During class, a student comes up to a teacher and suddenly pulls a gun to his head. He orders the teacher to strip down. Once the teacher was completely nude, the student aimed at his testicles and pulled the trigger. When everyone realized there were no bullets in the gun, the student alone laughs (Maxmen et al., 1994). People such as this student suffer of antisocial personality disorder.
Obviously, it is not simply a disorder that defines the lonely kid in the corner who has no interest in speaking with others, or the social retard that laughs when it is inappropriate. This disorder is dangerous to others because people affected from ASPD are narcissistic and fend for themselves. People of all walks of life can suffer from this disorder, which affects a significant proportion of the population. There are psychosocial and genetic factors to ASPD. The best-shot psychologists have at treating these people, is targeting these psychosocial and genetic factors.
This paper aims to investigate the general psycho aspects in ASPD Symptoms and Diagnosis Maxmen and colleagues (1994) claim that people affected by antisocial personality disorder are generally disrespectful and violate the rights of others. Liu and colleagues (2012) add that family violence is common around ASPD. Moreover, sexual relations are nothing more than self-beneficial. Their selfish sexual desires often lead to the transmission of venereal disease (Maxmen et al., 1994). Here is the DSM criteria for ASPD:
A. There is a pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others occurring since age 15, as indicated by three (or more) of the following:
1. Failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest.
2. Deceitfulness, as indicated by repeated lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure.
3. Impulsivity or failure to plan ahead.
4. Irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults.
5. Reckless disregard for safety of self or others.
6. Consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honor financial obligations.
7. Lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another.
B. The individual is at least age 18 years of age. C. There is evidence of Conduct Disorder with onset before age 15. D. The occurrence of antisocial behavior is not exclusively during the course of Schizophrenia or a manic episode. (DSM-IV, 1994) Lack of stimulation and avoidance of boredom explains common symptoms among ASPD, including why they usually have several years of poor job performance, and are forced to change jobs many times. Swann and collegues (2010) add that ASPD mixed with bipolar disorder worsens impulsive symptoms and the course of the illness often speeds up (Maxmen et al., 1994). A fascinating aspect about ASPD, is their psychopathic symptoms. Although they can display normal human emotions such as charm and love, they do not actually feel the depth of those emotions. This even includes emotions such as hate.
Some even lack consciousness otherwise known as superego lacunae. As a result, their relationships are usually narcissistic ones that generally do not tend to last long (Maxmen et al., 1994). Unfortunately, ASPD have shorter life expectancies. Many die of violent related events such as fights and murders. As previously mentioned, their sexually transmitted diseases also sometimes weigh into their shorter life expectancies. ASPD is often linked with alcoholism and depression. They suffer of a 5 % suicide rate. As such extreme low points of ASPD, some may seek treatment (Maxmen et al., 1994).
However, Perry and colleagues (2013) studied how another consistent symptom prevents many ASPD from seeking treatment. He studied immature defence mechanisms used by ASPD. Among them are omnipotence, devaluation and denial against experience of self of awareness. They create split off self-images, whereby they perceive differently than how they would be perceived by others. Indeed, they are aware of their actions, but create a different self-image to justify their actions. Their omnipotence has an important role in devaluing the opinions and perceptions of others, which strengthens their flawed image (Perry et al., 2013).
Prevalence and incidence Studies claim that ASPD affects a significant proportion of the population. The percentage is as high as 5.4 % of males and 1.2 % of women. Amongst the Psychiatric population: 5-15% of males and 1-3 % of females. ASPD is most prevalent amongst lower socioeconomic groups (Maxmen et al., 1994).
Etiology Maxmen and colleagues (1994) believe psychosocial factors are the main cause for occasional ASPD. However, consistent ASPD deal with an additional factor of genetics. Firstly, amongst sociological factors is poverty. Regardless of the high proportion of prevalence of ASPD amongst lower socioeconomic groups, poverty is not the sole cause. More importantly, the majority of poor people do not become sociopaths. Familial factors have been considered. Growing up amongst a violent family may lead to the development of ASPD in the children. Shi and colleagues (2012) add the quality of early childcare is a predictor of ASPD.
They discovered that behaviours such as motherly silent interaction or withdrawals and no greetings were indicators that provoked the development of ASPD (Maxmen et al., 1994). Basolu and colleagues (2011) reinforced the genealogical case by linking ASPD to a special kind of gene. It is synaptosomal-associate protein 25 (SNAP25) gene polymorphisms. When this gene, linked with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and personality, was tested to find links with other disorders, researchers found a connection to ASPD. This means there is a genealogical factor to ASPD (Basolu et al., 2011).
Treatment Unfortunately, before diving into the treatment, all sources burst any bubble of hope to cure ASPD since it is difficult to treat. As discussed in the symptoms, ASPD rely on the immature defence mechanisms to carry on their lifestyles. Before they receive treatment, ASPD must want to seek help, which is easier said than done since they have justified their actions most of their life. Nevertheless, many burn out due to their narcissistic life styles, and seek treatment. Psychotherapy has not usually helped.
Therapists have to deal with ASPD’s Ego Syntonic behaviour. ASPD justify their behaviour and resent authority including the therapist. Therapists’ strategies involve the “Tough Love”: A method that involves showing care but not letting the subject view himself as vulnerable for the ASPD to capitalize on the psychologist’s perceived weakness. If the patient is on trial at the same time as he is in therapy, counselling must not influence the sentence so that therapy remains constructive and not manipulative. ASPD should also reduce substance abuse, which can increase the symptoms if used (Maxmen et al., 1994).
The key treatment lies within prevention. If the condition gets detected early enough, therapist and the family can increase the chances of cure or prevention. Family counselling is rather important because they learn how to deal with their manipulated emotions from hate to guilt. Common sense and guidelines can help. Shia and colleagues (2012) add that targeting motherly behaviour in crucial areas that can reduce risk of ASPD (Maxmen et al., 1994).
ASPD is a dangerous disorder. People can be manipulated by ASPD as they can act like a normal individual. They often carry sexual diseases from their multiple sexual relations caused by their lack of stimulation. They live this life protected by their childish defence mechanisms. ASPD affect a significant part of the population: up to 5 % in males. Psychosocial and genetics factor into the etiology of the disorder. Finally, the key treatment of this difficult disorder lies in the prevention and early detection. As research of ASPD improves, treatments will be the primary focus of therapists.