minalsA Review of Antisocial Personality Disorder in CriminalsThe Antisocial Personality is (APD) is a serious disorder that affects many malesand cause a great threat to families, friends, and even complete strangers. Mostpersonality disorders may cause an inconvenience to a persons family and friends, butusually harm themselves more than others. Antisocial Personality Disorder contrastsfrom other personality disorders because the defining trait is a predatory attitude towardother people (Smith, 1999). They have a chronic indifference to and violation of therights of ones fellow human beings.
(Alterman; Cacciola; McDermott; Mulholland;Newman; & Rutherford, 2000). A common tendency of those with APD is criminalactions. These actions can range from stealing of everyday items to rate to murder. It isobvious that APD is a serious disorder with serious consequences. Criminologists needto have an understanding of APD as evidenced in the male offender.
Antisocial Personality Disorder affects less than one percent of females and aboutthree percent of males and usually occurs before age 15 (Smith, 1999). Most of thesemen are involved in some sort of criminal behavior.
One heartwrenching characteristicof men with this disorder is that they show no remorse for their victims or anyoneinvolved. Interpersonally, those with APD are gradoise, arrogant, callous, superficial,and manipulative (Alterman et al. 2000). Affectively, those with APD areshort-tempered, unable to form strong emotional bonds with others, lacking empathy,guilt, or remorse (Smith 1999). Behaviorally, those with APD are irresponsive,impulsive, and prone to violate social and legal norms and expectations (Smith 1999). DSM III gives a list of criteria for the diagnosis of APD. These five points are as follows: 1. A history of illegal or socially disapproved activity beginning before age 152. Failure to show constancy and responsibility in work, sexual relationships,parenthood, or financial obligations.
3. Irritability and aggressiveness4. Reckless and impulsive behavior5. Disregard for the truth (Smith, 1999)Males with this disorder are also known to lack certain responsibilities and obligationswhich lead them to do things such as walk out on jobs, wives, children, and creditors (Fukuhara; Kato; & Yoshino, 2000). The sad truth about this disorder is that by pubertythese men have already begun a career of antisocial behavior in the form of truancy,delinquency, theft, vandalism, lying, drug abuse, casual sex, running away from home,chronic misbehavior in school. As adults they lead to prostitution, pimping, drug selling,or other crimes. (Alterman et al. 2000). Although many men may show traits of APD,they have to show specific characteristics in order to be diagnosed with the disorder. These specific characteristics include, a pervasive pattern of disregard for and violationof the rights of others occurring since age 15, must be at least 18 years old, and evidenceof conduct disorder with onset before age15. (Smith, 1999). Criminologists must besure to look at these traits when dealing with men with antisocial personality, and mostcertainly before letting them back out in the world because of their tendency to have noregret and inability to learn from past experiences.
One form of Antisocial Personality Disorder is the common sociopath. Thesociopathic personality is the unsocialized personality. It affects mostly young men, butsome young women. These people are never adequately socialized during childhood andadolescence (Damasio, 2000). People with this form of disorder have reasonably normaltemperaments but are known to be aggressive or fearless. They also posses impulsepeculiarities or habit patterns that are traceable to deviant learning. (Damasio, 2000). They are stimulus seekers and pose the greatest problem for parents as children(Damasio, 2000). This disorder is enhanced somewhat from incompetent or indifferentparents. Some other common characteristics of the common sociopath, being the largestgenus of antisocial personalities, are a weak and unelaborated conscience, a lack ofshame for normal things, a weak future perspective, a disinterest in long term goals, anda pride in rule breaking (Smith, 1999). Along with the category of sociopaths, there are several forms of sociopaths. These forms consist of the Alienated Sociopath, the Aggressive Sociopath, and theDyssocial Sociopath. The Alienated Sociopath has an undeveloped ability to love or toaffiliate with others (Damasio, 2000). The Aggressive Sociopath is usually a muscularand aggressive male who enjoys hurting, frightening, and tyrannizing others. This type ofsociopath get a feeling of power and importance. Many men with this type ofSociopathic Personality tend to be the rapists and muggers in the world. They showstrong gratification from dominance and control over victims (Smith, 1999). TheDyssocial Sociopath tends to be normal both psychologically and in their temperament. This group usually has an allegiance and identification with a subculture. Someexamples would be an offspring of the Mafia, gypsies, ghetto guerrilla, or members of apolitical underground movement or revolutionary terrorist (Damasio, 2000). One other form of Antisocial Personality is the Psychopathic Personality. Thesepersonalities show traits of guiltlessness, superficial charm, egocentricity, incapacity forlove, an absence of shame or remorse, a lack of psychological insight, bouts of insecurity,emotional shallowness, and an inability to learn from past experience. (Alterman et al.
