The stigma associated with ASPD

A woman's eyes reflected in her mirror as they droveAntisocial personality disorder (ASPD) is one of the personality disorders of group B, which usually include emotional, impulsive, or dramatic thoughts and actions. This group of personality disorders is also important because it includes Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and narcissistic personality disorder, in addition to ASPD. These issues, and personality disorders in general, are among the most stigmatized mental health conditions.

In addition, many people use the terms psychopath and sociopath alternatively with antisocial personality. One common assumption is that all people with ASPD are incapable of emotion and emotion and will eventually commit violent crimes and harm others. It is true that many people living with ASPD usually do not feel remorse or guilt. They may also lack empathy, struggle to understand other people's feelings, or often experience legal issues because of their tendency for impulsive and often dangerous or illegal actions.

But sociopathy is not a mental health diagnosis and not every person with ASPD will harm other people or commit violent acts. It is possible for people with ASPD to avoid actions that could harm others, especially when they have the support of a compassionate therapist. In therapy, people can develop interpersonal skills along with coping techniques for impulsivity and aggression. These tools can benefit people who want to improve their relationships and avoid illegal or dangerous activities and behaviors that harm others.

It is possible for people with ASPD to avoid actions that could harm others, especially when they have the support of a compassionate therapist.

How common is ASPD?

Estimated prevalence of ASPD may vary depending on the study and the criteria used. According to Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), between about 0.2 and 3.3% of the population have ASPD over a given twelve month period. This condition is only diagnosed in people over 18 years of age.

More than 90% of people diagnosed with ASPD also live with another mental health problem. Substance abuse is the most common co-occurring condition. Research shows that ASPD occurs far more frequently in men who are diagnosed with alcohol use disorder. Higher prevalence is also observed in prison facilities, as well as in population samples from poorer areas. Other common issues are anxiety and depression.

Although ASPD is much less common in women than in men, some research has shown that when ASPD develops in women, the condition can become more severe. Women living with ASPD are even more likely to abuse substances than men living with ASPD. However, research also shows that antisocial behavior can last longer in men. Men with ASPD also have an increased risk of premature death.

Aggressive and violent behavior in childhood, such as that observed with behavioral disorders, may be an indicator of ASPD. Not all children with behavioral disorders will continue to develop ASPD, but a history of behavioral disorder is one of the diagnostic criteria for ASPD. These symptoms must appear before the age of 15. Parental neglect, abuse or inconsistency and lack of stability from primary caregivers can increase the risk of developing a child with ASPD.

Sensual vs Antisocial

It is not uncommon to hear antisocial use referring to people who prefer to be alone and avoid spending a lot of time with others. But "social" is a more precise way of identifying this lack of interest in social interaction. Asocial may describe a general lack of interest in society and engagement with others, but does not indicate that a person is accommodating of any bad will or negative intent towards others.

Antipolitics, on the other hand, goes beyond a general confrontation or avoidance of society and community. People who meet the criteria for diagnosing ASPD usually feel hostile towards other people. Even those who do not have active hostile feelings toward others may be less concerned about the safety, general well-being, and emotions of most other people. It is also not uncommon for people with antisocial characteristics to have significant disregard for their own safety.

It is important to note that these feelings do not necessarily translate into violent tendencies. Studies of people in prison reveal high rates of ASPD, but this situation occurs in a range and not all people living with the condition are violent or dangerous. Research has also observed that some people who exhibit antisocial characteristics may have developed these behaviors to survive and protect themselves when they grow up in difficult conditions.

Many people use psychotherapy as a synonym for ASPD, but this use is not accurate. Psychopathy can be considered a serious form of ASPD, rather than the more typical presentation of the condition. Most people who meet criteria for psychopathy according to the Psychopathic Checklist (PCL – R) also meet criteria for ASPD. But only about 10% of people diagnosed with ASPD also meet criteria for psychopathy.

What is Antisocial Personality Disorder?

At the core of the ASPD is the continued lack of respect for the rights of others, which generally includes impulsive, irresponsible and reckless behavior. People can take action without considering the possible consequences and experiencing little or no remorse for the damage caused by their behavior. Theft, manipulation and other fraud are common and people living with ASPD also tend to rationalize or minimize their actions.

Antisocial behavior can include violent or criminal acts, but people living with ASPD are not always aggressive or violent. Similarly, while many people with ASPD lack empathy, this is not always the case. People living with ASPD often struggle to develop or maintain meaningful relationships and can cause emotional damage to their partners. but it is still possible for people with ASPD to feel love and empathy, often for some people like children, co-workers or close family members.

Abuse, neglect or lack of caregivers can increase the risk for ASPD when there are other factors, particularly early onset behavioral disorders. In people with ASPD, early childhood maltreatment can reinforce the belief that no one else will look at them, so they must do everything they can to care for and meet their needs. This belief usually happens with ASPD.

