Antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) is marked by lack of regard for rules and the rights of others, along with symptoms of irritability, deceitfulness, and impulsivity.

Symptoms of antisocial personality disorder will vary from person to person, but there are several signs and symptoms that might indicate this type of personality disorder.

One common behavior that characterizes ASPD is disregard for other people’s rights or well-being. This can mean crossing a line or even violating the rights of others.

Neglecting social rules and the law can often happen as well. It’s not uncommon for those with antisocial personality disorder to experience legal trouble, for instance.

Antisocial personality disorder is sometimes known as or associated with sociopathy or psychopathy.

While these terms aren’t used for diagnosis — and ASPD is distinct from sociopathy and psychopathy — clinicians may sometimes use them to describe behavior patterns.

People have many notions about antisocial personality disorder based on their (mis)understanding of psychopathy or sociopathy. But having antisocial personality disorder doesn’t make someone a bad person — while they can hurt others, this isn’t always the case.

Treating antisocial personality disorder can be difficult and take time, but living with and managing the condition is possible. Our growing understanding of ASPD and its symptoms is enabling researchers to develop promising methods for helping people manage ASPD.

While antisocial personality disorder is often thought of in terms of how it affects others, it can also negatively impact people who live with the condition.

You may experience the following if you have antisocial personality disorder:

  • irritability
  • difficulty planning or thinking about the future
  • financial problems or chronic debt
  • substance use issues
  • legal trouble or imprisonment
  • impaired memory and attention
  • unemployment or job difficulties

Some people with antisocial personality disorder might see themselves as better or more important than other people.

Antisocial personality disorder is strongly linked to difficulty mentalizing — or becoming aware of your own mental state. This may also help explain why some people with antisocial personality disorder find it difficult to consider the perspectives of others or empathize.

People with antisocial personality disorder may also hold the belief that they’re just looking out for themselves like everyone else is. If you live with ASPD, you might rationalize your actions as a way to stop others from “pushing you around,” for example.

In many cases, people with antisocial personality disorder will show some common signs and behaviors, including:

  • impulsivity or lack of planning
  • behavior that doesn’t fit social norms
  • lack of respect or thought for other people
  • acting in ways that are grounds for arrest
  • lying, using aliases, or deceiving others for personal gain
  • demonstrating violence or aggression
  • leaving a job suddenly or not showing up to work
  • financial problems, such as not paying debts
  • a tendency to blame victims for what they’ve been through
  • a tendency to minimize harm done
  • lack of remorse for behavior

Antisocial personality disorder can cause people to hurt others or break the law, but not everyone with ASPD is violent or aggressive.

Some research suggests that people with antisocial personality disorder recall memories differently than people without ASPD. According to the study, people with antisocial personality disorder tended not to integrate, or learn from, past experiences.

Everyone is unique, so the symptoms you experience may vary from someone else with the same condition.

A personality disorder is a long-lasting pattern of inner experience and behavior — and because these patterns have developed over time, personality disorders are most often diagnosed in adulthood.

Personality disorders can lead to significant trouble in a person’s social or professional life. Nevertheless, a diagnosis can be a positive thing, since you can learn more about the condition and it can guide effective treatment.

Antisocial personality disorder is considered a cluster B personality disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).

Antisocial behavior patterns usually begin showing up in childhood or adolescence. Sometimes young people are diagnosed with conduct disorder as a result.

While conduct disorder doesn’t always lead to an antisocial personality disorder diagnosis, it can be diagnosed as antisocial personality disorder when a person is at least 18 years old. For the diagnosis to apply, the person’s antisocial behavior must have occurred since at least age 15.

Some researchers suggest this diagnosis should be removed from the next version of the DSM because it’s defined by harm done to others more than harm done to the self. They claim that for this reason, antisocial personality disorder doesn’t fit the usual pattern of a mental health condition.

Other researchers say antisocial personality disorder should be classified as a neurodevelopmental disorder, meaning it causes a person’s brain to function differently.

Around 3% of the population may be living with antisocial personality disorder.

Older research from 2013 reports that men are 3 times as likely to be diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder as women.

While antisocial personality disorder isn’t diagnosed in children, it has been linked to conduct disorder. Children with conduct disorder are more likely to grow up to be diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder.

Like most personality disorders, the intensity of antisocial personality disorder typically decreases with age.

People may experience fewer symptoms by the time they’re in their 40s or 50s. But some research suggests that due to changes that occur with age, antisocial personality disorder may be under-detected rather than absent in older adults.

Research on antisocial behavior, including antisocial personality disorder, found that the way the brain processes rewards could play a role in causing antisocial behavior.

One study involving people in a federal correctional facility suggests environment may play a role in causing antisocial personality disorder. People with antisocial personality were found more often to have experienced physical and sexual abuse in childhood.

Research has also found a strong connection between betrayal trauma and the development of antisocial personality disorder.

Betrayal trauma typically happens when trust is broken in a relationship, often between parents or caregivers and children.

Learn more about causes and risk factors of antisocial personality disorder.

Treating antisocial personality disorder can be difficult and take time.

Most people with antisocial personality disorder don’t tend to seek mental health support or treatment, either.

Still, it’s not impossible to treat or learn to manage antisocial personality disorder.

Many people with antisocial personality disorder do feel a desire to change their behavior — and this motivation can influence how well a treatment plan works.

But in many cases, people with antisocial personality disorder aren’t connected with resources to manage their condition unless they’re in a correctional facility for behavior associated with the disorder.

Research indicates that mentalization-based therapy (MBT) could be a promising option for people living with antisocial personality disorder.

MBT helps people become more aware of their own mental states, as well as the mental states of others.

One recent study suggests that understanding antisocial personality disorder based on how the brain processes empathy may be more helpful in treating the disorder than understanding the disorder based on observable behavior.

Learn more about treatment options for antisocial personality disorder.

As a cluster B personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder is usually a lifelong condition. Common antisocial personality disorder symptoms and signs include lack of remorse, impulsivity, and aggressiveness.

Antisocial personality disorder is often associated with violence, but not all people who live with ASPD act in violent ways.

Since people with antisocial personality disorder don’t tend to see themselves the way others see them, they may not understand why their behavior is harmful. This can make treating ASPD difficult.

Many emerging treatment options could help people with antisocial personality disorder manage their condition and prevent behaviors that cause harm to others or themselves.