If one is suffering from antisocial personality disorder, then they are not likely to believe that they need help. However, it is possible for them to seek help from their doctor for symptoms of depression and anxiety or to treat substance abuse, as effects of having the disorder.

Antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) involves a lifelong pattern of manipulation, dishonesty, and the violation of the rights of others. If one is suffering from antisocial personality disorder, then they are not likely to believe that they need help. However, it is possible for them to seek help from their doctor for symptoms of depression and anxiety or to treat substance abuse, as effects of having the disorder.

Cognitive Therapy for Antisocial Personality Disorder

Cognitive therapy was initially established to help individuals suffering from depression, though the method has been applied to ASPD patients in modern treatments. Those with antisocial personality disorder usually lack the motivation to improve because they do not see themselves as others do, especially in a negative light. However, cognitive therapy can benefit the individual by helping them understand how they create their own problems through a distorted sense of self-perception.

For an individual with antisocial personality disorder to benefit from cognitive behavior therapy, they will need to attend sessions regularly and actively participate in any outside work or assignments that the therapist suggests.

Therapists must remain cautious of their own feelings to prevent their emotional bias toward their patient’s arrogance and unlikableness from disrupting the therapy process. The best option for cognitive behavior therapy must include a professional who is experienced in ASPD, anticipates the patient’s emotions and presents an attitude of acceptance without criticizing.

Medications for Treating Antisocial Personality Disorder

While there isn’t a specific medication associated with treating antisocial personality disorder, some drugs have shown to reduce aggressive behavior and psychotic symptoms in the individual.

There are medications that may help relieve mental health disorders that commonly coexist with antisocial personality disorder, including depression and anxiety.

Aggression-Reducing Medications

There are two medications that may help a person reduce symptoms of aggression or anger impulses: Phenytoin and Lithium Carbonate.

Phenytoin (Dilantin) is often prescribed to prevent or control certain types of seizures that arise due to brain or spinal cord surgery. The medication reduces the abnormal electrical activity in the brain, which is present in antisocial personality disorder patients. Evidence suggests that Phenytoin could aid in the reduction of the presence and the intensity of impulsive aggressive acts among individuals with antisocial personality disorder.

Lithium Carbonate can be useful in the treatment of some non-manic-depressive personality disorders. This drug was found to reduce anger, threatening behavior and combativeness among individuals with ASPD. The drug also was shown to reduce negative behaviors in children, such as bullying, fighting and temper outbursts.

Antipsychotic Medications

For various patients, antipsychotic medication may help improve some of the symptoms present in ASPD. Antipsychotic medications appear to assist in stabilizing moods and help to regulate brain functioning, which controls mood, perception and thinking. Antipsychotics usually act quickly and can help patients avoid the careless and impulsive behaviors connected to their disorder. Healthy thought processes may be experienced within a few weeks of use. They are sometimes used as a long-term treatment for those who are not responding to Lithium or Phenytoin.

Other Therapies for Antisocial Personality Disorder

A style of therapy that is proven to work well for antisocial personality disorder patients is group therapy. Antisocial personality support groups can be helpful because they are specifically tailored to help treat antisocial personality disorder. Though the idea of gathering multiple individuals who often exude arrogance and aggression all in one room may seem dangerous, patients usually feel more at ease in this setting. The participants typically feel more open to discuss their emotions and behaviors in front of their peers. Many support groups are available throughout the United States that are devoted to helping individuals with antisocial personality disorder.

Individuals with antisocial personality disorder who have loved ones may benefit from family counseling. Bringing family members and friends into the treatment process may help antisocial patients realize the impact their disorder has on their loved ones. Therapists who specialize in family counseling may help address a patient’s difficulties maintaining a resilient attachment to their spouse or partner. Family counseling may assist them in understanding their struggles being an effective parent, honest and responsible, and the hostility that can lead to domestic violence.

Treating Antisocial Personality Disorder and Co-Occurring Conditions

Individuals who have antisocial personality disorder are at high risk for co-occurring substance abuse, gambling addiction and contracting HIV due to risky behavior. Alcohol has been shown to be the most commonly abused substance of antisocial personality disorder patients because it helps relieve tension, irritability and monotony in their lives.

The National Institute for Drug Abuse estimates that between 40 percent and 50 percent of patients who enter treatment for addiction or substance abuse have antisocial personality disorder. The Graduate Journal of Counseling Psychology suggested that as much as 90 percent of individuals with antisocial personality disorder have a co-occurring substance use disorder.

The best treatment options are contingent on the individual’s needs and circumstances. Treatment must be designed for the specific person‘s needs to be successful. The National Institute of Drug Abuse has found that certain ideologies of treatment show the highest rates of effectiveness, including the following:

  • Treatment emphases on all individual needs, not just the addiction
  • Patient remains in treatment for an adequate length of time
  • Medications are beneficial to some suffering from addiction

Outpatient care is suggested for individuals with antisocial personality disorder unless the person is at risk or injuring themselves or others. Individuals with ASPD can be disorderly in hospitals and inpatient care facilities by becoming belligerent when their demands are not met.

The Recovery Village can help with symptoms of antisocial personality disorder when it’s a co-occurring disorder along with substance abuse. People who struggle with antisocial personality symptoms can receive help from the facility that best suits their needs in terms of location, therapy options and levels of care. If you or a loved one suffers from antisocial personality disorder as a co-occurring issue along with addiction to drugs or alcohol, call The Recovery Village to speak with a representative.

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Editor – Devin Golden
Devin Golden has worked for various print and digital news organizations. Devin's family has been affected by addiction and mental health disorders, which is a large part of why he wants to help others who have either directly or indirectly been affected by these diseases. Read more
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Medically Reviewed By – Krisi Herron, LCDC
Krisi Herron is an Adjunct Psychology Professor, a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor and a freelance writer who contributes to several mental health blogs. Read more
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.