The Antisocial Personality is (APD) is a serious disorder that affects many males and cause a great threat to families, friends, and even complete strangers. Most personality disorders may cause an inconvenience to a person’s family and friends, but usually harm themselves more than others. Antisocial Personality Disorder contrasts from other personality disorders because the defining trait is a predatory attitude toward other people (Smith, 1999). “They have a chronic indifference to and violation of the rights of one’s fellow human beings.” (Alterman; Cacciola; McDermott; Mulholland; Newman; & Rutherford, 2000). A common tendency of those with APD is criminal actions. These actions can range from stealing of everyday items to rate to murder. It is obvious that APD is a serious disorder with serious consequences. Criminologists need to have an understanding of APD as evidenced in the male offender.
One form of Antisocial Personality Disorder is the common sociopath. The sociopathic personality is the unsocialized personality. It affects mostly young men, but some young women. These people are never adequately socialized during childhood and adolescence (Damasio, 2000). People with this form of disorder have reasonably normal temperaments but are known to be aggressive or fearless. They also “posses impulse peculiarities 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 indifferent parents. Some other common characteristics of the common sociopath, being the largest genus of antisocial personalities, are a weak and unelaborated conscience, a lack of shame for normal things, a weak future perspective, a disinterest in long term goals, and a 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 the Dyssocial Sociopath. The Alienated Sociopath has an undeveloped ability to love or to affiliate with others (Damasio, 2000). The Aggressive Sociopath is usually a muscular and aggressive male who enjoys hurting, frightening, and tyrannizing others. This type of sociopath get a feeling of power and importance. Many men with this type of Sociopathic Personality tend to be the rapists and muggers in the world. They show strong gratification from dominance and control over victims (Smith, 1999). The Dyssocial Sociopath tends to be normal both psychologically and in their temperament. This group usually has an allegiance and identification with a subculture. Some examples would be an offspring of the Mafia, gypsies, ghetto guerrilla, or members of a political underground movement or revolutionary terrorist (Damasio, 2000).
One other form of Antisocial Personality is the Psychopathic Personality. These personalities show traits of “guiltlessness, superficial charm, egocentricity, incapacity for love, 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 parasitic or exploitative of others. They have frequent problems with the law but usually manage to get out of serious trouble and punishment. The aggressive type tend to be the more dangerous type that commit major crimes. They are the sexually sadistic, who have a need for constant stimulation. It appears that sexual arousal is the motivating factor in All of these personalities within the Antisocial Disorder tend to show criminal characteristics. Although not all criminals are Antisocial, a majority of Antisocial Personalities are criminals. Unlike most “normal” criminals, antisocial personalities rarely engage in planning. Instead, they tend to operate in an aimless, thrill-seeking fashion, 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 of the conscience, creates a good formula for crime (Smith, 1999). About 20 percent of male and female inmates are psychopaths.
Psychopaths are also responsible for more than 50 percent of the serious crimes committed. Forty-four percent of the offenders who killed law enforcement officers on duty were psychopaths (Smith, 1999). Both male and female psychopaths are much more likely to be violent and aggressive then are other individuals. In fact, Psychopaths commit more than twice as many violent and aggressive 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 the most prominent example of the callous, selfish use of violence by psychopaths. Possibly one-half of the repeat or serial rapists are psychopaths (Damasio, 2000). These rapists are manipulative, egocentric, untruthful, lack a conscience, and lack a capacity for love (Smith, 1999). They also get sexual excitement by inflicting psychological pressure on his victims. Sexual violence is a very serious and very common in the antisocial personalities because of the gratification that results.
Treatment of an individual with APD could be very difficult because one cannot promise how often an antisocial person might lie, con, cheat, steal, or harass because he sees more advantage in doing so. Cognitive therapy can have a positive impact on the life course of an antisocial person. Improvements in prosocial behavior have obvious benefits for the stability of the patient and the well-being of his significant other, and society (Alterman et al. 2000). However, most antisocial personalities do not actively seek therapy. For those patients who do seek therapy a sign of progress would be seen in the development of the dysphoric effect, or depression (Smith, 1999). This is uncomfortable 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 there are some medications that can be helpful for specific symptoms, medications have not been proven to be helpful in the treatment of APD. (Smith,1999). There are very few programs that meet the requirements needed for successful treatment of APD. Those that do exist are expensive, take years to complete, and tend to have fairly good results. The Antisocial Personality Disorder is a disorder with several variations and types, but with the same harmful effects. People, mostly men, with this disorder almost always tend to act in criminal ways, beginning early in life (age 15) all the way through adulthood and even sometimes into the senior years. Criminologists need to be well aware of what they are dealing with when a criminal with APD enters the scene. Since Antisocial personalities are good liars, con artists, charmers, and tricksters, they could easily con their way out of court and be turned loose on the streets yet again. They have no sympathy for their victims and show no remorse for their actions, so there is no stopping them from committing crimes time and time again. To keep this world safe from rapists, murderers, robbers, and other crimes consistently occurring, criminologists must be aware of the capabilities of those with APD and keep them
- Alterman, A.I., Cacciola, J.S., McDermott, P.A., Mulholland, E.M., & Newman, J.P., Rutherford, M.J. (2000). Generality of psychopathy checklist–Revised factors over prisoners and substance-dependent patients. Journal of Consulting & Clinical Psychology, 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 alcohol dependence in antisocial personality disorder. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 24, 35-38.
- Smith, R.J. (1999). Psychopathic behavior and issues of treatment. New Ideas in Psychology, 17, 165-176.