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Antisocial Personality Disorder

Alternate Names

  • psychopathic personality disorder
  • sociopathic personality disorder

Definition

Personality is a distinct set of traits, behaviors, beliefs, and patterns. People who have any one of several personality disorder have a hard time dealing with other people, in different ways.

What is going on in the body?

Experts are not sure what is going on in the body that may be related to this condition. Further study is needed.

Risks

What are the causes and risks of the condition?

Experts do not know the specific causes of APD. The disorder occurs much more often in people who have a parent with APD. So, experts think that biological and genetic factors play a key role. APD is four times more common in men than in women.
Experts also believe that frequent exposure to criminal behavior and substance abuse contributes to the development of APD. Children raised in a chaotic, neglectful, harsh, and abusive home are also at higher risk.

Prevention

What can be done to prevent the condition?

Because experts are not sure what causes APD, it is not known if there is anything that can be done to prevent the condition. A loving and structured home environment during childhood may help to reduce the likelihood of APD in adulthood.

Diagnosed

How is the condition diagnosed?

A healthcare professional makes the diagnosis based on the symptoms and behaviors of the person, supplemented by the results of psychological tests.

Long Term Effects

What are the long-term effects of the condition?

People who have APD usually have long-term problems in relationships with others. A repeated pattern of job and legal problems is often seen.

Other Risks

What are the risks to others?

Because people who have APD are often violent and do not respect others, anyone who comes into contact with them is potentially at risk. Care should be taken to maintain a safe distance.

Treatments

What are the treatments for the condition?

Psychotherapy is the primary treatment for this disorder. Medicines may also help reduce specific symptoms such as mood swings and anger, but do not replace psychotherapy.
People who have APD rarely seek treatment. Instead, family members or employers often pressure them into treatment. Treatment may even be ordered by the court.
Because the person who has APD does not understand his or her problem, effective treatment is very difficult. Behavioral approaches can, however, help the person make a connection between feelings and actions.
Many who have this disorder have not made emotional connection in a relationship. So, it is critical that they form a therapeutic relationship with the healthcare professional.

Side Effects

What are the side effects of the treatments?

Medicine side effects depend on the drug prescribed. Drugs that cause psychological and physical addiction should be used with care.

After Treatment

What happens after treatment for the condition?

Many people with APD can improve with proper care. Often, medicine is given for a long time. With therapy, people with APD may better recognize the effects of their behaviors on others and go on to live healthier, more fulfilling lives.

Monitor

How is the condition monitored?

The person should keep track of symptoms and report any that are new or worsening to the healthcare professional. He or she may need to adjust the medicine so that it works better or so there are fewer side effects.

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