Antisocial Personality Disorder

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Treating Antisocial Personality at Avalon Malibu

Navigating the complexities of antisocial personality disorder can be an incredibly challenging and isolating experience. At Avalon Malibu, we use a variety of evidence-based therapies and modalities to help individuals recalibrate their compass toward healthier behaviors in a supportive environment that encourages healing and personal growth. If you or someone you care about is living with antisocial personality disorder, we provide comprehensive treatment that promotes a more balanced lifestyle and improves how you relate to the world.

What Is Antisocial Personality Disorder?

Antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) is a complex mental health condition characterized by a long-standing pattern of disregarding or violating the rights and feelings of others. Those with ASPD may struggle with understanding societal norms and the impact of their actions, leading to behaviors that are often seen as antagonistic, manipulative and dismissive.

Individuals with antisocial personality disorder may come across as charming or engaging, but they often use those traits as a means to exploit others for personal gain. Their patterns of behavior can lead to significant challenges in life, putting them at an increased risk of incarceration, substance use disorders and tumultuous personal relationships.

Symptoms of Antisocial Personality Disorder

Antisocial personality disorder manifests through a variety of symptoms and behaviors that challenge societal norms and negatively affect interpersonal relationships, such as:

  • Lack of empathy for other people
  • Ignoring right and wrong
  • Feeling like the rules don’t apply to them
  • No guilt or remorse for harmful behavior
  • Irritability and aggressiveness
  • Acting out impulsively
  • Difficulty with authority figures
  • Low frustration tolerance
  • Lying or manipulating others for personal gain
  • Poor or abusive relationships
  • More likely to break the law
  • Trouble delaying gratification
  • Prone to substance use issues

These behaviors can significantly impact the ability to function normally or relate to others in a positive way. Troubling signs that may be displayed during childhood, such as animal cruelty or setting fires, suggest the importance of early intervention and support. Understanding how ASPD manifests is the first step toward seeking help and finding a path to better symptom management, as well as building an improved quality of life for those affected by this condition.

What Causes Antisocial Personality Disorder?

As with other personality disorders, the exact causes of ASPD aren’t known. Personality traits are complex and shaped by a number of forces, including nature and nurture. Experts believe the following factors contribute to the development of antisocial personality disorder.


Those with a family history of ASPD are more likely to develop the condition compared to the general population. It is strongly linked to inheritance, with research suggesting that environmental factors or influences can exacerbate its development.


One’s upbringing and environment can also have a significant influence. The onset of ASPD has been linked to factors such as childhood neglect, abuse and trauma. Additionally, children can learn harmful behavioral patterns from their parents, which they then display themselves later in life.

Brain Differences

Research has found that people diagnosed with ASPD may have differences in areas of the brain responsible for things like decision-making, empathy and emotional regulation. Neuroimaging has shown that the prefrontal cortex is the region primarily affected.

Antisocial Personality Disorder vs. Sociopathy

Colloquially, many people use the terms “sociopath” and “psychopath” interchangeably to refer to antisocial personality disorder. They also assume that people with ASPD are not capable of emotion and will eventually go on to commit violent crimes. While it is true that those with antisocial personalities don’t typically feel remorse or think about how their actions affect others, with the right support, it is possible for those living with this diagnosis to avoid harmful behaviors and develop coping skills to deal with issues such as impulsivity and aggression.

Antisocial Personality Disorder & Substance Use

A hallmark of antisocial personality disorder is poor impulse control and irresponsible behavior. Many people with ASPD also have trouble delaying gratification. These characteristics put them at a higher risk of developing problems with drugs or alcohol. According to some studies, as many as 90% of individuals diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder also have a co-occurring substance use disorder.

Unfortunately, the traits associated with antisocial personality disorder can increase the length and intensity of a person’s substance use, making it difficult to overcome without comprehensive dual diagnosis treatment that addresses both the addiction and underlying mental health concerns. If one of the conditions is left untreated, the risk of relapse is high.

Contact Avalon Malibu

If you or someone you love is struggling with antisocial personality disorder and its consequences, Avalon Malibu is here to help. With a team of compassionate professionals and a commitment to personalized care, we offer the support and expertise needed to help you navigate the symptoms of ASPD more effectively. Reach out by completing our online contact form or calling us at 888-958-7511 to learn more. Together, we can work toward building a life marked by healthier relationships and a deeper understanding of oneself.

Treating Antisocial Personality Disorder at Avalon Malibu

Antisocial personality disorder is notoriously difficult to manage. Many people with ASPD don’t seek help on their own and may only start treatment after being ordered by a court to do so. However, there are some individuals who seek a better understanding of their condition and want to develop healthier ways of interacting with others and the world around them.

Therapy is often the first line of treatment for those with ASPD. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help people identify harmful or dysfunctional patterns of thinking and consider the impact of their behaviors. Since many individuals with ASPD also have trouble recognizing or understanding the mental state of themselves and others, mentalization-based therapy can be helpful. This technique involves working to increase emotional recognition and capacity.

While no medications are approved to treat an antisocial personality, mood stabilizers or antidepressants might be used to address co-occurring mental health disorders. Dual diagnosis treatment may also be recommended for substance use and addiction issues.

At Avalon Malibu, we know that understanding the root causes of antisocial behavior, including potential genetic, environmental and neurobiological factors, is an essential part of the treatment process. By providing a supportive and therapeutic environment, we encourage introspection and personal growth, helping individuals to navigate the complexities of their disorder and move toward a more positive future.

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