Antisocial Personality


Antisocial Personality Essay, Research Paper

The Antisocial Personality is (APD) is a serious disorder that affects many

males and cause a great threat to families, friends, and even complete

strangers. Most personality disorders may cause an inconvenience to a

person▓s family and friends, but usually harm themselves more than others.

Antisocial Personality Disorder contrasts from other personality disorders

because the defining trait is a predatory attitude toward other people (Smith,

1999). ⌠They have a chronic indifference to and violation of the rights of

one▓s fellow human beings.■ (Alterman; Cacciola; McDermott;

Mulholland; Newman; & Rutherford, 2000). A common tendency of those with APD

is criminal actions. These actions can range from stealing of everyday items to

rate to murder. It is obvious that APD is a serious disorder with serious

consequences. Criminologists need to have an understanding of APD as evidenced

in the male offender. Antisocial Personality Disorder affects less than one

percent of females and about three percent of males and usually occurs before

age 15 (Smith, 1999). Most of these men are involved in some sort of criminal

behavior. One heartwrenching characteristic of men with this disorder is that

they show no remorse for their victims or anyone involved. Interpersonally,

those with APD are gradoise, arrogant, callous, superficial, and manipulative (Alterman

et al. 2000). Affectively, those with APD are short-tempered, unable to form

strong emotional bonds with others, lacking empathy, guilt, or remorse (Smith

1999). Behaviorally, those with APD are irresponsive, impulsive, and prone to

violate social and legal norms and expectations (Smith 1999). DSM III gives a

list of criteria for the diagnosis of APD. These five points are as follows: 1.

⌠A history of illegal or socially disapproved activity beginning before

age 15 and continuing into adulthood.■ 2. ⌠Failure to show constancy

and responsibility in work, sexual relationships, parenthood, or financial

obligations.■ 3. ⌠Irritability and aggressiveness■ 4.

⌠Reckless and impulsive behavior■ 5. ⌠Disregard for the

truth■ (Smith, 1999) Males with this disorder are also known to lack

certain responsibilities and obligations which lead them to do things such as

walk out on jobs, wives, children, and creditors (Fukuhara; Kato; & Yoshino,

2000). The sad truth about this disorder is that ⌠by puberty these men

have already begun a career of antisocial behavior in the form of truancy,

delinquency, theft, vandalism, lying, drug abuse, casual sex, running away from

home, chronic misbehavior in school. As adults they lead to prostitution,

pimping, drug selling, or other crimes.■ (Alterman et al. 2000). Although

many men may show traits of APD, they have to show specific characteristics in

order to be diagnosed with the disorder. These specific characteristics include,

⌠a pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of

others occurring since age 15, must be at least 18 years old, and evidence of

conduct disorder with onset before age15.■ (Smith, 1999). Criminologists

must be sure to look at these traits when dealing with men with antisocial

personality, and most certainly before letting them back out in the world

because of their tendency to have no regret and inability to learn from past

experiences. One form of Antisocial Personality Disorder is the common

sociopath. The sociopathic personality is the unsocialized personality. It

affects mostly young men, but some young women. These people are never

adequately socialized during childhood and adolescence (Damasio, 2000). People

with this form of disorder have reasonably normal temperaments but are known to

be aggressive or fearless. They also ⌠posses impulse peculiarities or

habit patterns that are traceable to deviant learning.■ (Damasio, 2000).

They are stimulus seekers and pose the greatest problem for parents as children

(Damasio, 2000). This disorder is enhanced somewhat from incompetent or

indifferent parents. Some other common characteristics of the common sociopath,

being the largest genus of antisocial personalities, are a weak and unelaborated

conscience, a lack of shame for normal things, a weak future perspective, a

disinterest in long term goals, and a pride in rule breaking (Smith, 1999).

Along with the category of sociopaths, there are several forms of sociopaths.

These forms consist of the Alienated Sociopath, the Aggressive Sociopath, and

the Dyssocial Sociopath. The Alienated Sociopath has an undeveloped ability to

love or to affiliate with others (Damasio, 2000). The Aggressive Sociopath is

usually a muscular and aggressive male who enjoys hurting, frightening, and

tyrannizing others. This type of sociopath get a feeling of power and

importance. Many men with this type of Sociopathic Personality tend to be the

rapists and muggers in the world. They show strong gratification from dominance

and control over victims (Smith, 1999). The Dyssocial Sociopath tends to be

normal both psychologically and in their temperament. This group usually has an

allegiance and identification with a subculture. Some examples would be an

offspring of the Mafia, gypsies, ghetto guerrilla, or members of a political

underground movement or revolutionary terrorist (Damasio, 2000). One other form

of Antisocial Personality is the Psychopathic Personality. These personalities

show traits of ⌠guiltlessness, superficial charm, egocentricity,

incapacity for love, an absence of shame or remorse, a lack of psychological

insight, bouts of insecurity, emotional shallowness, and an inability to learn

from past experience.■ (Alterman et al. 2000). A psychopath can be passive

or aggressive. The passive types tend to be parasitic or exploitative of others.

