Antisocial Personality Disorder and Its Connection to Substance Abuse
Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD) is a mental health condition that impedes an individual’s ability to empathize with others, often leading them to engage in reckless, impulsive and dangerous behaviors.
Though most mental disorders can be isolating, individuals diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder are particularly at risk for alienating their loved ones and facing the illness without a reliable support system. That is because it can be difficult for friends and family members to reconcile the callous, dismissive demeanor of individuals diagnosed with ASPD.
In some cases, individuals diagnosed with ASPD are extremely manipulative in their relationships, both romantic and platonic. In other cases, they will regularly participate in dangerous, reckless behavior, such as unsafe sexual activity or substance abuse.
The reality is that individuals afflicted with antisocial personality disorder are victims of mental illness, one that strips away their ability to interact with the world like most of their friends and family. Treatment for ASPD is available, and those who receive it are usually able to lead a normal, healthy and happy life.
Symptoms of Antisocial Personality Disorder
The trademark symptom of ASPD is the inability (or diminished ability) to empathize with other people. Individuals diagnosed with ASPD typically hold little regard for societal boundaries (like personal space or privacy) or the law. Combined with impulsive tendencies, this indifference toward social rules makes these individuals far more inclined to engage in destructive and dangerous behaviors.
Some individuals with ASPD are effective in coping with these symptoms by adjusting their behaviors to suit their social environment. In these cases, the individual’s lack of concern for social mores will reveal itself in his or her interpersonal relationships.
Common symptoms of antisocial personality disorder include:
- Callous, offensive personality
- Inability to plan ahead
- A pattern of abusive relationships
- Lack of concern for others well-being
- Personable but manipulative personality
- Unchecked hostility toward others
- Compulsive dishonesty
- The use of intimidation to sway others
- Disregard for the law and legal consequences
- An extreme sense of superiority toward others
Risk Factors for Antisocial Personality Disorder
An antisocial personality disorder is a rare mental illness. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, the disorder is prevalent in just 1 percent of adults in the United States. Additionally, scientists continue to debate the root cause of mental illnesses like an antisocial personality disorder.
Despite the uncertainty about the causes of ASPD, several risk factors have been identified that can be used to predict a diagnosis. Because the symptoms of the disorder typically begin to manifest before the age of 15, many of the risk factors associated with ASPD begin to occur during childhood.
Significant risk factors for ASPD include:
- Patterns of Aggressive, Violent Behavior: Children who exhibit a tendency toward aggression, especially when this behavior is directed at other children or animals, are at high risk of being diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder.
- Diagnosis of Another Mental Disorder: Children who are currently diagnosed with a conduct disorder, such as oppositional defiant disorder, are more likely to develop antisocial personality disorder if the initial mental health issue goes untreated.
- Unstable or Abusive Childhood: Many adults diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder report that they experienced a traumatic childhood. This trauma can range from neglect and verbal abuse at home to physical or sexual abuse.
When Antisocial Personality Disorder and Substance Abuse Collide
Substance abuse is common among individuals with a mental health disorder, including those afflicted with ASPD. Unfortunately, people with ASPD often face exclusion from treatment facilities due to their violent or manipulative behaviors.
Treatment facility staff members will typically avoid risking the well-being of other patients for the sake of an impulsive and potentially dangerous patient. This often leaves people with ASPD and substance abuse problems with few choices for treatment.
Treatment for Both Disorders
The Treatment Center by The Recovery Village offers a different kind of recovery philosophy than most other rehabilitation facilities. We focus on treating the whole person, not just the symptoms of addiction. We understand the extreme degree of care necessary for effectively handling dual diagnosis cases, so our clients can expect access to the full range of our resources and therapy options.
No two cases are alike, so we go the extra mile to ensure our patients receive a treatment plan that addresses their addiction as well as their mental health. Our doors are always wide open to anybody who’s suffering from an antisocial personality disorder and substance abuse. Call us today at (866) 295-6003 to learn more about integrated treatment for these two conditions.