Antisocial personality disorder and criminality
Societal expectations from rational humans are often viewed as demanding, but high tolerance is exercised on the situations that depict some form of deviations, which do not last for long. When the variance from the expected norm is extreme and last for relatively long, the affected individuals are said to be suffering from antisocial personality disorder. A psychiatric condition characterized by adamant behaviors, which tend to exploit, manipulate and violate the liberties of humans, animals and other societal elements, antisocial personality disorder is one of the factors that motivate the engagement of vices in the society. Persistent disregard to the law, environment and the most basic societal demands are often the first characteristics to be noticed on the affected individuals. Others are tendency to lie, steal and failure to fulfill job and parenting responsibilities. Criminology experts have identified antisocial personality disorder to be among the major causation factors of experienced high rate of crime in the contemporary society (Rogers et al., 2000).
The antisocial personality disorder is not unique to the present-day societies. History and research reveal that the condition existed in the Aristotle, the Greek philosopher reign. “Unscrupulous man” is the term that was used to label the affected individuals, a term, which was conceived because of unscrupulous behaviors portrayed by the affected individuals. The psychiatric condition often displays consistent characteristics on the reported and unreported cases, which eases the diagnosis of the disorder. However, the concerned experts argue that the treatment of antisocial personality disorder is challenging compared to other related disorders. Almost all the characteristics that define the disorder in individuals are deviant from the societal norms and often violate the law by infringing on the rights of others, as well as, direct involvement in extreme criminal activities. This aspect of a direct relationship between the characteristics and the boundaries permissible by the law is what causes the persistent criminal conduct on affected individuals (Luntz et al., 1994).
Etiology and pathogenesis experts have not succeeded in determining the exact causes of antisocial personality disorder, only speculating that the condition could be attributed to genetic hereditary and environmental factors. Although the condition depicts onset symptoms before 15th birthday anniversary, the diagnosis is validated when an affected individual has attained the majority age of 18. Societal and law provision expectations exclude minors because of the notion that their minds have not yet matured resulting in irrationality and indifference conduct (Johnson et al., 2000). Substance -related antisocial personality disorder is not diagnosed unless it can be ascertained that the signs were present before the individual attained a majority age or before the indulgence in drugs. On the other hand, antisocial behaviors that are exclusively related to Schizophrenia or Maniac Episode do not merit the diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder. Schizophrenia and Maniac Episode are special psychiatric cases that are motivated by completely different factors from those that are antisocial personality disorder related (Rogers et al., 2000).
Antisocial personality disorder has often been cited by jurists and judges in criminal cases as the reasons to reduce the punishments and even pardon the defendants who are found guilty of committing criminal offences. Because of the direct relationship between the depicted behaviors and the parameters that are provided in the law, criminology experts and other concerned parties have managed to convince the judicial administrators to reduce the penalties and pardon completely individuals with such conditions (Brooner et al., 1992). The rationality behind the reduction of penalties is the fact that the persons are not in their right senses and view the law and societal limits as their core problematic factors, therefore, bringing a continuous conflict. Amongst the common antisocial personality disorder symptoms are namely: failure to conform to social norms, impulsivity, deceitfulness, irritability and aggressiveness and reckless disregard for personal and others’ safety. Lack of remorse to the deserving situations and consistent irresponsibility indicated by repeated dishonor of various types of responsibilities are other common symptoms that are seen in affected persons. All of the mentioned symptoms of antisocial personality disorder conflict expressly with the law and societal provisions, which makes the affected person readily vulnerable to engaging in criminal activities (Riser et al., 2013).
Failure to conform to the societal norms is a symptom, which is itself a crime. Law and administration of justice experts have argued that non-conformity to the law provisions is a misconduct that merits punishment and correction. Because the persons with antisocial personality disorder conditions are extensively known not to obey the law and societal norms, they often become the first ones to engage in criminal activities. Deceitfulness being an antisocial personality disorder symptom is a vice that motivates the various criminal behaviors, such as, conning for personal profit and use of aliases to manipulate processes and obtain a gain in the end among others. Persons who lie to square situations and make ends meet are the exploiters and manipulators of society, which merits the criminal label threshold (Rogers et al., 2000). Impulsivity, which is the failure to plan, is another symptom that motivates the engagement on criminal activities by the affected persons. Failure to plan ahead normally give rise to undesirable economic and social conditions, which motivates the affected individuals to engage in such shortcuts as stealing and manipulating to obtain a gain and, therefore, improved economic and social living. Irritability and aggressiveness make the affected persons to be in continuous conflict with the external environmental factors. This is characterized by initiating repeated physical fights and assaults to other humans or animals. Irritability and aggressiveness make the individuals who are diagnosed with the condition to be susceptible to engaging in criminality. Therefore, they are often found in the wrong side of the law by assaulting and fighting others. Reckless disregard for personal and others’ safety subjects the affected persons to criminality in the form of engaging in risky behaviors as crossing busy roads when the cars are speeding, thereby exposing oneself and other road users to possible accidents (Luntz et al., 1994). Consistent irresponsibility symptom, on the other hand, enables the individual to dishonor his or her financial, family and work obligations among others. Unsustainable consistent behavior, which results in incidental segregation, dismissal in employment contracts and rise in civil suits among others, motivate affected persons to engage in other criminal acts that are justified by the need to make a living despite all the negative experiences. Dismissed and segregated persons tend to be deceitful and irritable, which makes them susceptible to committing criminal acts because of the succeeding symptoms. Lack of remorse symptom, which is associated with behaviors such as indifferent to having been hurt and mistreated by others These aspects makes the individuals diagnosed with the condition to institute revenge activities against perceived infringement of his rights, which eventually give rise to criminal activities (Schaeffer et al., 2003).
