Good Example Of Antisocial Personality Disorder Research Paper

Type of paper: Research Paper

Topic: Disorders, Psychology, Personality, Treatment, Nursing, Behaviour, Community, Control

Pages: 4

Words: 1100

Published: 2021/02/11


Personality disorders are enduring patterns of internal experiences and behaviours that differs significantly from the expectations of an individual’s culture. The disorders are manifested in cognition, affective responses, interpersonal and impulse control. They can cause detrimental problems and significant impairment of functioning in the affected individuals.
These disorders usually start at the onset of adulthood and may persist for a lifetime. For an individual to be diagnosed with the condition, his or her behavioural patterns should contribute to significant impairment in interpersonal, intrapersonal, societal, and work situations. Diagnosis is done when the affected individual attains the age of twenty.
Specifically, antisocial personality disorder refers to a chronic mental disorder in which the afflicted individual have distorted way of thinking, relating to other people, and impaired perception of situations. This discussion will be limited to the causes, symptoms, comorbidity, and treatment of antisocial personality disorder.


Various studies have attributed antisocial personality disorder to genetic factors, environmental factors, or an interaction between the two. In a study to determine the extent to which hereditary factors contribute to antisocial personality disorders, Crowe (785) recruited 46 participants born to female offenders with the condition. The offspring of the female offenders were adopted in infancy. The control group also consisted of 46 individuals. From the analysis of the interviews carried out, it was found out that the offspring born to female offenders had a higher rate of antisocial personality. On the other hand, the control group exhibited lower rates of antisocial disorder. For the control group, it was determined that the disorder was due to the unfavourable conditions experienced in infancy. These findings indicate that both genetic and environmental factors play significant roles in the development of antisocial personality disorder.
In another study, Cadoret et al. (923) carried out a research to determine genetic and environmental interaction in antisocial disorder. One group of participants for the study consisted of adopted offspring of biological parents with the disorder. These offspring were separated from their parents at birth. On the other hand, the control group consisted of individuals from biological background that was negative for the disorder. From multiple regression analysis carried out, it was found out that biological backgrounds in the disorder predicted higher rates of antisocial personality disorders. On the other hand adverse adoptive homes (those with with marital problems, divorce, separation, anxiety conditions, or substance dependence and abuse) predicted higher rates of antisocial behaviours in adulthood. In this case both genetic and environmental factors interacted and hence the predicted higher rates of antisocial behaviours.


Some of the symptoms exhibited by an individual with the disorder include total disregard to the rule of law, blaming others for their own life problems, lack of guilt, inability to learn from past mistakes, inability to control anger, challenges maintaining long-term relationships, and inappropriate behaviours which are against the norms.
In addition, the individuals with the disorder show persistent disregard and infringement on the rights of others. This characteristic develops at the age of 15 and is indicated by irresponsibility, recklessness, unresponsiveness to other people’s welfare, dishonesty, excessive response to a stimuli and aggressiveness (Hare, Stephen, and Timothy 392).


Comorbidity refers to the presence of two or more conditions in an individual. Some of the conditions that coexist with antisocial personality disorder include anxiety, depressive, impulse control, substance-related, somatization, attention deficit hyperactivity, borderline personality, histrionic, and narcissistic disorders.

Methods of Treatment

Some of the common treatment approaches to the disorder include pharmacological treatments, behaviour therapy, therapeutic community approaches, cognitive approaches, and individual and group psychotherapy. These are discussed in details below.

Pharmacological treatments

Even though there are no specific medications that are approved by US Food and Drug Association for the treatment of the disorder, psychiatric medications have been found to help in alleviating the symptoms associated with the disorder. Some of the common medications used to treat patients with personality disorders include antipsychotics, antidepressants, stimulants, lithium, benzodiazepines, and anti-seizures (Lee 10). These treatments usually take time to be effective and thus patient cooperation is vital.

Behaviour therapy

Behaviour therapy refers to the modification of behaviours (Lee 12). This approach employs learning theories and experimental psychology to treat the disorders. In this framework, the patient is believed to have acquired the disorder as a result of learning or improper conditioning in a various environmental situations and not arising from mental processes. Consequently, behaviour therapists assesses the condition by looking at the individual’s current personal and environmental agents that may be contributing to the antisocial disorder.
In behavioural therapy, classical and operant conditioning are the theoretical approaches to the modification of the behaviour. These theories applies the principles of learning to the alter behaviours. For instance in classical conditioning, an experimental stimuli can be introduced to an individual so as to remove the unwanted behaviours. It is also possible to learn to stop any unnecessary response by removal of an unconditioned stimulus in this type of learning.
On the other hand, operant conditioning is concerned with voluntary behaviours. It explains that modification of behaviour can occur through positive and negative reinforcement which strengthens behaviour and also through punishment which reduces the chances of the behaviour occurring.

Cognitive approaches

In cognitive approach, the patient is asked about his or her irrational thoughts. Thereafter, the individual is given new cognitions. Cognitive approach assumes that the disorders are as a result of thoughts or feelings and thus tries to change behaviour by changing the impaired thinking. The most common cognitive technique is therapeutic modelling. This refers to application of observational learning theory to various behavioural disorders. This model has been used to reduce anxiety and manage anger. The treatment is done by exposing the patient to a competent model in a particular behaviour and it is assumed that the patient will show the model’s behaviour in future (Lee 13).

Individual and group psychotherapy

This treatment approach traces its roots to the work of Sigmund Freud and specifically psychoanalysis principles. This method approaches the affected individual empathetically and helps them to get to know the happenings in their inner world as it pertains to their background and personal development (Lee 12). It also emphasizes the significance of both the personality structure as well as the development and asserts that the disorder is an outward expression of an inner personality disturbance.

Therapeutic community approaches

This approach involves active involvement of patients in their own treatment. It also gives the patient more responsibility in daily running of hospital community. It assumes that provision of opportunity for patient’s active involvement will lead to open expression of an individual’s feelings and an in-depth understanding of interpersonal relationships. Therapeutic community approaches helps in reducing anxiety, depression, and also in increasing self-esteem and independence.

Works cited

Cadoret, Remi J., et al. "Genetic-environmental interaction in the genesis of aggressivity and conduct disorders." Archives of General Psychiatry 52.11 (1995): 916-924.
Crowe, Raymond R. "An adoption study of antisocial personality." Archives of general psychiatry 31.6 (1974): 785-791.
Hare, Robert D., Stephen D. Hart, and Timothy J. Harpur. "Psychopathy and the DSM-IV criteria for antisocial personality disorder." Journal of abnormal psychology 100.3 (1991): 391.
Lee, Jessica H. "The treatment of psychopathic and antisocial personality disorders: A review." Clinical Decision Making Support Unit, Broadmoor Hospital, Berkshire (1999).

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