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Antisocial Personality Disorder

What is Antisocial Personality Disorder?

Antisocial Personality Disorder (APD) is a Cluster B personality disorder. These disorders are characterized by dramatic, overly emotional, or unpredictable thinking or behaviour. People with APD have a history of failing to comply with societal norms. Described as “social predators,” those with ASD charm, manipulate, and victimize others, leaving behind a trail of destruction. Devoid of conscience and empathy, they have utter disregard for the safety of others and even themselves.


The symptoms of ASD include:

· Failure to conform to social norms, as evidenced by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest

·Deceitfulness, as evidenced by repeated lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure

·Impulsivity or failure to plan ahead

·Irritability and aggression, as evidenced by repeated physical fights or assaults

·Reckless disregard for the safety of self or others

·Lack of remorse, as evidenced by indifference to or rationalizing harming, mistreating, or stealing from others


The signs of ASD are usually present in childhood. Many young children are naturally egocentric and aggressive, but some children can continue to remain this way past the normal developmental period and may stay that way for the rest of their lives. These children may have conduct disorder, the childhood precursor of antisocial personality disorder. They are violent toward others and can be bullies. Many children with conduct disorder may go on to be juvenile offenders.


Because they are unlikely to believe that they are in need of treatment, people with ASD often struggle to undergo treatment. Their manipulative behaviour can also extend to therapists. Additionally, their refusal to accept responsibility for their actions and minimize what they have done can further complicate their treatment.


Unfortunately, there are only a few documented cases of successfully treating those with ASD. Cognitive behavioural therapy can decrease the likelihood of violence after treatment. However, treatment is less successful for those with the psychopathic subtype of ASD.

It is highly encouraged to identify high-risk children to commence treatment before adulthood. For parents, training can allow them to recognize behavioural problems early. The use of praise and privileges can reduce antisocial behaviours.

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