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What are the Symptoms of Antisocial Personality Disorder?

M.C. Huguelet
Updated May 17, 2024
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Antisocial personality disorder is a mental health condition in which an individual seems to feel no need to conform to accepted standards of social behavior, and as a consequence may frequently violate the law and have difficulty maintaining healthy relationships and keeping a job. Among the most common symptoms of antisocial personality disorder are an apparent indifference to ideas of right and wrong, aggressiveness, deceitfulness, manipulativeness, impulsivity, and a seeming lack of awareness of other people’s rights. These attributes often lead to behavioral symptoms, such as frequent lawbreaking, physical or emotional abuse of loved ones, and irresponsible work-related conduct.

Indifference to the concept of right and wrong is one of the principal symptoms of antisocial personality disorder. In fact, it is due to this indifference that many other symptoms of this condition can emerge. An individual with the disorder may lie, steal, physically assault others, or emotionally abuse a loved one without experiencing feelings of guilt, shame, or remorse.

Some of the symptoms relate to the sufferer’s interpersonal relations. For example, he may frequently behave in a way that others find aggressive or intimidating. Conversely, he may have a finely honed sense of charm that he deploys in order to manipulate those around him. These symptoms can lead him to have problems maintaining healthy personal relationships, as his loved ones may find it difficult to trust him, or may even be frightened by him.

Impulsivity and irresponsibility are also common in people with this disorder. The sufferer may make rash decisions without considering their consequences. He may, for instance, fail to show up for work several days in a row without providing an explanation for his absence. Due to this apparent lack of judgment and commitment, he may have difficulty getting and keeping a job.

Combined with his indifference to right and wrong, this impulsivity may also lead the sufferer to break the law without remorse or fear of punishment. As a consequence, he may find himself frequently embroiled in legal troubles or may even be required to serve jail time. His loved ones are often affected by the exorbitant expense and extreme emotional stress of these problems, negatively affecting his personal relationships, which may already be strained. In addition, having a criminal record will, in many cases, further limit his ability to secure employment.

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M.C. Huguelet
By M.C. Huguelet
Cate Huguelet, a Chicago-based freelance writer with a passion for storytelling, crafts engaging content for a wide range of publications, including WiseGeek. With degrees in Writing and English, she brings a unique perspective and a commitment to clean, precise copy that resonates with readers. Her ability to understand and connect with audiences makes her a valuable asset to any content creation team.
Discussion Comments
By anon302245 — On Nov 08, 2012

I have ASPD and I don't want it. I lost my daughter, my girlfriend, my mom and dad and now I'm all alone. I have no one. Don't give up on us. We try, but it somehow always fails.

By anon233450 — On Dec 06, 2011

To the loving mother of a son with APD. This is from the sister of a now 53-year-old man with APD, whose mother enables him to the point that she has now lost me as her daughter.

My brother attempts to control everything my mom says and does by comments and by angry moods. Over the years, his lack of respect for his mother and me, his anger, his blaming, his full of himself attitude yet pity me, I'm not well crap has "trained" my mother into submission and lying for him.

Please don't become like her. Learn to set boundaries and seek out respectful friendships with family and friends. Tell them how he behaves. Do not isolate yourself out of embarrassment, for then sons like this will take charge of your isolation and you may end up feeling trapped, responsible and sacrifice your life to supporting them, and in the end enable this despicable behavior.

The only way, and perhaps it isn't possible then, but if he won't listen to reason from anyone, but the only chance he has to see the behavior in himself is to be left alone with it, and have to learn for himself, how to act to have friends.

By anon183268 — On Jun 04, 2011

My daughter also suffers from APD and life is always unpredictable. It's like being on a roller coaster and can't get off. I pray constantly to maintain my sanity and strength. She gets counseling weekly and it helps to some degree. My suggestion to everyone that suffers from this disorder is to find a good church, pray daily, get the person and family ongoing counseling.

This disorder requires ongoing therapy. If she misses one week, she has a major setback. Lies are inevitable for these people. We just continue to expose her lies. Once again, prayer changes things. Keep praying.

By anon137734 — On Dec 28, 2010

Love the sinner but not the sin. My dad, mom, step dad, and sister all have this. One is bipolar, one is apd, and the other two act it but have not been diagnosed. My heart is ripped out all the time.

I want to be with them but their selfishness, anger, and disregard for my feelings takes the life out of me. Limit contact and don't get into a deep conversation with them because you will be angry and crazy. Just pray. That's all I do.

And I try to focus on my blessings and spend time with people who don't think they can tell me what I'm thinking and try to control my every action. God bless you.

By anon130970 — On Nov 30, 2010

My 27 year old son has been diagnosed with Antisocial Personality Disorder. The description posted here sadly fits him perfectly.

What is a loving mother supposed to do? How do you love and support and protect and yet not support the irresponsible behavior? How do I keep from letting him rip my heart out every day and yet not leave him alone with a disease he cannot see, let alone control? Please help. I am desperate.

M.C. Huguelet
M.C. Huguelet
Cate Huguelet, a Chicago-based freelance writer with a passion for storytelling, crafts engaging content for a wide...
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