Antisocial Personality Disorder (cont.)

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What are antisocial personality disorder symptoms and signs?

To understand antisocial personality disorder (ASPD or APD), it is necessary to learn what having any personality disorder involves. As defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR, 2000), a personality disorder (PD) is a persistent pattern of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that is significantly different from what is considered normal within the person's own culture.

Professionals group personality disorders based on a commonality of symptoms.

Cluster A personality disorders are those that include symptoms of social isolation, and/or odd, eccentric behavior. These disorders include

Cluster B personality disorders are those that include symptoms of dramatic or erratic behaviors (counter-social behaviors). These personality disorders include

Cluster C personality disorders are dominated by difficulties with anxiety and inhibited behavior. These disorders are referred to as and include

Antisocial personality disorder is specifically a pervasive pattern of disregarding and violating the rights of others. Diagnostic criteria for this disorder state that this pattern must include at least three of the following specific signs and symptoms:

  • Lack of conforming to laws, as evidenced by repeatedly committing crimes
  • Repeated deceitfulness in relationships with others, such as telling lies, using false names, or conning others for profit or pleasure
  • Failure to think or plan ahead (impulsivity)
  • Tendency to irritability, anger, and aggressiveness, as shown by repeatedly assaulting others or getting into frequent physical fights
  • Disregard for personal safety or the safety of others
  • Persistent lack of taking responsibility, such as failing to establish a pattern of good work habits or keeping financial obligations
  • A lack of feeling guilty about wrong-doing

Other important characteristics of this disorder include that it is not diagnosed in children (individuals younger than 18 years of age), but the affected person must have shown symptoms of this diagnosis at least since 15 years of age. Additionally, it cannot be diagnosed if the person only shows symptoms of antisocial personality disorder at the same time they are suffering from schizophrenia or when having a manic episode. This disorder tends to occur in about 1% of women and 3% of men in the United States. Antisocial personality symptoms in women tend to include self-harm and more of the other symptoms of borderline personality disorder (BPD) than in men.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/16/2014

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