Information for the public

Antisocial personality disorder

Antisocial personality disorder

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Antisocial personality disorder is the name given to a condition that affects a person's thoughts, emotions and behaviour. Antisocial means behaving in a way that is disruptive to, and may be harmful to, other people.

The symptoms of antisocial personality disorder may include:

  • behaving unlawfully, leading to repeatedly being arrested and convicted (this is sometimes called offending behaviour)

  • deceiving people

  • behaving angrily and aggressively

  • feeling agitated or depressed a lot of the time, and easily bored

  • being impulsive (doing something without thinking of the consequences)

  • behaving irresponsibly and exploiting or manipulating other people

  • not caring about the safety and feelings of other people

  • not feeling remorse when causing harm to others.

Not everyone with antisocial personality disorder will have all these symptoms.

People with antisocial personality disorder come from different backgrounds, but many have been brought up in a home where there was domestic abuse and violence, and other serious difficulties.

Some people with antisocial personality disorder may also have other conditions such as depression, anxiety, and problems with drugs and alcohol (see 'Can I receive treatments for other conditions?').

The terms psychopathy and severe personality disorder are sometimes used to describe people with severe or extreme symptoms who pose a serious risk to other people.