People often say “Sorry I’m antisocial” but most people don’t truly understand what it means. Being antisocial doesn’t mean wanting to be alone and not spend too much time around people, that’s being asocial which is completely different from being antisocial.
Antisocial personality disorder, is a mental health condition where a person consistently shows no regard for right and wrong and ignores the rights and feelings of others. A person with antisocial personality disorder tends to antagonize, manipulate or treat others harshly or with callous indifference. They usually show no guilt or remorse for their behavior.
Antisocial personality disorder signs and symptoms may include:
- Disregard for right and wrong
- Persistent lying or deceit to exploit others
- Being callous, cynical and disrespectful of others
- Using charm to manipulate others for personal gain
- Arrogance, a sense of superiority and being extremely opinionated
- Recurring problems with the law, including criminal behavior
- Repeatedly violating the rights of others through intimidation and dishonesty
- Hostility, significant irritability, agitation, aggression or violence
- Lack of empathy for others and lack of remorse about harming others
- Unnecessary risk-taking or dangerous behavior with no regard for the safety of self or others
- Poor or abusive relationships
- Failure to consider the negative consequences of behavior or learn from them
Adults with antisocial personality disorder usually show symptoms of conduct disorder before the age of 15. Signs and symptoms of conduct disorder include serious, persistent behavior problems, such as:
- Aggression toward people and animals
- Destruction of property
- Serious violation of rules
Although antisocial personality disorder is considered lifelong, in some people, certain symptoms — particularly destructive and criminal behavior — may decrease over time.
The exact cause of antisocial personality disorder isn’t known, but:
- Genes may make you vulnerable to developing antisocial personality disorder — and life situations may trigger its development
- Changes in the way the brain functions may have resulted during brain development
Certain factors seem to increase the risk of developing antisocial personality disorder, such as:
- Diagnosis of childhood conduct disorder
- Family history of antisocial personality disorder or other personality disorders or mental illness
- Being subjected to abuse or neglect during childhood
- Unstable, violent or chaotic family life during childhood
Men are at greater risk of having antisocial personality disorder than women.
People with antisocial personality disorder are unlikely to believe they need help. However, they may seek help from their health care provider because of other symptoms such as depression, anxiety or angry outbursts or for treatment of substance abuse.
Though antisocial personality disorder is difficult to treat, for some people, treatment and close follow-up over the long term may be beneficial. It’s important to have medical and mental health professionals with experience in treating antisocial personality disorder.Treatment depends on each person’s particular situation, their willingness to participate in treatment and the severity of symptoms. The more severe the symptoms, the less likely for there to be a positive outcome in treatment.