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Many people misbehave in their younger years of life. Their actions can be explained through many different scenarios. They can mimic the things they view on television or even see in their everyday lives. Most children that act out in a negative way are assumed to be future criminals because of their juvenile behavior. Children who tend to be troublemakers in school, the ones that ignore the rules, and intentionally act aggressively towards others are often times diagnosed with Antisocial Personality Disorder.
Antisocial personality disorder is a mental health condition in which a person has a long-term pattern of manipulating, exploiting, or violating the rights of others. An individual diagnosed as having Antisocial Personality Disorder, usually disregards the rights of others, and they tend to violate those rights as well. AsPD patients’ erratic behavior is characterized by a lack of conformity and respect for traditional values. AsPD behavior can often lead to criminal behavior in the adulthood years of people who suffer from the disorder.
People diagnosed with AsPD tend to repeatedly break laws. Most of the crimes that AsPD sufferers commit are punishable by law and usually lead to incarceration. The fear of incarceration does not hinder the behaviors and actions of these criminals. People who suffer from AsPD often times feel as if they’re actions are not irrational and therefore they find reasons to justify them in their own minds. Individuals that have antisocial behaviors tend to be deceitful, lie repeatedly, and con people for either profit or merely for personal satisfaction.
Someone with AsPD may often times show symptoms by being irritable, aggressive, constantly participating in physical fights or assaults, and consistently displaying a blatant disregard for the safety of their self or others. (Walker, 1995) Signs of AsPD can be detected in early childhood years. Children who act aggressively towards their siblings, teachers, and parents show early signs of AsPD. In response to their actions, people who have an Antisocial Disorder often lack remorse or sympathy for the violence they inflict on others.
Although AsPD has become more common in the latter years, studies have been conducted towards finding treatments and prevention methods. Researchers are still trying to find the source of Antisocial Personality Disorder and point out the traits that lead to the development of this disorder. There are currently a number of theories that have been considered for the causes of AsPD. The causes of antisocial personality disorder are currently unknown. According to Linda Vorvick at the University of Washington, biological factors and child abuse are believed to contribute to the development of this condition. 2010) Far more men than women are affected by AsPD. Overall, approximately 3 percent of men and 1 percent of women in the general population meet the criteria for the disorder. The prevalence of AsPD gets even higher in specific groups of people. For example, people with an antisocial or alcoholic parent are at increased risk to develop the disorder. AsPD is also found to be common in people who are in prison, and in most individuals that attend substance abuse treatment programs. Moeller) Behaviors such as noncompliance, sneaking, lying, secretly destroying another’s property, fire-setting and cruelty to animals during childhood have also been linked to the development of AsPD as well. Currently, between four and six million children in schools have been identified as portraying antisocial behavior. (Kazdin, 1993) Antisocial children can be accurately diagnosed at ages as early as three or four. If an antisocial behavior pattern is not corrected by the end of third grade, it can become habitual, only to be treated through support and intervention that can extend a whole lifetime.
As a child grows older the negative habits that they develop in the younger years of life become harder to break. It’s easier to teach a child new skills and behaviors versus trying to teach an adult. This is why early intervention is the best hope society has of diverting children from this path. Stopping the problem at its source will make the rehabilitation process easier. Society uses the detection of antisocial behavior in early childhood as a predictor of delinquency in adolescence.
Although not all children with characteristic traits that correlate with Antisocial Personality Disorder grow up to be criminals, once they’re diagnosed as children they’re already labeled as future criminals. Society agrees that aggressive, antisocial behavior among children is not “just a phase” to be outgrown. In some cases this can be detrimental to a person’s future. When an individual is labeled with an Antisocial Personality Disorder they are viewed in a negative tone automatically. Whether the person successfully goes through treatment of AsPD or not they will always be judged.
Efforts put towards treating AsPD are still being conducted today. Many symptoms of AsPD can be detected early on in childhood. Researchers feel that treatment with AsPD first comes inside of the home. Most children that suffer from AsPD lack guidance and parental control in their households. Children that experience violence in their homes are more prone to act in the same manner when dealing with their peers and siblings. Inappropriate television shows and video games have also become a big contributing factor to AsPD. These types of conditions inside of a home are key factors in developing a child that may have AsPD.
