Antisocial personality disorder is a medical condition in which the affected person’s thoughts and perceptions about others and the society are dysfunctional, defective and often destructive. These people seem to behave in a callous and indifferent way to others, have no care for what is right and what is wrong, often manipulates and treats others harshly without having any regard for their wishes or feelings. A person affected with antisocial personality disorder are incapable of taking any responsibility towards relationships, at school or college and at work place.
Thus, with this type of morality history of crime, violation of law, drug and alcohol abuse are quite common however, it is highly unlikely that the affected person will show any remorse or guilt.
Common presenting symptoms of antisocial personality disorder include
1. Having no care for right and wrong, disregard for social obligations, norms and rules
2. Intention of exploiting others through persistent lies and manipulation for personal benefit even sometimes for pleasure
3. Having excessive ego, exhibitionism and superiority complex
4. Repeated violation of law
5. Callous indifferent attitude towards child
6. Increased hostility, aggressiveness and violent behavior
7. Lack of remorse or guilt, feeling no empathy after ill treatment of others
8. Inability to maintain normal relationship, promiscuity etc
10. Risk taking attitude, homicidal or suicidal behavior
Usually the symptoms of antisocial behavior start during early childhood, however, they become evident between second and third decade. Common early signs in children include bullying, cruelty to animals and younger children, impulsive attitude, excessive agitation, poor performance at school etc.
In some affected person some of the above mentioned symptoms like destructive and criminal behavior, alcoholism, drug use, etc. tend to decrease or completely disappear with time although the exact cause is not known.
The personality of a person is the way one behaves with others, relate to the outer world and the way one thinks about oneself. The personality starts developing in the childhood and with time and experience it takes the final shape. There are mainly two factors which can influence a person’s personality; these are
Genetic factors: these factors (temperament) are dependent on a person’s parents’ personality like positive attitude or shyness etc.
Environmental factors: these include the environment in which the child grows up, behaviors of the relatives, friends, teachers and peers. Usually the nature of parenting, whether abusive or loving plays an important role.
Thus negative environmental influences and life events in a genetically susceptible person may trigger the symptoms of antisocial personality disorder.
Imbalance in certain hormone levels like high testosterone, low circulating serotonin level even head injury
Common risk factors include suffering from the childhood conduct disorder, victim of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse during childhood, family history of any type of personality disorder, unstable family life during childhood, history of drug abuse in the family etc.
The most difficult part of treating antisocial personality disorder is convincing the affected person to seek medical help as the affected persons usually do not realize their problem. Psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy are the two types of treatment. Although there is no FDA approved drug for antisocial personality disorder, certain psychiatric drugs may help.