They have frequent problems with the law but usually manage to get out of

serious trouble and punishment. The aggressive type tend to be the more

dangerous type that commit major crimes. They are the sexually sadistic, who

have a need for constant stimulation. It appears that sexual arousal is the

motivating factor in their crimes. (Smith, 1999) All of these personalities

within the Antisocial Disorder tend to show criminal characteristics. Although

not all criminals are Antisocial, a majority of Antisocial Personalities are

criminals. Unlike most ⌠normal■ criminals, antisocial personalities

rarely engage in planning. Instead, they tend to operate in an aimless,

thrill-seeking fashion, traveling from town to town with no goal in mind (Alterman

et al. 2000). Also, unlike most other criminals, psychopaths show no loyalty to

groups, codes, or principles (Fukuhara et al. 2000). Psychopaths seem to

naturally slip into the role of criminals. Their readiness to take advantage of

any situation that arises, combined with their lack of the conscience, creates a

good formula for crime (Smith, 1999). About 20 percent of male and female

inmates are psychopaths. Psychopaths are also responsible for more than 50

percent of the serious crimes committed. Forty-four percent of the offenders who

killed law enforcement officers on duty were psychopaths (Smith, 1999). Both

male and female psychopaths are much more likely to be violent and aggressive

then are other individuals. In fact, Psychopaths commit more than twice as many

violent and aggressive acts, both in and out of prison, as do other criminals

(Smith, 1999). Sex violence is also a main focus for many antisocial

personalities. Rape is the most prominent example of the callous, selfish use of

violence by psychopaths. Possibly one-half of the repeat or serial rapists are

psychopaths (Damasio, 2000). These rapists are manipulative, egocentric,

untruthful, lack a conscience, and lack a capacity for love (Smith, 1999). They

also get sexual excitement by inflicting psychological pressure on his victims.

Sexual violence is a very serious and very common in the antisocial

personalities because of the gratification that results. Treatment of an

individual with APD could be very difficult because one cannot promise how often

an antisocial person might lie, con, cheat, steal, or harass because he sees

more advantage in doing so. Cognitive therapy can have a positive impact on the

life course of an antisocial person. Improvements in prosocial behavior have

obvious benefits for the stability of the patient and the well-being of his

significant other, and society (Alterman et al. 2000). However, most antisocial

personalities do not actively seek therapy. For those patients who do seek

therapy a sign of progress would be seen in the development of the dysphoric

effect, or depression (Smith, 1999). This is uncomfortable for the patient so

the therapist should become supportive and empathetic, helping the patient to

understand that the discomfort is a sign of progress. Although there are some

medications that can be helpful for specific symptoms, medications have not been

proven to be helpful in the treatment of APD. (Smith,1999). There are very few

programs that meet the requirements needed for successful treatment of APD.

Those that do exist are expensive, take years to complete, and tend to have

fairly good results. The Antisocial Personality Disorder is a disorder with

several variations and types, but with the same harmful effects. People, mostly

men, with this disorder almost always tend to act in criminal ways, beginning

early in life (age 15) all the way through adulthood and even sometimes into the

senior years. Criminologists need to be well aware of what they are dealing with

when a criminal with APD enters the scene. Since Antisocial personalities are

good liars, con artists, charmers, and tricksters, they could easily con their

way out of court and be turned loose on the streets yet again. They have no

sympathy for their victims and show no remorse for their actions, so there is no

stopping them from committing crimes time and time again. To keep this world

safe from rapists, murderers, robbers, and other crimes consistently occurring,

criminologists must be aware of the capabilities of those with APD and keep them

Alterman, A.I., Cacciola, J.S., McDermott, P.A., Mulholland, E.M., &

Newman, J.P., Rutherford, M.J. (2000). Generality of psychopathy

checklist–Revised factors over prisoners and substance-dependent patients.

Journal of Consulting & Clinical Psychology, 68, 181-186. Damasio, A.R.

(2000). A neural basis for sociopathy. Arch Gen Psychiatry, 57, 118-119.

Fukuhara, T., Kato, M., & Yoshino, A. (2000) Premorbid risk factors for

alcohol dependence in antisocial personality disorder. Alcoholism: Clinical and

Experimental Research, 24, 35-38. Smith, R.J. (1999). Psychopathic behavior and

issues of treatment. New Ideas in Psychology, 17, 165-176.

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