Antisocial Personality Disorder Treatment
Antisocial personality disorder treatment is very challenging. In fact, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), antisocial personality disorder is one of the most difficult of the personality disorders to treat successfully. People with antisocial personality disorder rarely seek or want treatment. They usually don’t admit to themselves or others that they have a condition that requires attention. Often, the only reason they start therapy is due to a court order.
Certain behavioral therapy techniques may have potential to help deal with the symptoms of antisocial personality disorder, such as those that reinforce appropriate behaviors and apply negative consequences to inappropriate ones. And, although no specific medications for treatment of antisocial personality disorder exist, when other mental health disorders are present, the practitioner will often treat them by prescribing medication.
Antisocial Personality Disorder Therapy
Antisocial personality disorder therapy consists of various types of psychotherapy, talk therapy, and group therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) represents one approach that holds promise. CBT uses behavior modification techniques that may help individuals with antisocial personality disorder adjust their distorted thinking patterns and related negative behaviors.
People with this disorder usually haven't had any emotionally stable relationship experiences in their lives. A committed, compassionate therapist who establishes a strong trusting therapeutic relationship might be the first person with which the client has ever experienced a positive interpersonal engagement.
Once the therapist establishes a strong one-on-one relationship with the client, group or talk therapy may provide an opportunity for the individual to talk about his emotions (or lack of emotions) with others like him. Antisocial personalities have trouble connecting feelings or emotions with behaviors and consequences. Using group and talk therapy as a strategy in treatment for antisocial personality disorder can help the individual make this connection.
Sometimes practitioners may use medications to control certain symptoms during treatment for antisocial personality disorder, such as irritability. The individual may also have some co-occurring psychological conditions that require treatment. Doctors typically avoid prescribing medications that have potential for abuse, since this population frequently has problems with substance abuse. For instance, if a patient has ADHD along with an antisocial personality, the physician may prescribe non-stimulant medication to treat the ADHD.
Statistics show that people with the disorder have higher rates of imprisonment and violent death, regardless of whether or not they receive treatment. Even so, certain negative behaviors associated with antisocial personality disorder, such as criminal activity, may decrease slightly with age.
Antisocial Personality Disorder Prognosis
Antisocial personality disorder prognosis is poor; although, symptoms tend to peak during the 20s, and, as mentioned, sometimes improve during middle age.
Last Updated: 20 July 2016
Reviewed by Harry Croft, MD