Antisocial Personality Disorder and Substance Abuse

Antisocial Personality Disorder Definition

Antisocial personality disorder is a psychological condition that is associated with abnormal or destructive thinking, perception and relationships with others. In other words, a person who does not have any regard for right and wrong, or for other people. Individuals who suffer from this condition are often in trouble with the police, have issues with aggression and violence, abuse drugs and alcohol and have an inability to hold down jobs or create and maintain meaningful relationships with others.

Symptoms of Antisocial Personality Disorder

Antisocial personality disorder is characterized by patterns of behaviors that are troubling and troublesome. Individuals often show a complete lack of empathy, are cynical and negative, highly opinionated, aggressive and self-assured. Those who have the condition may feel that ordinary rules or work don’t apply to them, and may have trouble at work or school and refuse to do certain tasks. They also lack concern for their future, their family or friends, or how their behaviors may impact on them.

Failure to conform to social norms is another key indicator of antisocial personality disorder and individuals often are arrested for being a public nuisance or destroying property. They will also deceive and lie to authorities, use aliases and persuade other people into covering for them. Alcohol and drug abuse is a common occurrence in antisocial personality disorder individuals and they also have a reckless disregard for themselves, engaging in dangerous situations, including sexual misconduct.

Substance Abuse and Antisocial Personality Disorder

Research suggests that there is a correlation between substance abuse and personality disorders. This may be because the individual typically engages in behaviors that are dangerous, they are involved in public nuisance issues and they do not believe that typical rules apply to them. It may also be because they do not have respect for themselves or their body and do not consider the consequences of drug and alcohol abuse.

Statistically, the outlook is not good for those who are diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder, as it has been found that 90 per cent of individuals with the disorder also have a co-occurring substance use disorder. Sufferers often deny their own problems, deny the health implications and will become aggressive and violent when suggestions for help are raised.

Treatment for Antisocial Personality Disorder and Substance Abuse

Treating antisocial personality disorder is challenging due to the difficult personality and behaviors that the condition exhibits. Individuals suffering from the condition are often excluded from entering treatment facilities because of their symptoms which make them troublesome, have no remorse and attribute blame to others.

A recent study suggested that treatment for alcohol or substance abuse is more effective for those who have antisocial personality disorder when treatment is court mandated. Indications reveal that the majority of suffers will not seek out treatment for their substance abuse problems, nor will they respond to suggestions from family or friends.

Treating the co-occurring conditions of substance abuse and antisocial personality disorder can be a difficult task for a therapist. Medical treatment may be required to relieve some of the addiction. Therapy usually will focus on educating the individual on the repercussions of their addiction and their behavior. Some therapists find cognitive therapy can help, though even this is a significant challenge.

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