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MSD Manual

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Quick Facts

Antisocial Personality Disorder


The Manual's Editorial Staff

Last full review/revision Oct 2020| Content last modified Oct 2020
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Your personality is your unique way of thinking, understanding, reacting, and relating to people.

A personality disorder isn't just an unusual personality. It's when your personality traits cause significant problems in your life or keep you from relating normally to others.

What is antisocial personality disorder?

Antisocial personality disorder is:

  • A pattern of not caring about how your words and actions affect other people

It's much more common in men than women. People seem to get better as they get older.

People with this disorder may:

  • Harass others, destroy property, or break the law

  • Lie and take advantage of other people to get what they want

  • Lack empathy (not care about other people)

  • Ignore the rights and feelings of others

  • Make excuses for their bad behavior or blame it on others

  • Act aggressively or irresponsibly (for example, by suddenly quitting a job or not paying bills)

  • Not feel sorry for what they've done

  • Abuse drugs or alcohol

They may seem charming and convincing when trying to get what they want.

What causes antisocial personality disorder?

Antisocial personality disorder is probably caused by both:

  • Your genes (the genetic information passed to you from your parents)

  • Your experiences and upbringing, such as the way your parents treated you

Children with a conduct disorder are more likely than other children to get antisocial personality disorder when they grow up. Abuse and neglect can increase the chance of the child having antisocial personality disorder as an adult.

How do doctors treat antisocial personality disorder?

Doctors use:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy

  • Medicine

Children with conduct disorder should be treated so they don't grow up to have antisocial personality disorder.

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