Key Takeaways

  • Antisocial personality disorder is a mental health condition that affects thoughts, feelings, and behavior. People who live with this condition are typically deceitful, reckless, and are unable to demonstrate remorse.
  • Though the name may suggest it, people with antisocial personality disorder aren’t necessarily reclusive. Rather, they show little regard for social norms and often act impulsively and aggressively.
  • More research is needed to better understand antisocial personality disorder so that people living with this condition can learn to manage their symptoms and receive support.
Like other less common mental health conditions, antisocial personality disorder is often misunderstood by both medical professionals and the general public. Despite what its name suggests, it involves more than a desire to keep to oneself or a lack of interest in social activities.  People living with antisocial personality disorder often exhibit impulsive, aggressive, and manipulative behaviors that cause harm to themselves and others. While it shares some features with borderline personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder is a distinct and separate disorder that requires a specific treatment plan. 

What is antisocial personality disorder?

Some hallmarks of antisocial personality disorder include interpersonal problems and behaviors including exploitation of others, impulsivity, and irresponsibility. This condition is often accompanied by a substance use disorder and is more frequently diagnosed in men.  People living with antisocial personality disorder struggle to feel concerned about the needs and feelings of others. They tend to show little to no remorse or feelings of guilt for the way their behaviors impact others. This often leads them to behave aggressively, act without thinking about consequences, and take advantage of others.  Despite being widely studied, the mindset and behaviors associated with antisocial personality disorder make it difficult to treat. And because people who live with the condition typically see no issue with their behavior, they don’t often seek treatment. Instead, they might be exposed to mental healthcare following an issue with law enforcement or when seeking treatment for a commonly co-occurring condition like depression or ADHD.

Symptoms of antisocial personality disorder

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V), a person with antisocial personality disorder will exhibit “a pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others, since the age of 15.” This might include:
  • Not following societal rules, often doing things that could get them arrested.
  • Being dishonest, lying, using fake names, or tricking others for fun or personal gain.
  • Acting on the spur of the moment without thinking ahead.
  • Getting easily irritated or aggressive, often getting into fights.
  • Being careless about their own safety or the safety of others.
  • Being unreliable, not sticking to jobs, or not paying back money they owe.
  • Not feeling bad after hurting or taking advantage of someone.
Antisocial personality disorder involves a pattern of behavior, often over many years. Everyone has times when they stretch the truth, flout the rules, or act on a whim in a way that hurts others. And most of us feel a sense of regret when we do or say things that cause us or others harm. Exhibiting any of these behaviors on occasion does not mean that you have antisocial personality disorder.   

What to expect when being evaluated by a provider for antisocial personality disorder 

Self-diagnosing mental health concerns is becoming more common these days. This is in part due to the availability of online tests for antisocial personality disorder and other mental health conditions. While it can be tempting to self-diagnose, especially if you’re nervous about the idea of going to therapy, the best path to a positive outcome is to seek a clinical evaluation from a mental health professional.  If you or someone you care about is showing signs of antisocial personality disorder, one of the most important steps in healing is obtaining an accurate diagnosis from a therapist, psychiatrist, or other mental health provider. This will likely take several sessions during which your provider will get to know you, your history, and your presenting concerns. They’ll ask you about your family, your upbringing, and when your symptoms first began. They’ll also ask for some details about when your symptoms are most severe and when they appear to be less intense.  All of these questions will help your provider uncover your strengths and challenges and gain a better understanding of your unique treatment needs. While there isn’t a single test that is used to diagnose antisocial personality disorder, you may be assessed to rule out other conditions or identify possible co-occurring disorders. As you explore treatment options for antisocial personality disorder or other mental health concerns, remember that your diagnosis is not a label that defines you. It’s a tool that your therapist will use to understand your experience and create a personalized treatment plan. Having an accurate diagnosis helps you get the most effective treatment possible. 

How Rula can help you find a provider who treats antisocial personality disorder

Antisocial personality disorder can be difficult to treat. But some research shows that with a combination of talk therapy and medications to treat co-occurring concerns (like depression, bipolar, or substance use disorders), improvement is possible. Therapy can also help address the impulsivity, interpersonal problems, and aggression that often accompany the disorder.  Whether you need therapy, medication management, or both to improve your mental health, Rula can help guide you through the process. Our service is designed to quickly and seamlessly match you with a provider who takes your insurance and offers the specialized care you deserve.  When you’re ready, you can match with a provider in under 30 seconds, and from there, start seeing a therapist in as little as two days.

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