Treatment For Antisocial Personality Disorder

GinaMarie Guarino, LMHC

Treatment For Antisocial Personality Disorder

Is Antisocial Personality Disorder Treatable?

Those with antisocial personality disorder have cognitive issues that make it difficult to treat. There are several reasons why it is difficult to treat antisocial personality disorder. The main reason is the patient often does not want to change. Those with antisocial personality disorder do not see a problem with their behavior. They instead see the people and environment around them as the problem. People with personality disorder tend to:

  • Not trust others, especially authority figures or professionals
  • Have low motivation for change
  • Not accept responsibility in their actions and resulting consequences
  • Blame others for their faults, failures, and issues
  • Be argumentative, contentious, and difficult to work with
  • Not consider themselves to have problematic behavior that needs to change

Because of these points it is difficult to treat antisocial personality disorder. The goal of treating antisocial personality disorder is to reduce problematic behavior. Such behavior includes:

  • Rage
  • Aggression
  • Criminal activity
  • Substance abuse
  • Misconduct
  • Manipulation
  • Exploitation of others
  • Impulsivity
  • Refusal to take responsibility for actions
  • Violence
  • Deviance
  • Defiance

Why is Treatment of Antisocial Personality Disorder So Difficult?

Most people with antisocial personality disorder are mandated to treatment. Sources of mandate include courts, probation, parole, and child and family services. Mandates serve as a condition to stay out of prison. Many will take such opportunities to stay out of prison. Even though they accept the deal, they remain unmotivated for change.

There are some cases in which a patient decides to try to make a change in his or her life. This could be for different reasons, like relationships or circumstances that motivate change. In these instances there is a higher chance of seeing improvement. It is important that treatment stays consistent. While there may be motivation for change the process toward chance is complicated. Patients with antisocial personality disorder will need to reconstruct most of their lives. This takes time, patience, and consistency.

Effective Forms of Treatment for Antisocial Personality Disorder

  • Cognitive therapy. Cognitive therapies are effective for treating antisocial personality disorder. Cognitive therapy helps the patient understand how their thoughts affect their reactions. By modifying thoughts, emotional reaction and behavior will change.
  • Family therapy. Many patients with antisocial personality disorder find their motivation for change from relationships. They want their relationships with partners, family and friends to improve. It is sometimes helpful to have family involved with therapy. This can provide consistency outside of therapy. It can also provide understanding and patience to all parties involved.
  • Anger management. Antisocial personality disorder is always associated with anger, rage and poor consequential thinking. Anger management helps the patient understand how their behavior affects them. Anger management will teach techniques to manage the snap reactions triggered by anger. Anger management is very important when treating antisocial personality disorder.
  • Substance abuse programs. Many people with antisocial personality disorder also have substance abuse issues. They are often referred to substance abuse treatment. Their substance abuse affects their ability to improve. That is why it is important to be sober during treatment.


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