The Hope Project (THP): Understanding Antisocial Personality Disorder

Some individuals appear to have no respect for others and are capable of harming them without remorse or shame. When this behaviour becomes pervasive, a person may be diagnosed with Antisocial Personality Disorder, a chronic mental health condition. People with Antisocial Personality Disorder are sometimes referred to as "sociopaths." A pattern of socially irresponsible, exploitative, and guiltless behaviour characterizes Antisocial Personality Disorder.

This article provides insight into causes, risk factors, symptoms, and management options available for patients with ASPD.

What is Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD)?

Individuals with Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD) repeatedly violate and ignore others' rights through deception, aggression, or antisocial behaviour, often without guilt or allegiance to anybody. They are impulsive, angry, and violent, and they have a history of being generally reckless. This pattern of behaviour must have been present since the age of 15, and the person must have displayed symptoms of conduct disorder, a similar disorder characterized by recurrent patterns of aggression toward people or animals, vandalism, deception or theft, and serious violations of rules at home or at school in children and young adolescents.

What are the causes?

Genetic variables, temperamental features, impairments in fear and anxiety, more general emotional deficits, the childhood development of antisocial behaviour as a coping mechanism, and the role of family and environmental patterns have all been highlighted as causal factors by contemporary research.

Some factors known to trigger ASPD are:

  • Genetics: There could be certain hereditary variables that predispose some people to develop ASPD. However, the illness is likely to be caused by a combination of hereditary factors rather than a single gene.

  • Physiological: Alteration in the brain's functioning could obstruct the development of the brain. Serotonin, a neurotransmitter that affects our mood and feelings of well-being, in people with ASPD may be abnormally high.

Other factors that increase the risk of ASPD are:

  • Environment: Early childhood trauma, experiencing neglect or abuse during childhood, childhood conduct disorder, having an unstable and violent family.

  • Sex: ASPD is more common in men than in women.

How does it affect people?

Individuals with ASPD have a history of unsocialized and irresponsible behaviour, with little regard for their own or others' safety. These characteristics cause individuals to come into confrontation with society on a regular basis, and a large percentage of them end up in prison. Failure to follow the law, inability to maintain consistent employment, manipulation of others for personal benefit, deception of others, and inability to build strong interpersonal relationships are all symptoms of Antisocial Personality Disorder.

The lifetime prevalence of Antisocial Personality Disorder has been estimated to be between 2% and 4% in men and 0.5% to 1% in women. People between the ages of 24 and 44 have the highest prevalence, while those between the ages of 45 and 64 have the lowest. Depending on the evaluation method and sample characteristics, the male-to-female ratio is estimated to be between 2:1 and 6:1. The prevalence of ASPD varies by location, but in correctional settings, it can approach 80 percent. ASPD also increases the risk for suicide attempts, hepatitis C infections, traumatic injuries, accidents, and the human immunodeficiency virus.

Treatment/Management Options

ASPD does not have a standard treatment. However, medications and psychotherapy may be used to regulate specific symptoms.

Drugs used to treat bipolar disorder, such as lithium and anticonvulsants, have shown some results in treating the aggressive/impulsive conduct of violent criminals, although evidence is limited. Antidepressants from the SSRI family have also shown some tentative but promising outcomes in reducing aggressive/impulsive behaviour and improving interpersonal skills. None of these biological treatments, on the other hand, have a significant impact on the condition as a whole. Furthermore, even if effective pharmacological therapies were discovered, the problem of these people's lack of motivation to take their drugs would persist.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy has long been regarded to hold the most promise for improving treatment effectiveness. The following are examples of common cognitive-behavioral intervention targets: (1) strengthening self-control, critical thinking, and having a social viewpoint; (2) boosting victim awareness; (3) teaching anger management; (4) modifying antisocial attitudes; and (5) healing drug addiction.

According to studies, the symptoms of ASPD are at their peak between the ages of 24 and 44, and then gradually improve after that.


ASPD's traits can cause major issues in a variety of aspects of life. People with ASPD are more likely to end up in jail, abuse drugs, or attempt suicide. They rarely receive help for ASPD unless they are in legal trouble and a jury orders them to do so. At its most basic level, an unwillingness to consider other people's thoughts, feelings, and intentions can lead to devastating neglect for others. As adults, the disorder can be detrimental to the person who has it as well as anyone who comes into contact with them.


Unwired India is a neurotech-startup that aims at integrating state-of-the-art research and developments in STEM, for catalyzing the transition of Neuroscience to Neurotechnology. We develop avant-garde non-invasive neurostimulation products used to solve some of the world’s most critical global issues and challenges. Our mission is to take cutting-edge brain research directly into the lives and homes of people, thereby fostering a unique culture of sustainable neuroscience and scientific literacy in India.

  • Founded in 2020, we are the pioneers of Nootropics and non-invasive Neurotechnology devices in the country, and offer so much more than high-quality, delicious Brain Nutrition products for daily cognitive support; a full-service health and fitness startup that has become an important part of the local community, here in New Delhi, India.

  • We develop non-GMO, all-natural nootropic (smart-drug) formulations, Himalayan herb blends, and specialized amino-nutraceutical interventions and supplements for enhanced brain function, cognition, neuroinflammation, and neurodegeneration.


The Hope Project (THP) is a neuro-disorder awareness initiative within the organizational framework of Unwired India. The initiative aims at creating and scaling awareness against the stigma, fear, and apprehensions associated with Neurological disorders.

Aims: to create awareness about the scientific and psychological aspects of neurological diseases. It creates awareness across the global masses. It promotes the importance of understanding neurological disorders that affect the lives of many people.


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A friendly reminder: We've done our research, but you should too! Check our sources against your own and always exercise sound judgment.

Butcher, J. N., Mineka, S., Hooley, J. M. (2013). Abnormal Psychology. Pearson.

Image credits: by SHVETS and Alex Green


About The Author

Ishika Jain

Content Writer for The Hope Project

Ishika Jain is a student of Psychology honors from the University of Delhi, armed with hands-on knowledge in research, public health, and health tech. She has worked in the field of global mental health, community research, and intervention, assisting in science communication and research writing. She has a keen interest in Neuropsychology, with a blend of neuroscience, philosophy, and interpersonal contact.

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