Is antisocial personality disorder a mental illness? Get the answers here and learn more about treatment for antisocial personality disorder.

The characteristics of Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD) cause distress and may make it difficult for people living with the disorder to function in their social, work or family life. For that reason, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition, (DSM-V) considers ASPD a mental illness.

Mental Illness Statistics

According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), mental illness is characterized by changes in emotions, thinking, behavior or any combination of the three. Mental illnesses are often responsible for causing people distress and problems functioning and maintaining a social, work or family routine. Living with a mental illness is common. According to the APA, in one year:

  • Nearly one in five (19 percent) of adults live with at least one mental health condition in America
  • One in 24 (4.1 percent) of adults develop a severe mental illness
  • One in 12 (8.5 percent) of adults also have a co-occurring disorder like substance use disorder

Why ASPD is a Mental Illness: Characteristics of Antisocial Personality Disorder

The dominant symptoms of ASPD — arrogance, hostility and aggression — often result in recurring problems with law enforcement due to their lack of regard for right and wrong behaviors.

People with ASPD also refuse to adhere to social norms, which may cause them to be fired from their jobs frequently. Their impulsive behavior can also put them in some dangerous situations.

Someone living with ASPD has little to no empathy, so it can be challenging for them to have healthy relationships. Because of the difficulties they face due to their symptoms, they may develop a drug addiction if they discover that drugs can relieve their stressors. Co-occurring substance use disorders are common for people with ASPD because they often try to use a substance to manage their symptoms.

Because ASPD is a mental illness, treatment can help people living with the disorder manage their symptoms. If you or someone you know struggles with a substance use disorder and co-occurring disorder like ASPD, help is available. At The Recovery Village, a team of professionals provides treatment programs for substance use and co-occurring disorders. Call and speak with a representative to learn more about which treatment program could work for you.


Parekh, Ranna, M.D., M.P.H. “What Is Mental Illness?” American Psychiatric Association, August 2018. Accessed February 20, 2019.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.