ASPD – Mental Disorder of the Day


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Antisocial Personality Disorder can cause anger, apathy and aggressive behaviors.

Alyx Goldensoph, Writer

The terms “psychopath” and “sociopath” are often used interchangeably—and incorrectly—to refer to someone is who crazy or dangerous. In reality, the terms actually refer to a person with the Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD).

ASPD isn’t just social anxiety or a desire to be alone. It is a mental health disorder characterized by a disregard for other people. People with ASPD may act disrespectfully to others without remorse or show antisocial behaviors.

According to Mayo Clinic, other symptoms those with ASPD may display are:

  • Behavioral: deceitfulness, hostility, irresponsibility, manipulativeness, risk-taking behaviors, aggression, impulsivity, irritability or lack of restraint
  • Mood: anger, boredom or general discontent
  • Other: physical substance dependence or substance abuse

One important part of diagnosing ASPD is having conduct disorder as a child. Conduct disorder is found in children who show patterns of extreme aggression toward others. This and ASPD can be caused by childhood trauma and reinforced by harsh attitudes toward “bad kids.”

As someone with ASPD gets older, the behaviors they display change. New behaviors can include property destruction, racism, drug use and aggression. Women are less likely to develop ASPD than men.

A common misconception about people with ASPD is they lack empathy and are violent. In reality, although they struggle to maintain relationships, they can still feel love and empathy for those close to them.

ASPD is not untreatable. Therapy, along with patient support from friends and family, can help. When supporting someone with ASPD, do not be harsh, but set boundaries with them when necessary.

Pop culture has caused a negative stigma toward people with ASPD, usually casting them as villains, murderers or general antagonists. To be clear, just because someone shows psychopathic or sociopathic tendencies does not mean they are insane, hate everyone or are going to kill you. They have a mental illness that causes them to act out due to past trauma. They didn’t choose this. Being afraid of people who need support doesn’t help anyone.