerably
different from what is considered normal within the person’s own culture.
Professionals group personality disorders in clusters based on a commonality of
symptoms. Antisocial personality disorder is found on Cluster B, which includes
personality disorders characterized by symptoms of dramatic or erratic
behaviors (Gray, 2011).
Antisocial personality disorder is
more common in males (about 3 percent of the US population) than females (about
1 percent of the US population) in the general population. APD is highly associated
with low financial status and among those living in urban areas. People with
the disorder are presumably living in poverty, suffering from a coexisting
substance abuse disorder, or racking up extensive criminal records (Grohol,
with generally all personality disorders, a person must be at least 18 years of
age before they can be diagnosed properly with APD. Antisocial personality
disorder symptoms will peak during late teenage years and early 20s. The
symptoms typically decrease in its strength with age. Many people experiencing
fewer extreme symptoms by the time they are middle aged (Grohol, 2010).
is believed to be influenced by the biopsychosocial model of causation. There
are no clear causing factors for ADP. Research on the possible biological risk
factors for developing antisocial personality disorder portrays that the
amygdala, a part of the brain that is mainly responsible for learning from
one’s errors and for responding to facial expressions, is generally found to be
smaller in those diagnosed with APD. This may have something to do with the
lack of empathy that individuals diagnosed with APD tend to have towards the
suffering of others (Bjornlund, 2011).
to trauma, extreme poverty, abuse or neglect
combined with irregular parenting and inconsistent discipline increases the
risk of a child developing APD as an adult. People who have parents suffering
from antisocial personality disorder or from substance abuse disorders (drugs
and alcohol) are more likely to develop APD than people of the overall
population. (Bjornlund, 2011).
of APD is a challenge; it’s hard to deal with a person who is a compulsive
liar, charming and convincing, excels at deception and evades accountability.
There is no specific test that can accurately evaluate whether a person has
APD. Social workers do a mental-health interview or test with the patient in
question that gathers information to look for any possible symptoms related to
APD. Additionally, if there is evidence of Conduct Disorder in an individual’s
childhood, it may indicate a future of APD in the person (Gray, 2011).
fundamental characteristic of antisocial personality disorder is an intense
disregard for the rights of other people. Individuals suffering from APD are
loyal to no one but themselves and have difficulty feeling empathy towards
others. Because they have little regard for authority and may act impulsively,
they are frequently committing crimes and abusing alcohol and drugs. They show
no remorse or guilt for their damaging behavior, and they give the appearance
of not having a conscience. People diagnosed with APD can be serial killers,
they feel absolutely no guilt after killing another human. They tend to lie and
cheat selfishly to gain money or rule over others around them, in order to
satisfy their economic needs or desires (Black,
with APD often become successful con artists and scammers because they believe
that the end justifies the means, no matter how hurtful to others. Their
ability to charm and flatter anyone allows them to act as human predators,
eating off their naive victims. People diagnosed with APD fail to conform to
society’s norms, resulting in many arrests or legal involvement. In spite of
their run-ins with the law, they usually present a very charming and normal
facade (Stout, 2005).
with antisocial personality disorder are also at risk to develop problems with
their mood. Such examples would be major depression, anxiety, OCD and bipolar disorder. They can also have other
personality disorders affect them. Such examples would be, borderline (BPD) and
narcissistic personality disorders. They can be self-mutilating/ self-harm, as
well as cause themselves death from homicide, suicide, or accidents (Grohol,
individuals diagnosed APD view everyone as problematic, and never themselves,
they rarely seek treatment. If they do seek help, it is usually mandated after
a run in with the legal system and may take place in a prison or forensic
setting, and therefore motivation on the individual’s part is rare (Black, 1999)
people diagnosed with APD have had little or no meaningful relationships in
their lives. A relationship can be formed therapeutically, during individual
psychotherapy. It actually may therefore be one of their first relationship in
general. Unfortunately, these approaches are rarely if ever effective in cases
of APD. Many people with APD use therapy sessions to learn how to “use the
system” to their advantage. Their persistent pattern of trickery and deceit envelopes
all aspects of their life, thereby including therapy. In General, their
behavior has to be controlled in a setting where they know there is no beating
around with the rules. Everything is very stringent (Grohol, 2010).
it is nearly impossible to successfully treat APD because of the person’s lack
of conscience and need to deceive, a treatment that has helped few is long-term
structured residential settings in which the client earns privileges as they
modify various behaviors. When a person who is diagnosed with APD is put in a
setting in which they cannot abuse others, their behavior may and very much
possibly improve. It is known though, that they will not be able to maintain the
modified behavior if they ever left the disciplined environment (Black, 1999).
Throughout history there have been
numerous infamous individuals who exhibited symptoms of antisocial personality
disorder. Adolf Hitler and Ted Bundy are notorious for their serial killings displaying
nary a pang of conscience. More recently, Bernie Madoff won the trust of
hundreds of people with his smooth talk. He convinced people to invest in his
Ponzi scheme, and they sincerely believed he was an honest man and a stock
market genius. When Madoff’s cover was blown, countless numbers of people
realized they were duped and were left with no investments to live off of.
Antisocial Personality Disorder is
perhaps the most frightening of all personality disorders, because those
diagnosed are described as one who feels nothing or towards any other living
thing, except perhaps contempt. However, they can still be quite charming when
it suits them and they can appear quite normal to the average person.