According to the WHO definition, dissocial personality disorder is a disorder that draws attention to a large disproportion between behavior and the applicable social norms. It is characterized by a tendency to disregard the rights of other people and to disregard generally accepted principles.
Dissocial personality often coexists with other disorders (e.g. anxiety or depression) and addiction to psychoactive substances. It is diagnosed in approximately 5% of men and 1% of women.
The causes of dissocial personality
So far, it has not been possible to establish a single and specific cause responsible for the development of dissocial personality. However, there are several factors that may increase the risk of its occurrence:
Environmental factors: improper socialization, growing up in a pathologically functioning family, the absence of one of the parents, the absence of one of the parents due to separation or divorce, parental instability and lack of consistency in upbringing, overprotection or neglect of a child, domestic violence, abuse of alcohol and other psychoactive substances.
Physiological causes: previous head injury, organic disorders of the central nervous system, low level of physiological arousal, changes in EEG, abnormalities in the frontal lobes, dysfunctions of the limbic system (responsible for the emotional and motivational sphere of humans).
Genetic background: personality disorders among family members, having an extra Y chromosome in the karyotype (the XYY set promotes hyperactivity and aggression).
Diagnosis of dissocial personality
The diagnosis of dissocial personality should be made by a psychiatrist based on the clinical history and observation of the patient as well as other available information, including the result of a personality test provided by a psychologist. When making the diagnosis, one should exercise caution and exclude neurosis, intellectual disability, organic personality disorders and psychotic syndromes.
Treatment of dissocial personality
Due to the lack of reflectivity and internal motivation to change, and the inability to draw conclusions from previous experiences, the effects of dissocial personality treatment are usually small (with some people experiencing a decrease in the severity of symptoms with age).
“The most effective form of therapeutic interactions is considered to be long-term re-education and rehabilitation programs, involving participation in psychotherapy and the use of instrumental conditioning techniques, consisting in manipulating privileges and experiencing the consequences of one’s actions.” – Clearfork Academy
Medication is not usually given during therapy. Pharmacotherapy is only used in the presence of other conditions, such as depression or anxiety disorders.
It is worth remembering that people with dissocial personality approach their own behavior uncritically and are usually unaware of the disorder they have (which is why they rarely seek specialist help on their own). If you notice features of a dissocial personality in a loved one, suggest a visit to a psychiatrist or psychologist.
Resources: Feinberg Consulting