Antisocial personality disorder is a mental illness characterized by a disregard for the wellbeing of others and an inability to tell the difference between right and wrong. People with antisocial personality disorder, sometimes referred to as psychopaths or sociopaths, often break the law and hurt others while showing no remorse for their actions. Unfortunately, finding effective antisocial personality disorder treatments can be difficult. No medications are approved to treat the disorder and few sociopaths seek out therapy on their own.
Sociopaths tend to repeatedly break the law and violate others’ rights. Sociopaths may abuse or neglect children, and their relationships with other adults may also be marked by abuse. They can be aggressive, deceitful, reckless and impulsive. Some sociopaths hide their symptoms well–in fact, many are charming and well-spoken, and they use this charm to gain others’ trust only to manipulate them.
At best, antisocial personality disorder may lead to problems in relationships, school and work. But untreated antisocial personality disorder can lead to a wide range of more serious problems, many involving harm to another person or to the sociopath himself. Because of the dangerous behaviors associated with sociopath symptoms, many people with antisocial personality disorder die at a relatively young age.
Antisocial Personality Disorder Treatments
Antisocial personality disorder is a difficult illness to treat. As of 2010, the FDA hasn’t approved any medications for sociopath treatment, although antidepressants or antipsychotic drugs may be used to treat concurrent mental conditions or certain symptoms of the disorder.
The most common treatment for antisocial personality disorder is therapy. Antisocial personality disorder is often still problematic, though, as most sociopaths resist therapy and don’t believe they have a problem that requires treatment. Often, people with antisocial personalities only pursue treatment when ordered to do so by a court or because they are incarcerated.
During therapy, sociopaths discuss their moods and behaviors with a psychotherapist. The therapist helps the patient identify negative thoughts and behaviors and offers coaching on how to replace these with healthy thoughts and actions. Therapy may also increase the patient’s awareness of unconscious thoughts and feelings, giving him insight into the reasons behind certain actions. Stress and anger management may also be addressed. In some cases, family and friends may participate in therapy to learn how to manage the condition.
Therapy may occur in a group setting or in one-on-one sessions with the therapist. In severe cases, the therapist may recommend psychiatric hospitalization or a residential treatment program. This typically occurs if the therapist determines that the sociopath either cannot care for himself properly or is threatening immediate harm to himself or others.
Grohol, J. M. (2010). Antisocial personality disorder treatment. Retrieved July 29, 2010, from http://psychcentral.com/disorders/sx7t.htm
Long, P. W. (2008). Antisocial personality disorder. Retrieved July 29, 2010, from http://www.mentalhealth.com/dis/p20-pe04.html
Mayo Clinic. (2008). Antisocial personality disorder. Retrieved July 29, 2010, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/antisocial-personality-disorder/DS00829