Antisocial Personality Disorder – What Is It?

Have you ever heard, “Oh my god, I woke up so antisocial”, or “I feel antisocial today”, or “Introverts are antisocial”? What people mean is asocial. Antisocial are people whose behavior is detrimental to those around them. They continuously violate people’s rights without considering the consequences. They feel no remorse or guilt towards those affected by their actions. On the contrary, asocial describes people who are withdrawn or not sociable. They aren’t interested in socializing.

Pic by: Warren Wong

Antisocial in the world of psychology refers to a personality disorder called, Antisocial Personality Disorder and it is linked to sociopathy. It begins during childhood or early adolescence and extends into adulthood. This diagnosis is given to those 18 years or older with a history of behavioral problems, like, robbery and aggressiveness toward animals. But what are the symptoms?


  1. Repeated lying and manipulation
  2. Exploiting and/or conning others
  3. Indifferent towards what is right and wrong
  4. Failure to follow the law
  5. May be arrested multiple times
  6. Impulsivity, irritability, and constant agitation
  7. Violent, hostile, and aggressive behavior
  8. Lack of remorse, empathy, and compassion
  9. Difficulty maintaining relationships
  10. Disregarding the safety of others
  11. Behaving recklessly
  12. Maintaining the belief of superiority
  13. Blaming others for their problems
  14. Using intimidation or charm a tactic for manipulation
Pic by: Alessio Lin

Behavioral Characteristics

This disorder is on a spectrum meaning the severity of the symptoms varies. Some people are occasionally aggressive and reckless, while others repeatedly break the law. Therefore, there are consequences, like, ending up in prison and abusing substances. Another characteristic is impulsiveness. Their aggressive abrupt behavior cause problems in relationships, job, and residency. Many end up driving intoxicated, starting physical fights, partaking in assaults, participating in delinquency, and engaging in risky sexual behavior.

Another trait is irresponsibility. As parents they can neglect their child, put them in danger, and fail to pay child support. In extreme cases they can beat their child. They also consistently lose their jobs because of repeated absences, quitting their jobs because they see it as beneath them or they act out in anger causing their employer to fire them. Therefore, many don’t meet their financial obligations falling into debt or homelessness.

Pic by: Mitchel Lensink

In addition to this, those with this disorder blame others for their actions. Using excuses, like, “they had it coming”, “they deserved it”, or “it’s their fault”. Part of this is due to their detachment towards others. They have little to no remorse and most of their explanations for their behavior are superficial.

Cause and Treatment

The exact cause of antisocial personality disorder is unknown. It is mostly seen in males and it is believed to be influenced by environmental and genetic factors. It has been observed in children who have a parent with antisocial traits. When it comes to environmental factors, many come from a traumatic background, such as, childhood abuse and neglect. Individuals with this disorder don’t normally seek treatment. When they do it is usually ordered by a court. Their treatment is multi-disciplined.

A psychologist, psychiatrist, social worker, rehab center, and other services are used. This depends on the patient’s circumstances. Treatment can improve behavioral characteristics, but only if the person is willing to change and put in the work. Unfortunately, there aren’t any specific psychological therapies to treat this disorder, but cognitive behavioral therapy, group therapy, psychoeducation, and a mood stabilizer (medication) can help.

Feel free to also read: Schizoid Personality Disorder – What Is It? 

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