Antisocial Personality Disorder (APD): Introduction & Characteristics

Antisocial Personality Disorder (APD): Introduction & Characteristics


Antisocial Personality Disorder is a disorder which causes the sufferer to behave frequently in an antisocial way. He/she will give very little thought to the people around him/her and will behave impulsively and recklessly. People with APD are far more likely to be violent, aggressive, dishonest, unreliable, irresponsible and criminal. They may find it difficult to keep friends or to hold down a job. This is not to say, however, that they can’t also be friendly or witty when they want to be.

Males are three times more likely to suffer from APD because they have higher levels of testosterone. Around three quarters of the prison population suffer from this condition.


The Characteristics of APD

To be diagnosed with APD you need to be at least eighteen years of age and have demonstrated three or more of the following types of behaviour.

      • Not feeling guilty about hurting or mistreating other people.
      • Reckless behaviour which poses a danger to themselves and those around them,
      • Not planning for the future. Making poor and impulsive decisions.
      • Breaking the law and/or codes of civil behaviour.
      • Frequently flying into a rage. Getting aggressive, being involved in fights.
      • Lying, stealing and conning.
      • Failing to hold down a job or not paying money back where it is owed.

In most cases these characteristics will be at their worst when the sufferer is in his/her teens or early twenties. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th Ed. American Psychiatric Association, 2000), or the DSM-IV TR (2000) is a professional publication specifically for mental health workers and lists all of the mental health disorders currently recognised by the medical profession. No mental illness can be officially diagnosed unless it meets the criteria listed in this publication.