The Psychological Report on Antisocial Personality Disorder
In this paper, my goal was to administer a summary of antisocial personality disorder, to broaden my understanding of this psychological state. By researching this subject, I’ll be able to thoroughly understand this personality disorder, and other similar disorders that may be related to it. In society, we as human beings see each other eye to eye, not knowing whether an individual may be suffering from any type of disorder. For example, in a community, we may assume that someone is suffering from something, but not know what exactly is wrong with that person. It is also important to know and understand what goes through the mind of people with personality disorders.
By educating ourselves, we could prepare ourselves when encountering those who suffer from a disorder, as well as be able to react during situations that may feel uncomfortable. Antisocial personality disorder, also known as ASPD, is a very serious disorder among young children and adults. People who are diagnosed with this disorder are usually linked with criminal behavior and are at risk for suicide attempts, traumatic injuries, etc. Treatments for this disorder such as therapy and medication can help a patient cope with ASPD, but necessarily won’t cure it. Unfortunately, ASPD is a long-term disorder that most people will have to deal with for their entire life. Overall, I will be going over the general information about ASPD and the causes, symptoms, and treatments of this disorder.
Within society, in order for an individual to be successful, he/she must obey the rules that society puts forth. Failure to comply with the rules will eventually lead to people breaking the law, getting in trouble, and eventually ending up in prison. An individual with antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) is characterized based off a set of traits that make them more susceptible to a family and social breakdown. Individuals’ who suffers from antisocial personality disorder are closely connected to criminal behavior, and “illustrated by their high prevalence in prison populations” (Palmstierna, 2016). According to Smith (2018), individuals who have ASPD are sometimes referred to as “sociopaths.” More or less, “they’re also likely to have a shorter life expectancy due to impulsive behaviors like substance abuse and criminal activity” (Smith, 2018).
They also show signs of being “socially irresponsible, exploitative, and portraying guiltless behavior” (Black, 2015).
Also, “ASPD is associated with co-occurring mental health and addictive disorders, including major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, somatic symptom disorders, substance use disorders, gambling disorder, and sexual disorder” (Black, 2015). Therefore, individuals who suffer from this disorder, may also suffer from other personality disorders that will have an outcome on their social life and well-being. Furthermore, “people are at risk for traumatic injuries, accidents, suicide attempts, hepatitis C infections, and human immunodeficiency virus” (Black, 2015). These risks not only affect the individual, but also affects all the people in his/her environment. According to Hesse (2010), antisocial personality disorder will have a negative impact on the people surrounding the individuals, including children who grow up with a parent that suffers from the disorder, as well as spouses of people with the disorder. Therefore, that child will tend to develop the disorder based on the negative environment that he/she is surrounded in.
According to Paris (2015), most patients with ASPD are young and as they grow older, we see fewer of them. This means that patients supposedly grow out of the disorder as they age, but “people who continue to return to clinical settings still attain significant problems” (Paris, 2015). With that being said, there is no way to predict an outcome of a patient when they return to a clinical setting for a follow up. Antisocial personality disorder and psychopathy are similar, but different in the clinical setting. “ASPD is a clinical diagnosis included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fifth Edition (DSM-5), and psychopathy is also a personality disorder but not included in the DSM” (Werner, et al., 2015). Also, Werner et al. (2015) stated that for ASPD, behavioral traits are dominant, and for psychopathy, affective and interpersonal traits are paramount.
Causes of ASPD are based off of genetics or based on their environment. According to Smith (2018), if a parent has the disorder, it will definitely put their child at risk. Also, the environment around children is a factor because they may receive “poor discipline, have negative role models, or are not taught to respect the rights of others” (Smith, 2018). Another cause for ASPD is conduct disorder or attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Those who have “conduct disorder or attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder before age 10, are at increased risk for having ASPD when they become adults” (Smith, 2018). Also, “understanding how well conduct disorder and other mental disorders predict the development of antisocial personality disorder among youth involved I the juvenile justice system is critical for prevention” (Washburn, et al., 2007). In my opinion, I believe that we can lessen the chances of children developing ASPD at a young age if we treat them right, discipline them, and keep a positive environment around them.