With the help of the parents at home and extra help during school hours, a child can break their cycle of antisocial behavior. Studies have shown that gender differences in antisocial behavior patterns are evident as early as age three or four. Far less research has been conducted about the nature and development pattern of AsPD in girls. Pre-adolescent boys are way more likely to engage in noticeable aggressive antisocial behaviors than girls. Boys tend to be more physical with others and show verbal aggression compared to girls.
Antisocial behavior in girls is more indirect and relational, involving harmful social manipulation of others. The gender differences in the way antisocial behavior is expressed may be related to the different rate of maturity between girls and boys. Physical aggression is expressed at the earliest stages of development, then direct verbal threats, and, last, indirect strategies for manipulating the existing social structure. (Kazdin, 1993) Some research indicates that girls are more likely than boys to display late characteristics of antisocial behavior into their adolescent years.
Late expressions of antisocial behaviors are less persistent, and more likely to be discarded as a behavioral issue than those that first appear in early childhood. As many as half of all elementary school children who demonstrate antisocial behavior patterns continue these behaviors into adolescence, and as many as 75 percent of adolescents who demonstrate antisocial behaviors continue to do so into early adulthood. (Walker, 1995) The school systems have programs and activities that can help steer most children from antisocial behavior, keeping them in school and out of the juvenile justice system.
As kids go through the education system they are monitored on their behavior and response to daily activities. Students are then categorized based on those observations. There are three types of students that can be identified in the school systems: typical students not at risk, students with an elevated risk, and students who have already developed antisocial behavior patterns. When dealing and treating students there are three levels of prevention techniques applied: Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary. The first level is Primary Prevention.
This level involves school-wide activities to prevent risk of developing antisocial patterns. School-wide primary prevention activities may include teaching conflict resolution, emotional literacy, and anger management skills designated at helping the child both inside and outside of school. (Walker, 1995) These interventions have the potential to both establish a positive school climate and divert students mildly at risk of antisocial behaviors. Primary prevention can prevent 75 percent to 85 percent of student adjustment problems.
Students who do not respond to primary prevention usually will respond to more individualized secondary prevention efforts. The Secondary level of prevention targets at-risk students for more individualized prevention activities. These activities include behavioral or academic support, mentoring, and skill development. Secondary prevention strategies also include small-group social-skills lessons, specialized tutoring, remedial programs, and counseling. If these prevention steps still do not work for the child then they can be placed in higher levels of prevention. The last level of prevention is Tertiary prevention.
This is long-term, intensive services for students with persistent patterns of antisocial behavior, delinquency, violence, and destructiveness. (Walker, 1995) In cases such as this the school system usually seeks help from other sources such as the child’s families, community agency personnel, educators, administrators, and support staff. This type of intervention looks at the problem as a whole and allows for the input of people that view the child throughout their daily lives. This input may be vital in understanding the core problem of the child with AsPD, and fixing it rather than wasting time with methods that didn’t work in the past.
The best efforts that can be done for the youth that experience behavioral problems is to keep them engaged in school, where educators can develop their skills, maintain a positive influence, and prevent involvement with disruptive groups during school hours. (Walker, 1995) If antisocial behaviors are not properly treated early on the individuals that suffer from this disorder may grow up and partake in more serious, criminal activities. Individuals who suffer from antisocial personality disorder have a higher risk of abusing alcohol and other drugs and repeatedly committing crimes, thus imprisonment is a likely potential consequence.
People with antisocial personality disorder are vulnerable to mood problems, such as major depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder; having other personality disorders, especially borderline personality (BPD) and narcissistic personality disorders; self-mutilation and other forms of self-harm, as well as death from homicide, suicide, or accident. Some societal costs of antisocial personality disorder, like the suffering endured by victims of the crimes committed by people with this disorder, are evident. However, when people with AsPD become the cunning leaders of religious cults, the devastation that they create is increased.
