Thursday, March 6, 2008

Antisocial Personality Disorder

Diagnostic Features:

Antisocial Personality Disorder is a condition characterized by persistent disregard for, and violation of, the rights of others that begins in childhood or early adolescence and continues into adulthood. Deceit and manipulation are central features of this disorder. For this diagnosis to be given, the individual must be at least 18, and must have had some symptoms of Conduct Disorder (i.e., delinquency) before age 15. This disorder is only diagnosed when these behaviors become persistent and very disabling or distressing.


Individuals with this disorder have an increased risk of dying prematurely by violent means (e.g., suicide, accidents, and homicide). Prolonged unemployment, interrupted education, broken marriages, irresponsible parenting, homelessness, and frequent incarceration are common with this disorder.


Anxiety Disorders, Depressive Disorders, Substance-Related Disorders, Somatization Disorder, Pathological Gambling (and other impulse control disorders), and other Personality Disorders (especially Borderline, Histrionic, and Narcissistic) frequently co-occur with this disorder.

Associated Laboratory Findings:

No laboratory test has been found to be diagnostic of this disorder.


The prevalence of Antisocial Personality Disorder in the general population is about 3% in males and 1% in females. It is seen in 3% to 30% of psychiatric outpatients.


The course of this disorder is chronic. This disorder is usually worse in young adulthood and often improves in middle age.

Familial Pattern:

This disorder is more common among first-degree biological relatives of those with the disorder than in the general population. There is also an increased familial risk for Substance-Related Disorders and Somatization Disorder.