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Psychological Disorders 2023

Antisocial personality: what é, symptoms and treatment

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Antisocial personality: what é, symptoms and treatment
Antisocial personality: what é, symptoms and treatment

Antisocial personality is actually a disorder, known as antisocial personality disorder, which can also be known as sociopathy, and which is characterized by a behavior pattern of indifference, disregard and disregard for right and wrong, or violation of other people's rights or feelings.

Generally, people who have this disorder exhibit aggressive, impulsive or irresponsible behavior, manipulate or treat others with indifference or lack of sensitivity, and have great difficulty adapting to society's rules, disrespecting them and violating them. -as, without showing guilt or remorse for the behavior.

The causes of antisocial personality disorder can be hereditary, be related to changes in brain structures or even be influenced by the environment in which the person lives.Treatment of this disorder should be done by a psychiatrist and/or psychologist and usually includes psychotherapy or the use of antipsychotics or antidepressants, for example.

Main signs and symptoms

Signs and symptoms of antisocial personality disorder can vary from person to person, the main ones being:

  • Lack of empathy and sensitivity to the feelings of others, violating their rights;
  • Compulsively lying or cheating on others;
  • Using charm to manipulate others for personal gain or pleasure;
  • Show a feeling of superiority towards other people;
  • Inability to abide by the rules imposed by society;
  • Lack of ability to perceive the suffering of others;
  • Not understanding or not caring about what society considers right or wrong;
  • Behaving inappropriately without showing any kind of regret;
  • Irritability, agitation, aggression or violence;
  • Difficulty in following a life plan, constantly changing jobs or not knowing how to manage your expenses.

The first signs of antisocial personality disorder usually appear in childhood or early adolescence, when children begin to show inappropriate behaviors such as aggression towards people or animals, destroying property, cheating or stealing, breaking rules relevant and age-appropriate social media.

Is having antisocial personality disorder the same as being a psychopath?

Psychopathy is considered a more severe form of antisocial personality disorder, however, only a third of people with antisocial personality disorder are diagnosed with psychopathy.

Although it has similar characteristics with antisocial personality disorder, the psychopath is less impulsive, having a more controlled and calculated behavior, in addition to having apparently normal social relationships, being polite and able to get along well with other people, despite not creating bonds, not getting attached and being highly manipulative.

How to confirm the diagnosis

Antisocial personality disorder is difficult to diagnose, as there is great difficulty in distinguishing it from other situations that may present similar symptoms, such as schizophrenia, temporal lobe epilepsy, the presence of lesions and brain tumors, or even the use of psychoactive substances. Therefore, all these factors must be excluded before confirming the diagnosis.

The diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder is made by a psychiatrist or psychologist through the evaluation of the signs and symptoms presented and the history of behavioral changes in childhood, before the age of 15, which can be made with the help of self-reports and those of close family members and a rigorous psychological assessment.

Possible causes

The causes of this disorder are not yet fully understood, but antisocial personality disorder is thought to be hereditary, with children of people with this type of disorder at greater risk of developing it.

Antisocial personality disorder can also result from the use of cigarettes, alcohol or drugs during pregnancy, which can alter the baby's brain development, causing deficiencies in brain structures.

In addition, during the child's development, the family environment also contributes to their emotional development, and it is very important that a good relationship between mother and child is established from an early age, since separations, bad abuse and neglect can be reflected later in adulthood and can make them aggressive and increase the chances of developing antisocial personality disorder.

How the treatment is done

Treatment of antisocial personality disorder should be guided by a psychiatrist or psychologist and depends on the severity of the symptoms, and on the person's collaboration.

The treatment can be done with:

  • Psychotherapy,to help control anger, aggression or violence;
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy,to help people manage their problems, changing the way they think and behave;
  • Therapy based on mentalization,which consists of the psychologist encouraging the person to understand the way he thinks and how his mental state can affect his behavior;
  • Use of medication,such as antipsychotics or antidepressants, to treat symptoms of aggression or impulsivity, or conditions that may be associated with a personality disorder such as anxiety or depression.

Furthermore, community work programs can be a long-term treatment for people with antisocial personality disorder, as they help to understand the emotional and psychological needs of others, encourage work as part of the community, promote decision-making and teach the person to be subject to the rules, being this type of treatment indicated mainly for people in prisons.

It is important that family members of people with antisocial personality disorder also have professional help to help set boundaries and protect themselves from violence or aggression.

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