American Psychiatric Association, an agency that deals with all the matters that are psychiatric related in the United States, have laid down other criteria to be used in the diagnosis of the disorder. Apart from the mentioned symptoms, it has been ascertained that the evidence of conduct disorder in an individual is validated by such conducts as bullying, threatening and intimidating others. Others include use of a weapon to cause physical harm to others, physical cruelty to others, stealing while confronting a victim and forcing others into accepting sexual acts (Johnson et al., 2000). Deliberate destruction of property through fires or normal vandalizing is also a behavior to be used in ascertaining the antisocial personality disorder in persons. Other characteristics that are depicted include staying out at night despite parental prohibition, run away from home, truant from school, among others, are seen in the adolescents. All the actions constitute a serious violation of the set rules. The behaviors that are mentioned by the American Psychiatric Association as the determinants of the presence of the condition all tend to conflict directly with the law. This is yet another reason for the persons with the condition to be prone to engaging in illegal and criminal activities. Because the characteristics that are mentioned by the psychiatric experts seem to have been predetermined to conflict with the laws of the land, the affected individuals are most likely to have engaged in criminal activity in one way or another subsequent to diagnosis period. This aspect of relationship between the two elements i.e. the law and the determining characteristics predisposes the persons suffering from the conditions to criminality (Rogers et al., 2000).
Psychologists and social scientists have cited the need for certain social skills in individuals that are essential to healthy social functioning. Such skills enable one to act and view situations with rationality and make sound decisions. Research has found out that the persons suffering from antisocial personality disorder often lack the social skills that are fundamental to healthy relationship with others and the environment. The skills are respect, responsibility and honesty, as well as, cooperation and kindness. Other essential social skills are chastity, control of anger and caution. Because of the lack of such skills in the persons diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder, the individuals tend to be motivated to live abnormal lives that motivate them to engagement in criminal activities. Disrespect and dishonesty makes one to be susceptible to committing an offence that is enabled by the absence of the values, which forms a boundary between the good and the bad. Control of anger and caution allows one to limit the reaction whenever confronted by an external factor (Riser et al., 2013). Lack of kindness and cooperation, on the other hand, causes callousness and inconsiderate of other people’s concerns, which justifies the reason as to why one should be engaged in criminal activities that infringe the rights of other persons. Absence of chastity directly motivates the individual to engage in forceful sexual activities with other persons in the society, which gives rise to a criminal activity of rape and assault. Therefore, the lack of the two essential social skills exposes persons to high possibilities of performing illegal acts should a confronting external factor be met. This direct relationship with the absence of social skills and violation of the law provisions is the causation factor that informs criminality on antisocial personality disorder individuals (Schaeffer et al., 2003).
In the social functioning context, individuals with antisocial personality disorder are often faced with a series of failures. Divorce, drug abuse, depression, anxiety, homelessness, unemployment and criminal conduct, among others, are the kinds of characteristics that face the affected persons in the social functioning setting. Because of the failures and dysfunction that is experienced, the individuals tend to deviate from the societal norms, which motivate a series of other incidental criminal activities. Because of the consequential situations caused by social dysfunction, individuals become vulnerable to other negative environmental factors, which motivate them to engage in criminal activities by the mere disregard of themselves and others (Brooner et al., 1992). The delinquency in adolescents, which is caused by antisocial personality disorders, is characterized with violence and law breaking. Such individuals become the school bullies, vandals, thieves and drug traffickers, among other misbehaviors associated with the adolescents. Without proper correction measures by the various societal stakeholders, such adolescents carry their behaviors into adulthood, which subjects them to even more criminality activities because of many motivation factors introduced in adulthood. What is more, Delinquent adolescents who graduate into adulthood with their misconduct become more antagonistic portraying exaggerated sense of self-importance, insensitivity towards the external environments and exploitation of others for self -gain. This various aspects form the motives for such young adults to continue with their criminal engagements, which give rise of direct relationship between antisocial personality disorder and persistent conflict with the various law provisions. Such direct relationships form the primary predisposition of antisocial personality disorder individuals to involve always in criminality conducts (Riser et al., 2013).
