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Anti-Social Personality Essay, Research Paper

In a world full of fears, perhaps the worst fear a human being should have is that to be afraid of his fellow man. The human that should be most feared is the one that has Anti-Social Personality Disorder or in laymen’s terms the psychopath. The psychopath is probably the most deviant mind that exists and treatment is not very successful because there is not a cure or drug to control it.

The sociopath is a combination of other mental illnesses that are incurred in childhood as a result of heredity, trauma and the lack of emotional development. The lack of moral or emotional development, which gives a sociopath a lack of understanding for other people?s feelings that enables them to be deceitful without feeling bad about anything, they do.

The sociopath behavior problems that start as a child have links to heredity, a family with a pre-disposition to perform crimes, alcoholic parents that do crimes, irresponsible behavior that persists and parents that do not discipline. The child that will eventually be a sociopath exhibits certain feeling inside that they are inadequate shamed and because of that they are teased and made fun of. The child characteristics of a future sociopath consist of being incapable of following the rules. The youngster will skip school, bully, steal, torment animals, run away from home and the child is likely to develop Attention Deficit \Hyperactivity Disorder or AD/HD. (Nevid, 2000)

At an earlier age than their peer group the child will smoke, drink, do drugs, and become sexually active. The diagnoses of Anti-Social Personality Disorder is not used for people under the age of 18. (B.B., 2000) The Psychopath is defined in the dictionary as a person suffering from, especially a severe mental disorder with aggressive antisocial behavior which is a nice way of saying a really bad and mean person. There are many characteristics of a sociopath and each sociopath has their own special traits. A sociopath gets great gratification in the act of hurting someone for absolutely no reason.

The behavior of a sociopath is so close to normal it is extremely hard to diagnose. A sociopath is a person that acts against society and their sole purpose it seems is to act against the laws of society. The sociopath will in most cases become violent and abuse drugs and alcohol to facilitate the violent behavior. The violence in many cases is the result of sub-conscious decisions that might lead to murdering or assaulting someone for no reason.

When a sociopath is attacking someone they will inflict more pain if the victim fights back. The lack of moral development lets the person feel no guilt or pain for what they did and quite possibly feel great about their actions. Sociopaths have little self-regard for themselves and pay little attention to their own personal safety when picking fights. Quite often they will be outsized and get hurt. Some sociopaths are non-violent and stay out of prison by doing small crimes like swindling and insurance fraud. (Long, 11/00) It is possible that a sociopath will come from a normal home but there are more that do not.

A sociopath has the opposite morals of society and by doing things like beating up people that are stronger than them they feel like they did something positive. A psychopath is very reactive and will blow their cool because of little things and no doubt assault the person they are reacting to.

There is a possibility that saratonin a chemical that is linked to behavior has something to do with the disorder but is not the major cause. The type 2 male sociopath drinks heavily no matter what, has a history of frequent fights and arrests, they are impulsive risk takers, curious, excitable, quick tempered, optimistic and independent. (Millon, 1981) Characteristic List: be glib or superficial, have a grandiose self image, be deceitful or manipulative, lack of remorse, lack of empathy, be impulsive, be irresponsible, be easily angered or frustrated, have serious problems as a child or teenager, shows callous unconcern from other’s feelings, disregard social norms or the rights of other people, be unable to maintain enduring relationships, be incapable of experiencing guilt, blame others or rationalize antisocial behavior, be constantly irritable

The antisocial tends to have short lasting relationships if they are capable of having a relationship. The psychopath is incapable of having long lasting, close, warm and responsible relationships with people. The adult will habitually lie and cannot hold a job for long. The sociopath can seem charming in superficial social interactions but repeatedly hurt, anger, exploit, cheat, rob, harass or injure them. (Nevid, 2000) The actions a psychopath no matter what laws they break, whoever they hurt, whatever trouble they have to deal with they do not feel bad.