2000). A psychopath can be passive or aggressive. The passive types tend to be parasiticor exploitative of others. They have frequent problems with the law but usually manageto get out of serious trouble and punishment. The aggressive type tend to be the moredangerous type that commit major crimes. They are the sexually sadistic, who have aneed for constant stimulation. It appears that sexual arousal is the motivating factor inAll of these personalities within the Antisocial Disorder tend to show criminalcharacteristics. Although not all criminals are Antisocial, a majority of AntisocialPersonalities are criminals. Unlike most normal criminals, antisocial personalitiesrarely engage in planning. Instead, they tend to operate in an aimless, thrill-seekingfashion, traveling from town to town with no goal in mind (Alterman et al. 2000). Also,unlike most other criminals, psychopaths show no loyalty to groups, codes, or principles (Fukuhara et al. 2000). Psychopaths seem to naturally slip into the role of criminals. Their readiness to take advantage of any situation that arises, combined with their lack ofthe conscience, creates a good formula for crime (Smith, 1999). About 20 percent ofmale and female inmates are psychopaths. Psychopaths are also responsible for morethan 50 percent of the serious crimes committed. Forty-four percent of the offenders whokilled law enforcement officers on duty were psychopaths (Smith, 1999). Both male andfemale psychopaths are much more likely to be violent and aggressive then are otherindividuals. In fact, Psychopaths commit more than twice as many violent andaggressive acts, both in and out of prison, as do other criminals (Smith, 1999). Sex violence is also a main focus for many antisocial personalities. Rape is themost prominent example of the callous, selfish use of violence by psychopaths. Possiblyone-half of the repeat or serial rapists are psychopaths (Damasio, 2000). These rapistsare manipulative, egocentric, untruthful, lack a conscience, and lack a capacity for love (Smith, 1999). They also get sexual excitement by inflicting psychological pressure onhis victims. Sexual violence is a very serious and very common in the antisocialpersonalities because of the gratification that results. Treatment of an individual with APD could be very difficult because one cannotpromise how often an antisocial person might lie, con, cheat, steal, or harass because hesees more advantage in doing so. Cognitive therapy can have a positive impact on thelife course of an antisocial person. Improvements in prosocial behavior have obviousbenefits for the stability of the patient and the well-being of his significant other, andsociety (Alterman et al. 2000). However, most antisocial personalities do not activelyseek therapy. For those patients who do seek therapy a sign of progress would be seen inthe development of the dysphoric effect, or depression (Smith, 1999). This isuncomfortable for the patient so the therapist should become supportive and empathetic,helping the patient to understand that the discomfort is a sign of progress. Although thereare some medications that can be helpful for specific symptoms, medications have notbeen proven to be helpful in the treatment of APD. (Smith,1999). There are very fewprograms that meet the requirements needed for successful treatment of APD. Those thatdo exist are expensive, take years to complete, and tend to have fairly good results.
The Antisocial Personality Disorder is a disorder with several variations andtypes, but with the same harmful effects. People, mostly men, with this disorder almostalways tend to act in criminal ways, beginning early in life (age 15) all the way throughadulthood and even sometimes into the senior years. Criminologists need to be wellaware of what they are dealing with when a criminal with APD enters the scene. SinceAntisocial personalities are good liars, con artists, charmers, and tricksters, they couldeasily con their way out of court and be turned loose on the streets yet again. They haveno sympathy for their victims and show no remorse for their actions, so there is nostopping them from committing crimes time and time again. To keep this world safefrom rapists, murderers, robbers, and other crimes consistently occurring, criminologistsmust be aware of the capabilities of those with APD and keep them Bibliography:ReferencesAlterman, A.I., Cacciola, J.S., McDermott, P.A., Mulholland, E.M., & Newman,J.P., Rutherford, M.J. (2000). Generality of psychopathy checklist–Revised factors overprisoners and substance-dependent patients. Journal of Consulting & ClinicalPsychology, 68, 181-186.
Damasio, A.R. (2000). A neural basis for sociopathy. Arch Gen Psychiatry, 57,118-119.
Fukuhara, T., Kato, M., & Yoshino, A. (2000) Premorbid risk factors for alcoholdependence in antisocial personality disorder. Alcoholism: Clinical and ExperimentalResearch, 24, 35-38.
Smith, R.J. (1999). Psychopathic behavior and issues of treatment. New Ideas inPsychology, 17, 165-176.
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