Studies have validated the increased disinhibition in adults that are diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder. Disinhibition on the natural tends to be associated with high-risk taking, irresponsibility and impulsivity. Actions without necessary consideration for related consequences and immediate gratification are other elements that are associated with the disinhbition aspect in the antisocial personality disorder diagnosed individuals (Brooner et al., 1992). These various elements of disinhibition in such individuals are directly associated with crime involvement. Such association informs the reason why persons suffering from antisocial personality disorder are prone to criminal activities. Need for stimulation and promiscuous sexual behavior gives rise to sexual harassment, assault and rape cases, which are criminal in nature. Some Persons that depict antisocial personality disorder inherit the behaviors from their parents and other societal role models. Fractured families and societies shape the youth to accept that the misbehavior towards the external environment is normal. They tend to exhibit related behaviors in school and other social settings, which make them, develop antisocial personality disorder in their adulthood (Rogers et al., 2000).
While criminal behavior is directly associated with antisocial personality disorder, more aspects exist in the later than the former. This is revealed by a study that found a less than 50 percent figure of antisocial personality among the prisoners. Another revelation is presented by an epidemiological study, which found that 47 percent of persons meeting the antisocial disorder threshold had serious crime arrest warrants and the majority rest depict less risky societal behaviors, such as, aggression, promiscuity and unemployment. The two study findings explain that, although the relationship between the antisocial personality and crime rate is direct, an aspect of lack of straightforwardness in the relationship is suggested (Riser et al., 2013). Therefore, more epidemiological studies should be undertaken to ascertain other underlying factors on antisocial personality, rather than just subjectively relying on criminal versatility. Mental health professionals do not rely on criminality in conducting several antisocial behavior treatments, they use such features as unstable interpersonal relationships, disregard of consequences of actions, failure to learn from experiences, disregard for other people’s concerns, egocentricity and persistent rule breaking. This help the clinicians and other psychiatric professionals in addressing the root cause of such deviation in expected behaviors, which solves criminality prevalence in the medium and long runs (Widiger et al., 1996).
Because of increased cases of antisocial personality disorder and the real risk that it subjects to other societal elements, a national initiative called Dangerous and Severe Personality Disorder (DSPD) program was conceived and implemented. The national initiative is intended to design policies and offer advice on the way the future should be faced in relation to the risks that affected person’s subjects the rest of the society. Such a program conducts among others the treatment in high security and prison areas to men suffering from the disorder. They are taken through cognitive behavioral programs that are intended to reduce the risk that is inherent in affected persons. Other remedial actions that are used to reduce the number of such cases in any given societal context include pharmacological treatment, psychological treatments, psychological interventions and intervention for offenders. Pharmacological treatment involves the use of available drugs that are in the form of antidepressants, hypnotics, anxiolytics and central nervous system stimulants (Riser et al., 2013). Although research findings expressly state that pharmacological treatments produce limited results and therefore ineffective if used alone. Psychological treatment, on the other hand, applies cognitive behavioral approaches. A psychological intervention involves the therapeutic community and other aspects that try to achieve reduced cases of antisocial personality. The therapeutic community was widely used in the 20th century and have proved to be effective than the first two. Intervention for offenders is the use of psychological and pharmacological treatments on the offenders who are confined in high security facilities. Such intervention actions for offenders aim to transform individuals in the correctional facility to become better beings. Due to the risk that the public is exposed to in the face of an antisocial personality individual, an ethical concern have been raised, which compels the mental health professionals to proactively participate in recommending various remedial actions that reduce the exposure (Schaeffer et al., 2003).
Antisocial personality disorder being a mentally related disorder poses a real risk to the societal security. This is informed by the various characteristics that are depicted by such personalities, which predisposes them to engagement in criminal activities. The relationship of the antisocial personality and criminality is direct but epidemiological studies have revealed that there is more to the antisocial personality than just criminality. Criminality is just the popularized vice that is associated with the disorder, but a more concentration on the issue suggests that more underlying elements exist (Widiger et al., 1996). Criminology and judicial experts need to perform more studies to ascertain the existence and impact of the other factors. This will give such experts an informed view of the whole issue, which enable objective administration and dispensing of justice to the societies. Without a more informed and objective study, the criminals could advance their quest using the antisocial personality to veil against the long reaching arm of the law.
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