When a sociopath is punished they have no feeling of regret because no matter how cruel or selfish the behavior is they feel it is justified. People like us give the sociopath little sympathy because they hurt people so bad but their illness is recognized as somewhat of an explanation of why they do it. The idea of the disorder is no excuse for their behavior that results from it. The sociopath is very intelligent and knows how to manipulate people into thinking they are normal and that is when they work their magic. Beneath the mask of sanity a sociopath is full of tension, hostility, irritability, rage, emptiness and sadness at the core of the sociopath personality. When they hurt a person a sociopath might think, ?he had it coming? or ?I’m watching out for number one.?

Those sociopaths with children neglect them and do not keep them safe. As a spouse the sociopath can be glib, superficial, manipulative, dishonest, abusive and unfaithful. The sociopath tends to borrow, squander and not repay the money they owe. Many sociopaths never settle down for any period of time, they will travel without aim looking for jobs or whatever they need and get it by doing anything. A sociopath may look tough and resilient but is very fragile and can erupt very easily.

The diagnoses of a sociopath or psychopath are very difficult and have to meet several criteria in order to get that diagnoses. Diagnoses as explained in DSM IV, a pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others, occurring since the age of fifteen, as indicated by at least three of the following; 1. Failure to conform to the social norms for lawful behavior, as indicated by repeatedly performing illegal acts that are grounds for arrest 2. Deceitfulness, as indicated by repeatedly lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure 3. Impulsivity failure to plan ahead 4. Irritability and aggressive, as indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults 5. Reckless disregard for safety of self or others 6. Consistent irresponsibility as indicated by failure to keep a job or honor financial obligations 7. Lack of remorse, as indicated by indifference or rationalizations for having hurt, mistreated or stolen from others. The patient must be older than 18 to be diagnosed.

Antisocial behavior doesn’t occur only during the course of schizophrenia or manic episodes of bipolar illness Anti-Social Personality Disorder is found in as much as 75% of the prison population. Alcohol is a contributing cause or consequence of being antisocial. People that are both antisocial and alcoholic are prone to violent behavior. Not every antisocial becomes a criminal. An antisocial person’s disorder peaks between the ages of 24 and 44 and drops off sharply after that. (Long, 11/00)

After the age of 30 the sociopath fights less and performs less crime but the illness can persist into the ages of between 60 and 70 but after 30 are less likely to be in trouble with the law. During sociopaths thirties will continue to have problems such as unstable relationships, substance abuse, impulsiveness, poor temper control and failure to honor financial obligations. In our population 3% men have Anti-Social Personality Disorder and 1% women in the overall population have it. The ratio of men to women is 4 to 1. (Millon, 1981)

Identical twins are several times more likely to have a personality disorder compared to fraternal twins. A genetic link strongest in anti-social disorder has a pattern of irresponsible behavior 5 times more common amongst close relatives of anti-social men than in the general population. Some people with a genetic link to alcoholism have a genetic link to anti-social personality disorder too. Male relatives of people with Somatization Disordered have a higher incidence of anti-social personality disorder (somatization – begins in the teens to twenties and consists of chronic physical problems and complaints). Sociopaths with a history of substance abuse and criminal behavior fit Manchausen Syndrome (Manchausen is the extreme type of factitious disorder which symptoms are lying, falsification and pathological lying).

Sociopaths also have a tendency to have a non-psychiatric condition that is called malingering which is the production of grossly exaggerated symptoms for a specific illness or problem for the purpose of winning legal action or things like committing insurance fraud or basically anything they have to lie to get. The sociopath is a bundle of problems that could come from any part of life and they are very hard to handle.

If a person is diagnosed with Anti-Social Personality Disorder is very hard to treat and there is no cure for their behavior. Because the disorder remits in the thirties, it tends to be less obvious. Those that are forced into psychotherapy cannot tolerate the intimacy of the required therapy. The therapist has to focus on enhancing strength, channel the sensation of seeking actions on people into more positive socially responsible behaviors and to teach practical ways in dealing with every day frustration. Medications are not recommended in the treatment of sociopath but drugs can diminish the violent episodes.