The mass suicide that occurred at the command of the Reverend Jim Jones in Guyana in 1978 is just one example of the influence that a person with AsPD can have on other people. Like most personality disorders, AsPD sufferers rarely seek treatment on their own, without being ordered to therapy by a court or family member. When assessed, the condition can often be confused with simple criminal activity, and adult antisocial behavior. People who have antisocial personality disorder often experience difficulties with authority figures and disregard for the rights of others.
This failure to conform to society’s norms and expectations often results in legal involvement and a history of a lack of empathy for other people. Inability to see the pain, concerns, and feelings of people often results in a disregard for these aspects of human interaction. Irresponsible behavior often accompanies this disorder as well as a lack of remorse for wrongdoings. When people with AsPD fail to comply with treatment programs they are more likely to remain in an institution like prison or in a hospital. These risks become magnified if antisocial personality disorder is not treated.
Statistics indicate that many people with antisocial personality disorder experience a remission of symptoms by the time they reach 50 years of age. Most people that display antisocial behavior are also frequently troubled by other behavioral and developmental problems such as hyperactivity, depression, learning disabilities, and impulsivity. (Vorvick, 2010). People with AsPD are more likely to meet the criteria for alcohol abuse or dependence and, are more susceptible to alcohol’s aggression related effects than people without the disorder.
Several studies have discovered that aggressive personality traits are associated with an increase in aggression after drinking alcohol. Individuals who showed the most aggression in their pasts were more likely to become aggressive under the influence of alcohol. (Moeller) Researchers have developed several theories to explain the cause of alcohol related aggression that focus on expectancies, brain function, and brain chemistry. Criminal activity and mental disorders can be strongly linked to each other. Antisocial personality disorder is one of the main psychological disorders that are linked to pervasive criminal activity. Mental, 2007) About 80-85 percent of incarcerated criminals have Antisocial Personality Disorder. Individuals with psychiatric hospitalization histories were 3-11 times more likely to have criminal convictions than those without such histories. Antisocial personality disorder can manifest itself in the psychological gratification of criminal, sexual, aggressive, and deceitful impulses. (Lee, 2008) In one of Dr. Vorvick’s many studies of people with AsPD, the most common types of crimes committed by AsPD sufferers are white collar and attention-seeking crimes. 2010) These individuals are emotionally shallow; they need to be the center of attention. These individuals tend to be lively and impulsive, and may commit crimes to gain the attention of others, or to improve their own status. They only care for themselves and what other people can do for them. People with antisocial personality disorder typically have no regard for right and wrong. They may often violate the law and the rights of others, which can land them in trouble or conflict more frequently than a person without AsPD. The individual may also lie, behave violently, and have drug and alcohol problems.
And people with antisocial personality disorder may not be able to fulfill the responsibilities that they have to family, work or school. That is not to say that all criminals can be diagnosed with having AsPD. The most important aspect of dealing with an individual with the disorder is to properly identify and begin treating AsPD as early as detected. Bibliography 1. Kazdin, A. (1993). Treatment of conduct disorder: Progress and directions in psychotherapy research. Development and psychotherapy, 5, 277-310. 2. Lee, Shannon. “Developing and Overcoming Antisocial Personality Disorder. ” Serendip. Aug. 2008. Web. 20 Apr. 26, 11. 3. “Mental Disorders and Crime”. CrimeTimes, 13 Apr. 2007. Web. 19 Apr. 2011. 4. Moeller, Gerard. “Antisocial Personality Disorder, Alcohol, and Aggression”. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). NIAA, Web. 19 Apr. 2011. 5. Vorvick, Linda. “Massachusetts General Hospital Comprehensive Clinical Psychiatry”. 1st ed. MedlinePlus. A. D. A. M. , Inc. , 14 Nov. 2010. Web. 20 Apr. 2011. 6. Walker, H. , Colvin, G. , & Ramsey, E. (1995). Antisocial behavior in school: Strategies and best practices. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole Publishing Company.