Antisocial personality disorder
Antisocial personality disorder is a psychiatric condition in which a person manipulates, exploits, or violates the rights of others. This behavior is often criminal.
Psychopathic personality; Sociopathic personality; Personality disorder - antisocial
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Personality disorders are long-term (chronic) patterns of behaviors and relationships that interfere with a person's life over many years.
The cause of antisocial personality disorder is unknown. Genetic factors and child abuse are believed to contribute to the development of this condition. People with an antisocial or alcoholic parent are at increased risk. Far more men than women are affected. The condition is common in prison populations.
Fire-setting and cruelty to animals during childhood are linked to the development of antisocial personality.
A person with antisocial personality disorder:
- Breaks the law repeatedly
- Lies, steals, and fights often
- Disregards the safety of self and others
- Does not show any guilt
Signs and tests
To receive a diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder, a person must have shown behaviors of conduct disorder during childhood.
People with antisocial personality disorder may have the following signs:
- Anger and arrogance
- Capable of acting witty and charming
- Good at flattery and manipulating other people's emotions
- Substance abuse and legal problems
Antisocial personality disorder is one of the most difficult personality disorders to treat. People with this condition rarely seek treatment on their own. They may only start therapy when required to by a court.
The effectiveness of treatment for antisocial personality disorder is not known.
Symptoms tend to peak during the late teenage years and early 20's. They may improve on their own by a person's 40's.
Complications can include imprisonment and drug abuse.
Calling your health care provider
Call for an appointment with a mental health professional if:
- You have symptoms of antisocial personality disorder
- Your child shows behaviors of this disorder
Moore Dp, Jefferson JW. Antisocial personality disorder. In: Moore DP, Jefferson JW, eds. Handbook of Medical Psychiatry. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2004: chap 137.
Linda Vorvick, MD, Seattle Site Coordinator, Lecturer, Pathophysiology, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine; and Timothy A. Rogge, MD, private practice in Psychiatry, Kirkland, Washington. Also reviewed byDavid Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997-
A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.