Antisocial Personality Disorder/Psychopathy

Psychologists and other mental health professionals are commonly required to diagnose mental disorders. One of the most difficult diagnoses is antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) or psychopathy.

The diagnosis can be made by meeting certain criteria, such as a history of conduct disorder before age 15, callousness and lack of empathy, poor behavioral controls including trouble with anger management, childhood delinquency; persistent lying; promiscuous sexual behavior; consistent irresponsibility such as repeated failure to fulfill work or financial obligations; lack of remorse for harm done others. ASPD is one of the toughest illnesses to treat because people diagnosed with it do not want treatment and often don’t believe they have a problem in the first place.

In order to diagnose antisocial personality disorder (APD), the individual must be over 18 years of age and these behavior patterns should be present at least 15 years of age. Criticism of antisocial personality disorder, lack of repetitiveness, irritability, constant irresponsibility, and regret. They are often involved in forensic cases due to their violations of the law.

Is psychopathy dangerous?

Psychopathy is a mental disorder, so the answer to this question really depends on each individual person. For example, some people believe it’s advantageous for business leadership positions because they show less empathy than the average person who may come across as softer or more compassionate. However, others claim that psychopaths are drawn towards criminal behavior that puts them in danger including jail time. Studies indicate that 1% of men and .02% of women have psychopathy – but this 1% accounts for approximately 15-25% of the prison population – which means 1 out 100 men has committed a crime enough to be legitimately considered a psychopath.


Antisocial personality disorder, also called psychopathy or sociopathy, is characterized by lack of empathy, arrogance or exaggerated self-praise, speech acrobatics, and an impressive but superficial affect. In fact, not all people with antisocial personality disorder are selfish, insensitive, and parasitic enough to diagnose psychopathy.

The most important criterion in the diagnosis of psychopathy is antisocial violence and the tendency to re-commit crime. There are no strict rules in the world of psychiatry and psychology in the differentiation of psychopathy and APD.

Many psychopaths may look impressive, natural, and pleasant at the first meeting. They use others emotionally to achieve their goals. It is completely normal for them to live the moment without thinking about the past or the future. They are able to do anything in line with their current interests.

The development of conscience in psychopathy is insufficient. Although he defends high moral standards with word acrobatics, there is no conscience in his behavior. However, their intellectual development is quite normal.

For psychopaths who are lawful and violate the consequences without thinking about it, the principle is not just to deserve what they want, but to just take it. They can erase everything in a pen for instant pleasure.

Alcohol and substance use/dependence is high in patients with APD. Suicide attempts and suicides resulting in death are also above normal in antisocial personalities.


antisocial personality disorder/psychopathy 1

According to the DSM-5, features of APD include:

  • Violation of the physical or emotional rights of others
  • Lack of stability in job and home life
  • Irritability and aggression
  • Lack of remorse
  • Consistent irresponsibility
  • Recklessness, impulsivity
  • Deceitfulness
  • A childhood diagnosis (or symptoms consistent with) conduct disorder

Antisocial personality is confirmed by a psychological evaluation. Other disorders should be ruled out first, as this is a serious diagnosis.

The alcohol and drug abuse common among people with antisocial personality disorder can exacerbate symptoms of the disorder. When substance abuse and APD coexist, treatment is more complicated for both.


An antisocial personality disorder is one of the most difficult personality disorders to treat. Individuals rarely seek treatment on their own and may initiate therapy only when mandated to do so by a court. 

There is not a certain treatment for antisocial personality disorder. Also recently, the antipsychotic medication clozapine has shown promising results in improving symptoms among men with an antisocial personality disorder. 

Last Updated on December 15, 2023 by Lucas Berg


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