Genes on the other hand, are quite unclear. Ongoing studies have shown that “about 50% of the total liability to developing ASPD has been attributed to genetic factors, and contributing genes remain largely unknown” (Rautiainen, et al., 2016). Another study was conducted in order to estimate “the effects of genetic, shared environmental, and unique environmental factors on variation in conduct problems measured at childhood and adolescence and antisocial personality problems measured at adulthood, on the covariation across ages” (Wesseldijk, et al., 2018).
According to Wesseldijk et al. (2018), the results showed that at all ages, genetic factors was a contribution to variation in conduct, and shared environment was the main importance during childhood. Also, “during adolescence and adulthood, genetic and unique environmental factors equally explained the variation” (Wesseldijk, et al., 2018). Basically, this study was used to collect data from childhood, to adolescent, to adulthood and see if there were any changes in personality problems based off of genetics and environmental factors. ASPD has also been studied within communities. According to Werner et al. (2015), estimates of those with ASPD in a general population have a lifetime prevalence of 1-4%. For those that may have the disorder based on their genetics, we can support them and try our best to keep them positive and overall just be there for them when they need it.
Signs of symptoms within an individual varies between gender, age, and their actions within society. Some symptoms include “repeatedly performing unlawful acts, lying or conning other for profit or pleasure, acting impulsively, repeated physical fights or assaults, disregard for the safety of oneself or others, irresponsibility at work or in financial obligations, or lack of remorse when mistreating others” (Smith, 2018). Smith (2018) also stated that in order to receive a diagnosis, an individual must exhibit at least three of the symptoms mentioned above.
As Black (2015) stated, boys develop symptoms earlier than girls, in which girls may not develop symptoms until puberty. Black (2015) also stated that by age 11 years old, nearly 80% of people will develop their first symptom. Adults who suffer from this disorder usually have symptoms of “failure to conform to law, failure to sustain consistent employment, manipulation of others for personal gain, deception of others, and failure to develop stable interpersonal relationships” (Black, 2015). When encountering people who commit these actions on a daily basis, approach them with caution and try to talk to them because maybe you could help them find the right person that they need to talk to.
Overall, treatments can help with the disorder, but there is really no cure for it. According to Hesse (2010), cognitive behavior therapy and mentalization-based psychotherapy are two treatment services available for patients. Hesse (2010) also stated that many therapists seem to reject patients with ASPD, but it goes both ways since some patients believe that their personality is in no need of change. At times, there might be no way to help patients and it’s definitely heartbreaking to see those individuals suffer. Furthermore, behaviors of both patients and their immediate family members may change because they know that treatments will not be helpful for an individual with the disorder. If a person with ASPD does seek treatment, it is very important for a therapist to pinpoint the disorder type, and the therapist can do this by doing physical exams and psychological evaluations.
People who have ASPD may also have or develop other disorders. These disorders include “attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, borderline personality disorder, and impulse control disorders such as gambling or sexual disorders” (Smith, 2018). Since “no medications have been approved by the U.S Food and Drug Administration to treat ASPD” (Smith, 2018), patients should seek to get therapy or take mood stabilizers and/or antidepressants to help control their emotions. When seeking for treatment, it will all depend on the person’s situation, and his/her willingness to participate, as well as the severity of symptoms that arise. Since there is no cure, it may be discouraging for them, but the least that we can do is keep a positive mindset and environment for them.
Overall, antisocial personality disorder is an illness that many people in society are having a hard time dealing with. People who suffer from this disorder and don’t get treatment or help that they need, pose a risk to their surroundings and environment. Based off of their characteristics, people with ASPD have a hard time fulfilling the responsibilities related to school, family, and work. I believe that everyone should keep aware of the surroundings within their community because ASPD is linked with criminal behavior, and at times it may be unclear whether someone that who has ASPD will do something dangerous or act upon themselves. Although there is no cure for ASPD, I definitely encourage those who suffer from the disorder to seek help and get some sort of treatment.
Family members and loved ones of those with ASPD should also remember that their own health and safety is a priority. With that being said, family members should consider taking classes and/or have a meeting with mental health professionals to learn more about the disorder and learn how to cope with all the emotions, and most importantly set appropriate boundaries with a loved one whom suffers from ASPD. To my understanding, ASPD is a very serious mental health illness that people have a hard time dealing with. As individuals of society the least that we can do for these people who suffer from ASPD is facilitate them, ask them if they are seeking for help, and most significantly guide them in the right direction.
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