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Antisocial Personality Disorder Treatment

Antisocial Personality Disorder Treatment at Promises

The hallmark of antisocial personality disorder is that the affected individual has no regard for the feelings of others and consistently demonstrates a severe lack of empathy. People with antisocial personality disorder treat others harshly, manipulate people for their own benefit and act indifferently toward others. They lack a moral compass and their mental disorder prevents them from feeling guilt or remorse for their actions.

It can be heartbreaking for families trying to cope with having a loved one with this personality disorder. Research shows that males diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder as children often grow into adults with the disorder, which only gets more serious over time if not treated. Residential treatment for antisocial personality disorder may be necessary.

What Is Antisocial Personality Disorder?

In the past, this disorder was referred to as sociopathic personality disorder or sociopathy. Antisocial personality disorder is defined by the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual on Mental Disorders as “a pervasive pattern of disregard for, and violation of, the rights of others that begins in childhood or early adolescence and continues into adulthood.”

Antisocial personality disorder is diagnosed when a person’s pattern of antisocial behavior has continued since age 15, although only adults 18 years or older can be diagnosed with this disorder.

How Is Antisocial Personality Disorder Treated?

People with antisocial personality disorder are not likely to seek treatment on their own because they do not believe they need help or that they have a problem. More often, residential mental health treatment is the result of an intervention on the part of family or the law.

Antisocial personality disorder treatment usually involves intense psychotherapy. Behavior and cognitive therapies help clients learn to establish and maintain relationships and make important life decisions. At Promises, our dedicated professionals help clients by reinforcing appropriate behaviors and helping them make connections between their actions and feelings. Each client receives a treatment plan tailored specifically to their needs that includes individual and group therapy as well as a selection of traditional and alternative approaches. Co-occurring substance abuse and other behavioral health issues are addressed.

Symptoms of Antisocial Personality Disorder

Among the many symptoms of antisocial personality disorder, these are the most common:

  • Breaking the law – repeatedly committing acts that are against the law or are grounds for arrest
  • Child abuse or neglect – having no regard for the welfare of children
  • Irresponsibility – repeated failure to maintain consistent behavior at work or honor financial obligations
  • Deceitfulness – a pattern of repeated lying, use of aliases, or conning others for either pleasure or personal gain
  • Failure to learn from consequences – despite mounting negative consequences, no lessons are learned
  • Impulsivity – acting on impulse, or failure to plan ahead
  • Irritability and aggressiveness – repeatedly getting into physical fights or assaults
  • Lack of empathy, guilt or remorse – shows no guilt or remorse, or is indifferent to or rationalizes hurting, mistreating or stealing from others
  • Manipulation – using wit or charm to manipulate others
  • Disregard of safety – reckless disregard for safety of self and others
  • Substance abuse – may develop problems with drugs and/or alcohol in an attempt to relieve tension, irritability and boredom
  • Aggression toward people and/or animals, sometimes harming them for no reason but sport
  • Destruction of property and other people’s belongings without remorse
  • Chronic deceitfulness
  • Stealing, from small inconsequential items to money to grand theft

Symptoms tend to peak during the late teenage years and early 20s. There is evidence that symptoms sometimes improve on their own by the time a person is in his or her 40s.

Causes of Antisocial Personality Disorder

Although the exact causes of antisocial personality disorder are not known, some of these theories of origin have been presented:

An abnormality in the development of the nervous system – One theory is that abnormalities in the development of the nervous system may be responsible for antisocial personality disorder. Signs that may suggest abnormal nervous system development include learning difficulties, hyperactivity or persistent bedwetting.

Smoking during pregnancy – One study showed that if mothers smoked during pregnancy, their offspring were at risk of developing antisocial personality disorder. It is thought that lowered oxygen levels from smoking could result in subtle brain injury to the fetus.

Abnormal brain function – Brain imaging studies have looked at abnormal brain function as one of the causes of antisocial personality disorder. Impulsive or poorly controlled behavior may stem from an abnormality in serotonin levels or in the temporal lobes and prefrontal cortex regions of the brain.

Greater sensory input required – Another theory is that people with antisocial personality disorder require more sensory output for normal brain function. Chronic low arousal in a person may lead them to seek out potentially risky or dangerous situations to raise their arousal level or satisfy craving for excitement.

Environmental causes of antisocial personality disorder are also possible, including:

Poor social and home environment – Parents of troubled children frequently show a high level of antisocial behavior.

Erratic or inappropriate discipline – Antisocial parents often lack the motivation to properly watch over their children, or are uninvolved or unavailable to monitor and discipline their children appropriately.

Adopted children – If an adopted or foster child is deprived of significant emotional bond, the child could have an impaired ability to form trusting and close relationships. Researchers say this may be why some adopted children are prone to developing antisocial personality disorder.

Growing up in a disturbed home – With lack of consistent discipline, a child growing up in a disturbed home may have little regard for rules and regulations. Lacking good role models, the child may use aggression to solve disputes, fail to develop empathy and wind up emotionally injured.

Antisocial children choose similar children as playmates – Aggressive children are often rejected by their peers, leading them to choose to be with other children who also behave aggressively. Such relationships encourage and reward aggression and other antisocial behavior.

Child abuse – Studies have shown that children who were abused are more likely than others to display antisocial behavior. One theory is that abuse becomes a learned behavior that parents pass on to their children.

Traumatic early events – Traumatic events at an early age can disrupt normal development of the central nervous system. This process continues through adolescence.

Are People With Antisocial Personality Disorder Violent?

Research on serious criminals often points to early trauma that led them to live outside the norms of society, and they are among those in the criminal justice system diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder. But not every person with this disorder is destined for a life of crime or violence. In fact, research shows that people with mental illness are more likely to hurt themselves than others.

Looking for Antisocial Personality Disorder Treatment?

The compassionate, specially trained clinicians at Promises can help you or a loved one address the mental health issues that are hijacking your life. Call us today to learn which of our residential treatment programs are best for you: 844-876-5568.

To learn more about Antisocial Personality Disorder Treatment, call 844-876-5568

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