Antisocial Personality Disorder: An Overview

Topics: Antisocial personality disorder, Mental disorder, Borderline personality disorder Pages: 9 (2418 words) Published: April 19, 2014

Antisocial Personality Disorder: An Overview

In this paper, my aim was to give a general overview of antisocial personality disorder so that I could broaden my understanding of this mental illness. I used textbook material, information from the DSM-5, and several outside sources to try to create a complete picture of the main points of the disorder, such as the causes development, symptoms, prognosis, prevalence, and treatment options for this disorder. I also looked into possible sociocultural influences on the development of the disorder, and consider whether or not it is a legitimate disorder that should be acknowledged by the mental health community. I conclude this work with a personal critique of what I have taken away from my research.

Antisocial Personality Disorder: An Overview
In order to be successful in any society, it is important to be able to abide by the rules that the society puts forth. While there are a lot of cultural differences about what is normal and what is not, one could venture to pick out some universal moral guidelines—harming someone, stealing, conning, and lying are generally rejected. Breaking the law and disregarding the safety of oneself or others would also fall on the societal “don’t” list. While most people find it fairly easy to live within the bounds that society sets (or at least feel guilty when they don’t), people with an antisocial personality disorder find it significantly more difficult. This disorder, also commonly known as psychopathy or sociopathy, is rather difficult to deal with—and rather fascinating to study. In my experience, there is a serious social stigma attached to antisocial personality disorder. When I think of this disorder, or of the term “psychopath,” there is a learned connection that immediately goes to danger and fear. In the media and Hollywood, people with this disorder are connected with many of the most heinous crimes—serial murders, rape, highly successful scam operations. Although the traits associated with antisocial personality disorder make sense with these types of crimes, it is not nearly as common as television and movies make it seem. This general misconception is one reason that I was interested in studying this disorder. The second reason that I was so interested in studying this disorder was a thought that I had one day while discussing the high levels of criminal behavior within the population of people with antisocial personality disorder. Although they often participate in criminal activity, there is something wrong with their mind that does not allow them to process their actions the same way I am able to process my actions. The thought struck me that if I could lie to get ahead and I did not feel an ounce of guilt (because I had no capacity for guilt), even though I knew it was wrong, would I do it? I know that there is a still a choice—but I think that the disorder these people have necessitates a shift in our perspective of their actions. It was this thought that really led me to want to have a much more full understanding of this disorder. Historical and Diagnostic Features

The causes of antisocial personality disorder, like many other personality disorders, are difficult to pinpoint. One reason for this is because many people with these disorders do not seek help until they have had the problem for years, and they still may not recognize that anything is wrong—often, it is the distress of other people in their lives that eventually causes them to seek help. Because of this delay in treatment, it is not easy to study people with personality disorders from the onset of their problem (Durand & Barlow, 2013). However, there is definitely some sort of biological connection. The American Psychiatric Press Review of Psychology: Volume 11 states, “There is little doubt that there exists a genetic predisposition to antisocial personality disorder, as indicated by a variety of adoption,...
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