Antisocial Personality Disorder

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Incidence is approximately 1 in 28 people
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Antisocial Personality Disorder


Antisocial personality disorder (abbreviated to ASPD, and formerly known as psychopathic or sociopathic personality disorder) is characterised by a callous disregard for the rights of, and a lack of empathy for, others. Those with ASPD are prone to exploiting others, particularly through deceit and dishonesty, for pleasure or material gain. Their actions tend to be impulsive and irresponsible, and their personality hostile and aggressive.

Typically, patients fail to consider the potential implications of their actions towards others, and rarely experience guilt or remorse. Rather, they will attempt, even feebly, to justify their behaviours, or direct the blame at others. Patients are generally prone to alcohol and drug abuse problems, financial difficulties, infidelity and conflicts with authority figures and the law.

The development of ASPD in a person is generally attributed to childhood neglect or abuse. Technically, ASPD cannot be diagnosed prior to adulthood, although certain behavioural markers have been identified in some children who later develop the disorder. These include, among others, bedwetting, obsession with fire (pyromania) and violent or cruel behaviour towards animals.

ASPD is diagnosed more often in males than females, with three per cent of males having some degree of the disorder, compared with one per cent of females.


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