What is Antisocial Personality Disorder? Symptoms & Causes (Updated 2022)

Antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) is a mental health condition that affects an individual’s ability to connect with others, follow the rules, and behave in ways that help them succeed. It is also commonly known as “sociopathy,” which stems from the Greek word ‘sokos,’ which means “selfish.” People with antisocial personality disorder are callous and unemotional, unable or unwilling to recognize or respond to the feelings of others.

If you have felt trust issues and mistrust strain your relationships, you may be guilty of having this condition lurking inside you. Understanding the different symptoms associated with antisocial personality disorder can help identify if someone you know has it so that you can get the treatment immediately.

What is Antisocial Personality Disorder?

ASPD is a mental health condition that affects an individual’s ability to connect with others, follow the rules, and behave in ways that help them succeed in life. It is a long-term behavior that is a criminal, impulsive, and self-centered pattern. They may be intelligent and capable of using logic and rational thinking to solve problems.

Still, their use of these skills is often distorted in ways that impede their ability to function effectively in relationships and other areas of their lives. People with antisocial personality disorder often cannot hold long-term jobs or stay in one place for a long time. Some have been arrested for violent crimes, but many do not come to the attention of the police because they are not likely to get involved in activities that will get them arrested.

This disorder is diagnosed in about 1 in 100 people. It is more common in men than women and often begins during the person’s teenage years or early adulthood.

How to Recognize the Symptoms of ASPD?

Low Empathy: Lack of empathy is one of the primary symptoms of antisocial personality disorder. If you have this condition, there is an inability to feel or recognize the suffering or feelings of others. 

Callousness and Lack of Emotional Responsiveness: An individual with ASPD would have a cold and indifferent demeanor towards the feelings of others. 

Inability or Unwillingness to Recognize the Rules and Norms Associated with Society: People with ASPD would have difficulty following the rules set in society, such as laws and policies. 

Rigid and Unwavering Beliefs: People with ASPD tend to have a rigid and unyielding belief system, which may be based on irrational and false information. 

Inability to Experience Remorse following Wrongdoing: Those with an antisocial personality disorder don’t feel remorse for hurting other people, even when there may be legitimate reasons behind doing so. 

Trust Issues: People with ASPD have trust issues and an inability to form healthy and meaningful connections with others. 

Impatience: Those with ASPD tend to be impatient and unable to wait for things they want. 

A Complete Lack of Insight into their Behavior: ASPD individuals don’t understand why their behavior is problematic and believe they are not wrong. 

Outbursts of Uncontrolled Anger: Although people with antisocial personality disorder aren’t typically aggressive towards others, they may feel sudden and intense outbursts of anger. 

Suicidal ideation or Feelings of Hopelessness: Those with ASPD are at a higher risk of committing suicide or having suicidal feelings because of feelings of hopelessness and helplessness. 

Taking Unnecessary Risks: People with ASPD engage in dangerous and unnecessary activities, placing themselves in situations where they could get hurt.

The Dangers Posing by People with Antisocial Personality Disorder

1. Long-Term Relationships 

Long-term Relationships

Due to the callous and unemotional demeanor of those with ASPD, it is difficult to form and maintain long-term relationships. People with ASPD often cannot feel empathy, which is one of the primary reasons behind their inability to form long-lasting relationships. 

2. Unemployment and Poverty

Unemployment and Poverty

Because of their inability to follow the rules and conform to social norms, people with ASPD are often unemployed and poor. 

3. Criminality


As many as 50% of people with ASPD have been arrested for a crime at least once. Many of those arrested for crimes have committed violent crimes, such as murder, rape, and assault. 

4. Social Isolation

Social Isolation

Because of their inability to form relationships, people with ASPD are often socially isolated. 

5. Suicide

Substance Abus

ASPD individuals are at a higher risk of suicide because of feelings of hopelessness and helplessness. 

6. Substance Abuse

People with ASPD are more likely to abuse alcohol and drugs. Additionally, substance abuse disorders are more common among those with an antisocial personality disorder.

Treating Antisocial Personality Disorder

Because of the dangers associated with antisocial personality disorder, individuals are recommended to seek treatment and therapy. There are no FDA-approved drugs to treat ASPD, but some medications are used to treat related symptoms. For example, antidepressants may be prescribed to treat anxiety and give someone a sense of calmness.

However, the primary treatment for ASPD is psychotherapy, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and interpersonal therapy (IPT). CBT helps individuals recognize and change their thinking patterns and unhelpful or false beliefs about themselves and their world. IP is a type of therapy that helps individuals improve their social and interpersonal skills.

IPT is particularly helpful for people with ASPD because it focuses on the interpersonal relationships and connections that are important to successful and healthy living.

How to Deal with Someone with ASPD (Antisocial Personality Disorder)?

People with antisocial personality disorder are often unable to feel empathy toward other people, which makes it difficult for them to form long-lasting relationships. When dealing with someone with ASPD, it is important to be patient and not take their lack of empathy personally. It is also helpful to be upfront about your thoughts and feelings towards a person with ASPD, so they know how they are making you feel.

In order to form and maintain relationships with people with ASPD, it is important that you set firm boundaries and expectations for the relationship. It is also important to remember that you cannot change another person’s behavior; all you can do is change your reaction to it.

Consequences of Antisocial Personality Disorder

People with an antisocial personality disorder often have poor physical and mental health. The consistent criminal behavior of people with ASPD can put them at risk of serious health problems, such as sexually transmitted diseases and hepatitis. These diseases can lead to chronic pain and may require continuous medical care and treatment.

People with ASPD risk a lower life expectancy because of the higher likelihood of committing suicide or being incarcerated. People with ASPD also risk experiencing mental health disorders, such as anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder. People with ASPD may face serious consequences, such as fines and imprisonment, when arrested.

Additionally, employers may deny them employment based on their criminal history. People with ASPD may also be denied entry into other countries, such as Canada and Mexico.

Conclusion: Prevention of Antisocial Personality Disorder

An antisocial personality disorder is a mental health condition that causes someone to act impulsively and carelessly, often failing to consider the consequences of their actions. People with ASPD often struggle to maintain healthy relationships and exhibit a lack of empathy, which leads to unkind and unsympathetic behavior.

Treatments available can help people with ASPD better manage their condition and improve their relationships. If you think you or someone you know has an antisocial personality disorder, it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible.


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