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Alternative NamesPsychopathic personality; Sociopathic personality; Personality disorder - antisocial
Definition Return to top
Antisocial personality disorder is a psychiatric condition in which a person manipulates, exploits, or violates the rights of others. This behavior is often criminal.
Causes Return to top
Personality disorders are long-term (chronic) patterns of behaviors and relationships that interfere with a person's life over many years.
The cause of antisocial personality disorder is unknown. Genetic factors and child abuse are believed to contribute to the development of this condition. People with an antisocial or alcoholic parent are at increased risk. Far more men than women are affected. The condition is common in prison populations.
Fire-setting and cruelty to animals during childhood are linked to the development of antisocial personality.
Symptoms Return to top
A person with antisocial personality disorder:
Exams and Tests Return to top
To receive a diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder, a person must have shown behaviors of conduct disorder during childhood.
People with antisocial personality disorder may have the following signs:
Treatment Return to top
Antisocial personality disorder is one of the most difficult personality disorders to treat. People with this condition rarely seek treatment on their own. They may only start therapy when required to by a court.
The effectiveness of treatment for antisocial personality disorder is not known.
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
Symptoms tend to peak during the late teenage years and early 20's. They may improve on their own by a person's 40's.
Possible Complications Return to top
Complications can include imprisonment and drug abuse.
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Call for an appointment with a mental health professional if:
References Return to top
Moore Dp, Jefferson JW. Antisocial personality disorder. In: Moore DP, Jefferson JW, eds. Handbook of Medical Psychiatry. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2004: chap 137.Update Date: 10/17/2008 Updated by: Linda Vorvick, MD, Seattle Site Coordinator, Lecturer, Pathophysiology, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine; and Timothy A. Rogge, MD, private practice in Psychiatry, Kirkland, Washington. Also reviewed byDavid Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.