What is antisocial personality disorder? It is known as “A psychiatric condition in which a person manipulates, exploits or violates the rights of others … this behavior is often criminal. One of the biggest signs of Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD) is a pervasive disregard for right and wrong and for society’s norms.” (Source: Dr. J. Clive Spiegel M.D. in a Health Guru Video – https://www.youtube.com)
The symptoms of ASPD tend to be more obvious and identifiable in the late teens to early twenties. A person cannot be diagnosed with ASPD until he or she is at least 18 years of age and has usually displayed symptoms of conduct disorder, for example, stealing or violence, by the age of 15 years old. Conduct Disorder may be diagnosed “when a child seriously misbehaves with aggressive or non-aggressive behaviors against people, animals or property that may be characterized as belligerent, destructive, threatening, physically cruel, deceitful, disobedient, or dishonest. This may include stealing, intentional injury, and forced sexual activity.” (Source: http://behavenet.com/conduct-disorder) ASPD includes both people categorized as sociopaths and people that fit the criteria of being psychopaths.
Complications of this very difficult to treat personality disorder include:
- Drug abuse
- Impulse Control Problems – for example excessive gambling and/or drinking
- Rarely realize they need help or seek treatment on their own
- Often only begin therapy when mandated to do so by a court
- Incarceration in Prison or a Psychiatric Facility
Traits of Antisocial Personality Disorder include:
- Constant disregard for social norms along with the violation of legal rights of others often dating back into their teenage years, such as Stealing, Pathological Lying and Deceit of others for personal gain, Aggression
- An almost impossible time respecting or connecting with other people
- Often engaging in criminal activity that is often the result of frequent contact and problems with the law, police, and/or justice system
- Impulsive and not able to make plans for the future
- A quick and aggressive temper resulting in frequent fights with and assaults of others
- On-going failure to honor obligation or promises
- Intimidation of others
- Blatant disregard for the rights and feelings of others
- Do not have capacity to care about pain or problems they cause others
- Inability to impossibility of engaging in real intimacy with another person
- Very adept at displaying superficial charm
- Flattery of others that is manipulative
- Manipulative in all areas of personality, relating and life
- Violent and aggressive behavior is typical
- Do not feel any guilt for their actions
- Do not have any empathy for others
- Have no capacity or feeling of remorse
Both the Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM), often referred to as the “bible of psychiatry,” and the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD) indicate that whenever the diagnosis of Antisocial Personality Disorder (DSM) or Dissocial Personality Disorder (ICD) is indicated, or being considered, both the DSM and the ICD (though their criteria are not exactly the same) “include what is referred to as psychopathy or sociopathy.” (Source: Wikipedia)
While distinctions are often made between sociopathy and psychopathy when a person is diagnosed with Antisocial Personality Disorder many professionals and researchers along with book authors consider these terms to mean essentially the same set of traits and therefore to be interchangeable names or classifications for that are the same as ASPD.
Antisocial Personality Disorder is associated with both sociopathy and psychopathy. The main difference among them according to Dr. Robert Hare, has all to do with environmental factors, such as upbringing – nurture -n that play a role in the development of ASPD. Whereas what is now understood to be the genesis of psychopathy is that is an innate condition stemming from the nature and not nurture part of the debate. Psychopaths to an even greater extent than sociopaths, both sharing a diagnosis of ASPD, absolutely lack empathy and conscience and are often delusional.
“Of all the psychological disorders, ASPD, is the one most commonly linked to psychopathy.” – Clarence T. Rivers in his book, Personality Disorders & mental illnesses: The Truth About Psychopaths, Sociopaths, and Narcissists.
People with ASPD lack or have a very poor sense of morality and affection. They have a long history of aggressive (often) criminal behavior that for many goes back into their childhood years.
“Psychopathy is commonly defined as a personality disorder personality characterized partly by antisocial behavior, a diminished capacity for remorse, and poor behavior control [impulsivity]”. Psychopathic traits are assessed using various measurement tools, including Canadian researcher Robert D. Hare’s Psychopathy Checklist, Revised (PCL-R). “Psychopathy” is not the official title of any diagnosis in the DSM or ICD.” (Source: Wikipedia)
Robert Hare, in his book, Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us by Robert D. Hare
, writes, “Psychopaths are social predators who charm, manipulate, and ruthlessly plow their way through life, leaving a broad trail of broken hearts, shattered expectations, and empty wallets. Completely lacking in conscience and in feelings for others, they selfishly take what they want and do as they please, violating social norms and expectations without the slightest sense of guilt or regret.”
These people are “self-centered, callous, and remorseless … profoundly lacking in empathy and the ability to form warm emotional relationships with others … function without he restraints of conscience.” – Robert Hare from his book, Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us by Robert D. Hare
When it comes to relationships, sociopaths, are more often than not social predators. However they do tend to somewhat seem normal superficially socially or relationally even though they are not. Whereas psychopaths exclusively value only relationships that will yield them the benefit(s) they want. They hurt friends and family without so much as even realizing it. They are not able to maintain average or “normal” relationships. There is an eerie awkwardness and lack of feeling that gives them away in this area.
Many psychopaths or sociopaths – people with ASPD – are criminals. Many are murderers. However, there are many more sociopaths that remain out of prison and often do not even get in trouble with the law. Loosely referred to by some as being “higher functioning sociopaths”.
“I am a Sociopath – Remorse is alien to me. I have a penchant for deceit. I am free of entangling and irrational emotions. I am strategic and canny, intelligent and confident, but I also struggle to react appropriately to other people’s confusing and emotion-driven social cues. I am not a murderer or a criminal. I have never skulled behind prison walls. I am an accomplished attorney and law professor. Only 20% of male or female prison inmates are sociopaths … most sociopaths are not incarcerated. Some people have called my eye contact my ‘predator stare’. As a child I didn’t like to be touched and I rejected affection. The only physical contact I sought entailed violence. When I was beating up a girl in grade-school I didn’t know that I was doing something bad. It didn’t even occur to me that it would hurt her or that she might not like it.” (Source: Psychology Today Magazine, May/June 2013 by M.E. Thomas)
From the editor of the above issue, Kaja Perina, “Psychopaths are the Olympians of impression management.”
What ASPD really is for those who have a family member, boss, (ex) friend, lover, (ex) partner, or neighbor with it is a living nightmare that leaves in its wake physical and/or psychological and financial ruin for so many.
To Read My Article at ajmahari.ca: please click on the title of it: How To Recognize a Person With ASPD – Sociopath or Psychopath