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Antisocial Personality Disorder

What is antisocial personality disorder?

A person with antisocial personality disorder regularly ignores & violates the rights of others. This is reflected especially in their illegal behavior, lying and cheating for personal benefits or pleasure etc. Other common characteristics of people affected by this disorder include aggressive behavior, irritability, lack of advance planning and impulsiveness. The people having this order are known for their irresponsible behavior at home and workplace. They try to provide rational justifications for their false actions and show indifference in their day-to-day work. You can observe such characteristics in them right from age of 15, and early diagnosis should be made to treat them properly.
Psychopath is one of the severe forms of antisocial personality disorder. Such people are typically identified by behavioral traits such as lack of compassion and fear. It is not easy to distinguish psychopaths from other human beings at first sight. Most of them are smooth spoken and have a charming appearance while some are very egoistical and assertive. They can adapt themselves easily in to any situations and face problems with courage. They can manipulate others easily with their words and do not hesitate to lie for their own sake.

How widespread is Antisocial Personality Disorder?

As per research it has been proved that around 3% of male population has Antisocial Personality Disorder. But it is less common among women and in United States it is estimated that around 1% of women population can have this disorder.
The initial symptoms of the disorder are present right in childhood and can be observed easily during their adolescent stages. Some examples of such type of behavior include stealing things from others, skipping school often, and setting fire to others’ properties, torturing animals and running away from home.

Causes for Antisocial personality disorder:

As per scientists there are various factors which lead to this personality disorder.

Neurobiology and Genetics:

The behavioral traits such as lack of fear, empathy and morality and impulsive behavior etc are closely associated with certain brain abnormalities. The regions affected include the temporal lobe, prefrontal cortex, especially the hippocampus, amygdale, and superior temporal gyrus which are regions of brain associated with characteristics such as compassion, morality and learning. The experts have also found certain genes which enhance the risk of antisocial behavior, including variant of a gene called MAO-A, which is associated with anomalies of prefrontal cortex. Apparently, this gene variant impacts their behavior only if patients have undergone painful and traumatic experiences during their childhood. Most of the psychopaths belong to families in which children are ignored and not shown enough love and affection. They are prone to harsh punishment, sexual abuse and various other forms of ill treatment.

Cognitive and Emotional Symptoms:

Psychopaths have some sort of hunting instinct with help of which they can easily identify victims who are helpless and vulnerable. Their emotional coldness does not prevent them from perceiving the feelings of others. Normal people can easily understand the feelings of others as the emotions will activate similar neural circuitry in their brain while perceiving emotions such as sorrow or happiness. Similarly Psychopaths can also realize other’s feelings but this knowledge is combines with their own feelings which lack fear, regret and sympathy.

What are the consequences?

The Anti-social personality disorder is defined in such a way that patients suffering from this disorder will not follow the social rules and regulations. Accordingly, almost everyone commits major or minor offenses in their life and lot of people are caught and convicted for their crimes. But it is not so easy to separate personality from other factors. Many of the people who commit such crimes come from dysfunctional families or have addiction problem. They have become as criminals as they were not taken care of properly during their early childhood stages and might have had traumatic experiences during their childhood.

There are some psychopaths who are also successful in their life and have become very good professional such as poker players or investment bankers and have been appreciated by others for their valuable achievements. They can take any type of risk easily as they lack fear and sympathy. There are some people with anti-social disorder but they somehow abide by the law as they have learnt to respect the rules and regulations of the society.


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Anti-Social Personality Disorder & Psychopaths – Psychopathy - Antisocial Personality Disorder - Sociopathy - Sociopath in a Nutshell – Diagnosis, Causes & Therapy -

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