What is Antisocial Personality Disorder?
Antisocial Personality Disorder or sometimes referred to as Sociopathy, is a mental health disorder that displays an “I-don’t-care” personality. It means that the person who has Antisocial Personality Disorder has no interest for right or wrong. He only acts what he thinks is necessary for himself.
The person also doesn’t care about other people’s feelings and rights. People with this disorder are often mean and they thrive on manipulating others for their own personal benefit. What’s more is that they have no shame and they don’t display feelings of guilt and remorse when they do something bad.
If a person has Antisocial Personality Disorder, is he a sociopath or a psychopath?
The other name for Antisocial Personality Disorder is Sociopathy. So, yes, the person is termed as a sociopath. A sociopath has a weak conscience and he is tremendously disruptive or rebellious. People with this disorder have no empathy and most sociopaths are criminals, usually murderers, kidnappers, rapists, or robbers. Some experts believe that sociopaths have become like that because of their environment.
A psychopath, on the other hand, is typically an aggressive person. Their mental disorder is long-lasting and violence is but a normal behavior for them. Some characteristics of psychopaths are similar with that of sociopaths, but psychopaths become such largely because of genetics. This was reported by scientists and researchers.
What are the signs and symptoms of a person with Antisocial Personality Disorder?
Here are some of the signs and symptoms of a sociopath:
– Doesn’t believe in right and wrong
– Compulsive liar
– Mean to people
– Can be very charming in order to manipulate others and get what he wants from them
– Borderline narcissistic and very opinionated
– Criminal conduct
– Cheats on other people
– Can’t plan things
– Hostile and violent
– Often agitated
– Risk-taker with blatant disregard for safety and life
– Can’t hold a romantic or platonic relationship
– Doesn’t care about consequences of bad actions
– Extremely dishonest
What causes a person to have this Antisocial Personality Disorder?
Experts believe that a person becomes a sociopath for a variety of causes, but they lean more towards nurture reasons or environmental factors. Personality is being shaped since childhood and aside from genes, lifestyle and surroundings do affect a person’s being. Sociopaths understand things differently compared to normal-minded people. Their brains function or process differently, as well. According to Dr. Marisa Alter, PsyD, a clinical psychologist, “If you find yourself avoiding parties, work gatherings, or even your own friends and family, there may be a fear of judgment or underlying feelings of inadequacy.”
Is Antisocial Personality Disorder a mental health illness?
Yes. Antisocial Personality Disorder is 100% a mental health illness.
How can a person be diagnosed with Antisocial Personality Disorder?
Sociopathy is very difficult to diagnose on a person, according to mental health experts. Also, these people are not keen on asking for help with their disorder. They feel very superior compared to others and sociopaths will deny their mental illness.
Anyway, a series of examinations will be done to assess if a person really has the Antisocial Personality Disorder. First, he or she must be positive on the checklist titled Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (specifically DSM-5) as provided by the American Psychiatric Association. Next, the person must be examined regarding his personal history and medical background. Lastly, a psychological test will be administered. This test will check the person’s thinking patterns, emotions, connections with people, behavior and family upbringing.
Is the Antisocial Personality Disorder treatable?
There is no cure for Antisocial Personality Disorder. Once you have it, you will forever endure the mental health illness. However, “counseling can help you dive into some of these issues and determine what is at the root of the constant conflict.” That is according to Susan Block, LMFT. But there are ways to combat its triggers. So, before the “sociopath” comes out, it can be stopped at its tracks.
The treatment is long-term and it must be religiously done. Those with the Antisocial Personality Disorder need to willingly subject themselves to psychotherapy. This is a very broad type of therapy and may include CBT or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Anger Management Therapy, and other personality or behavioral treatment programs.
“Cognitive behavioral therapy, often shortened to CBT, focuses on recognizing negative thought patterns and changing thoughts and behaviors and feelings through concrete skills.” – Hannah Goodman, LMHC
Medication is also a must for people with Antisocial Personality Disorder. These medications are not specific for the Antisocial Personality Disorder – it is for depression, anxiety and stress. These anti-depression drugs “repairs” the chemical imbalance or the malfunction inside a person’s brain. It can help suppress some triggers of a sociopath.