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Antisocial Personality Disorder

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Antisocial Personality Disorder

They are your neighbors. They are your friends. Maybe they are even your family. You talk with them often, and have even had them over for dinner on occasion. Perhaps your children play in the same playground or spend time in the same social group. Although you have noticed some quirks and idiosyncrasies, you would never know the difference, and you would never expect the worst. After something bad happens that draws your attention to them, you have been forced to accept the truth: someone you know has Antisocial Personality Disorder.

Antisocial Personality Disorder is a personality disorder recognized within the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. This disorder is a lifelong infliction that affects more men than women. An approximate six percent of men and one percent of women in the United States population are considered “sociopaths” or “psychopaths” (Wood). In order to be diagnosed with this disorder, the individual must be at least eighteen years old, but the antisocial behaviors must have occurred in the individual by age fifteen. According to Dr. Luchiano Picchio, an individual diagnosed with this disorder is marked by an “inability to social norms involving many aspects of the patient's life” (Picchio). As listed within the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual version Four (DSM-IV) (2000), the diagnostic criteria for Antisocial Personality Disorder are:

(1) failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest; (2) deceitfulness, as indicated by repeated lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure; (3) impulsivity or failure to plan ahead; (4) irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults; (5) reckless disregard for safety of self or others; (6) consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honor financial obligations; and (7) lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another (American Psychiatric Association [APA], 2000, p. 701).

The typical psychopath hits his prime in his twenties, and eventually lessens his socially unacceptable acts by his forties (Black, 2000). He will probably come across as c...

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...ity Disorder is a serious disorder experienced by many men and women every day. Although those inflicted by the disorder can lead normal lives and usually do, they can be considered dangerous, and those spending time around them should pay close attention to both their own safety and the safety of the sociopath. After all, as William and Joan McCord stated in The Psychopath, “Psychopathy, possibly more than other mental disorders, threatens the safety, the serenity, and the security of American life” (Olsen 1984, p. 191).

Works Cited:

American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. Washington D.C.: Author.

Black, D. (2000, November 25). What is antisocial personality disorder? Psych Central.
Retrieved April 21, 2004, from

Olsen, J. (1984). Son. New York: Atheneum.

Picchio, L. (n.d.) Antisocial personality disorder. Dauphin County RADAR. Retrieved April 14, 2004, from

Wood, D. (n.d.) What is antisocial personality disorder? Mental Health Matters. Retrieved April 21, 2004, from

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