In recent years, few people with ASPD have written about their experiences living with the condition. This may have had little effect on the stigma surrounding the condition, but many people still struggle to accept that ASPD does not always mean that a person is violent or "bad". The stigma associated with personality disorders, especially ASPD, is even more difficult for people who want to improve to get the help they need. Negative perceptions from carers and teachers can start early, often when children first show symptoms of behavioral disorder.

The stigma associated with personality disorders, especially ASPD, can make it even more difficult for people who want to improve to get the help they need.A study of 202 kindergarten teachers found that teachers were more likely to have a harsh response to aggressive children. But negative perceptions or writing children as troublemakers or offenders can reinforce ideas like "I'm bad," "I'll never find anything" or "nobody cares what happens to me" from early childhood. Some experts believe that this may increase the chances of aggressive behavior and the violation of others will continue and worsen.

Treatment for antisocial personality disorder

Not everyone thinks that ASPD is a mental health problem. Research has shown that many people believe that people with this condition are:

  • Violent
  • Bad
  • Dangerous
  • Unable to heal

Having a mental health problem does not release a person responsible for their actions, but it is an important factor in understanding why some people behave as they do. When the stigma perpetuates the idea of ​​a group of people as evil, positive change becomes even more difficult.

Special features associated with ASPD, such as self-esteem, a tendency to externalize problems, contempt for power, and general hostility, also make it less likely that people with ASPD will find help, complicate treatment, and reduce their likelihood. improvement.

When people with ASPD enter treatment, they are more likely to receive help for co-occurring illness or because a legal authority or family member has guided the treatment. Among those that help, many drop out of treatment early. Negative attitudes of therapists or ineffective treatment methods can contribute to this.

It is important for people with ASPD to work with therapists who provide compassionate support and are willing to try a range of approaches to find the most effective treatment. In many cases, people with antisocial characteristics can learn skills to cope with their situation and avoid acting in ways that negatively affect others. When people with dual diagnosis seek treatment, it is important for therapists to recognize the ways in which ASPD can contribute to and worsen other mental health symptoms.

A key factor in successful treatment for ASPD is the recognition of the individual problem. People living with ASPD who cannot accept or accept their actions are harmful or have a role in the harm they caused may not be able to improve. One approach to treatment that has shown promise is treatment with cognitive therapy. This approach helps people explore the state of their mind, including feelings, desires and feelings for others. Once they have a better understanding of their thoughts, they can use this understanding to face the impulses and control them.

Some research suggests shape therapy, an approach that helps people work to identify and address behavior problems and develop more effective ways of relating, may also be useful for people with ASPD. It is effective for other personality disorders, including BPD and narcissistic personality, and some studies indicate that people are less likely to abandon this type of treatment than other approaches.

Research has shown that treatment can help improve many of the behaviors associated with ASPD when a person is willing to work towards change. It is important for future research to continue exploring the most useful types of treatment for ASPD to increase the chances of people with improved treatment status. Successful treatment can not only improve the well-being and quality of life for people with ASPD, it can also have a positive impact on people in their lives.

If you or your loved one is struggling with ASPD results, you know that there is help. Start your search for a trained, compassionate consultant at GoodTherapy.

Bibliographical references:

  1. American Psychiatric Society. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition. Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Association.
  2. Antisocial personality disorder. (2017, November 20). Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved from
  3. Antisocial personality disorder. (2018, May 25). NHS. Retrieved from
  4. Arbeau, K. A., & Coplan, R.J. (2007). Kindergarten teachers' beliefs and responses to hypothetical children, social and antisocial. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 53(2), 291-318. doi: 10.1353 / mpq.2007.0007
  5. Brians, P. (2016, May 17). Unconscious. Retrieved from
  6. Brill, A. (2017, June 16). Life with antisocial personality disorder (ASPD). Retrieved from
  7. British Psychological Society. (2010). Antisocial Personality Disorder: Treatment, Management and Prevention. Retrieved from
  8. Hesse, M. (2010). What to do with antisocial personality disorder in the new version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V)? BMC Medicine, 8, 66. doi: 10.1186 / 1741-7015-8-66
  9. Mayo Clinic staff. (2017, August 4). Antisocial personality disorder. Retrieved from
  10. Sheehan, L., Nieweglowski, K., & Corrigan, P. (2016, January 16). The stigma of personality disorders. Current Psychiatry Reports, 18, 11. doi: 10.1007 / s11920-015-0654-1

© Copyright 2019 All rights reserved.

The previous article was written only by the author named above. Any opinions and opinions are not necessarily expressed by Questions or concerns about the previous article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.