People with Anti-Social Personality Disorder can also have Attention Deficit\Hyperactivity Disorder and stimulants are used to treatment such as Ritalin. There are no long-term results to study of this approach of using stimulants but they should not be prescribed unless the person is specifically diagnosed with AD/HD and has not responded to other medication. The use of drugs cannot be abused and should be closely monitored.

Those that are convicted of crimes are usually incarcerated. Some sociopaths may be able to instead of a jail term choose a residential facility that has counseling but there is a high drop out rate in those facilities. Another alternative to jail for the adolescents with delinquent behavior and are in trouble with the law are wilderness programs that are designed to be like Outward Bound. The success such wilderness camps are not quite clear.

The following case study was taken from Time Life Books:

Ted Bundy is one of the worst serial killers in history. His antisocial personality and psychotic character made him feared across the country. After all was said and done Ted left behind a trail of bloody slayings that included the deaths of 36 young women and spanned through four states.

Theodore Robert Bundy was born November 24th, 1946 in Burlington, Vermont to a 21-year-old mother. Ted’s mom never told him much about his father except that he was in the armed forces and they had only dated a few times. Ted was left in foster care for two months while his mom and parents decided what to do with him. In 1946 an illegitimate child was extremely looked down upon by society. Once they decided to keep Ted his grandparents told everyone he was their adopted son. Ted knew who his biological mom was, but outsiders were told that she was his sister.

Using the DSM IV Ted Bundy can be diagnosed as having Antisocial Personality Disorder. One criterion used to determine this is showing behavior that could be grounds for arrest, but usually are not. Examples of these criteria are met when Bundy would peek into the women’s rooms and masturbate. This is trespassing and invasion of privacy. While you can be arrested for this, people are usually not.

Another part of the DSM IV criteria is lying and conning. Ted was constantly doing this. Every time he picked up a victim he was guilty of it. He lied to women in order to pick them up using his fake splints and casts or when he needed help loading his sailboat. Picking up women also fits the other criteria of charming. Those who knew Ted stated the he were indeed charming. You would have to charming to some extent in order to pick up over thirty women.

Another criteria Ted met were, ?consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honor financial obligations.” Bundy’s odd jobs and reports from employers hold this to be true. The final criteria Bundy meets for antisocial personality disorder is, ?Lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another.” Bundy most clearly sums this up when he is quoted as saying, ?What?s one less person on the face of the earth anyway?”

The diagnoses of a sociopath is extremely difficult because they have so many mental problems to contend with the complete diagnoses might not occur. The possibility of being diagnosed with something similar to being a sociopath is quite great and this point should be stressed with relationship between Borderline and Anti-Social Disorder. The inability to diagnose and treat properly leads me to believe that there is not a clear solution as to how the general population should react and treat these severely troubled people.

This is a disorder that blinds the emotions and actions the sociopath, which in no way is their fault for having it. Although the disorder is not the given sociopaths fault there is no real place for a sociopath in our society. It could even be possible that in the future sociopaths will have their own civilizations where they can interact and live with one another without hurting the less mentally ill people of the world.



American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition. APA, Washington, DC 2000.

Authors of Time Life Books, (1992). True Crime Serial Killers.

Millon, Theodore. Disorders of Personality, DSMIII Axis II. Wiley Interscience, NY 1981.

Nevid, Jeffrey S. Abnormal Psychology in a Changing World. Prentice Hall, NJ 2000.

B. B. Anatomy of Antisocial Personality. Science News, February 26, 2000. http://www.findarticles.com.

Long, M.D., Phillip W. Antisocial Personality Disorder. Internet Mental Health. http://www.mentalhealth.com, November 22, 2000.


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