Antisocial personality disorder

A pattern of irresponsible behavior that lacks morals and ethics and brings the person into conflict with society.

Alternative Names

Psychopathic personality; Sociopathic personality; Personality disorder - antisocial

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

The cause of this disorder is unknown, but biological or genetic factors may play a role. The incidence of antisocial personality is higher in people who have an antisocial biological parent. Although the diagnosis is limited to those over 18 years of age, there is usually a history of similar behaviors before age 15, such as repetitive lying, truancy, delinquency, and substance abuse . This disorder tends to occur more often in men and in people whose predominant role model had antisocial features.

Signs and tests

  • History of antisocial behavior starting by age 15 (i.e., history of conduct disorder)
  • Psychological evaluation indicates antisocial personality
  • Treatment

    Effective treatment of antisocial behavior and personality is limited. Group psychotherapy can be helpful. If the person can develop a sense of trust, individual psychotherapy or cognitive behavioral therapy can also be beneficial.

    Expectations (prognosis)

    The outcome is likely to be poor.


  • Frequently imprisoned for unlawful behavior
  • Alcoholism
  • Drug abuse
  • Calling your health care provider

  • Call for an appointment with your health care provider or a mental health professional if an adult exhibits symptoms of antisocial personality disorder; or if a child exhibits behaviors that indicate a risk for developing this disorder.
  • Prevention

    Specific prevention is unknown. Awareness of risk, such as a parent with antisocial personality, can make early detection and intervention possible.

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