Treatment For Antisocial Personality Disorder

GinaMarie Guarino, LMHC

Treatment For Antisocial Personality Disorder

People with antisocial personality disorder do not show concern for rules or safety. A person with antisocial personality disorder engages in reckless behavior. They are impulsive and are not remorseful for their actions.

A person with antisocial personality disorder will struggle with authority figures. They will engage in criminal activity that will get them in trouble. It is very difficult to live with a person with the disorder.

People with this disorder often seek treatment through legal mandate. They do not often seek treatment on their own. Antisocial personality disorder causes cognitive issues that make the disorder difficult to treat.

Is Antisocial Personality Disorder Treatable?

Antisocial personality disorder is treatable. In order for successful treatment, the affected person must be motivated for change.

People with the disorder tend to not be motivated to change. This makes antisocial personality disorder 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 authority figures
  • Not trust 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. These mandates serve as a condition to stay out of prison.

Many affected people will enter treatment to stay out of prison. They accept the opportunity to go to treatment instead of prison. However, they often remain unmotivated to change.

There are some cases in which an affected person decides to try to make a change in their 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 change is complicated. People with the disorder will need to reconstruct most of their lives. They will need to think, feel and behave differently. This takes time, patience, and consistency.

Effective Forms of Treatment for Antisocial Personality Disorder

It is difficult to recover from antisocial personality disorder. Even though it is difficult, there are effective forms of therapy. These forms of therapy will only work for those who are motivated to change.

Such forms of therapy include:

Cognitive therapy. Cognitive therapy is effective for treating antisocial personality disorder. It helps the affected person understand how their thoughts affect their behavior.

Cognitive therapy also slows down impulsive behaviors that can cause them trouble. By modifying thoughts, emotional reaction and behavior will change.

Family therapy. Many people 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. It helps the affected person understand how their behavior affects them.

Anger management will teach techniques to manage the snap reactions triggered by anger. It serves as a 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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