Antisocial Personality Disorder Symptoms, Diagnosis
Antisocial personality disorder symptoms show up as a consistent and inflexible pattern of behaviors; behaviors that are often criminal in nature. The signs of antisocial personality disorder appear before age 15 and involve a flagrant disregard for the rights of others. These individuals (famous people with antisocial personality disorder) use exploitation, lying, and even charm to degrade and violate others.
Typical Antisocial Personality Disorder Symptoms
Antisocial personality disorder symptoms include a number of distorted thought patterns and attitudes that lead to the antisocial behaviors. Symptoms include:
- Repeated pattern of law breaking (stealing, vandalism, other)
- Habitual lying and deceitfulness
- Poor impulse control
- Disregard for personal safety and that of others
- Complete lack of remorse
- Lack of concern over consequences
- Cruelty to animals or people
- Bullying of others
- Irresponsible with finances, work, family
- Inability (or lack of desire to) change behavior based on past negative consequences
Other signs of antisocial personality disorder that may show up in an individual with the disorder include:
- Ability to behave in a charming, witty way
- Ability to flatter and manipulate emotions of others
- Issues with substance abuse (alcohol, drugs)
- Haughtiness or arrogance
While these symptoms of antisocial personality disorder appear in childhood, they typically continue to worsen over time.
Diagnosis of Antisocial Personality Disorder
First, to receive a diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder, the individual must be at least 18 years old and have had conduct disorder during childhood (before age 15). A psychiatrist, or other trained mental health professional, makes the diagnosis based on long-term symptoms and both physical and mental health histories.
No specific test exists that can accurately assess whether a person has the disorder. The practitioner will conduct a comprehensive psychiatric evaluation to determine severity of symptoms and learn whether any co-occurring conditions exist. Common co-occurring conditions include:
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
Once the physician makes a diagnosis, he or she can begin to develop a treatment strategy, especially tailored for the individual.
Last Updated: 20 July 2016
Reviewed by Harry Croft, MD