Fact sheet on comorbid disorders with Aspergers and Autism, two Autism Spectrum Disorders


Antisocial personality disorder (abbreviated APD or ASPD) is a psychiatric diagnosis in the DSM-IV-TR recognizable by the disordered individual’s impulsive behavior, disregard for social norms, and indifference to the rights and feelings of others. The closely related concept psychopathy, which should not be confused with psychosis, covers a generally more severe personality disorder. The World Health Organization’s ICD-10 diagnostic manual uses dissocial personality disorder instead. The term sociopathy, although having no current diagnostic criteria, is also sometimes used.


Characteristics of Antisocial personality disorder

Central to understanding individuals diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder, or at least psychopathy, is that they appear to experience a limited range of human emotions. This can explain their lack of empathy for the suffering of others, since they cannot experience the emotion associated with either empathy or suffering. Risk-seeking behavior and substance abuse may be attempts to escape feeling empty or emotionally void. The rage exhibited by psychopaths and the anxiety associated with certain types of antisocial personality disorder may represent the limit of emotion experienced, or there may be physiological responses without analogy to emotion experienced by others.

Research has shown that individuals with antisocial personality disorder are indifferent to the possibility of physical pain or many punishments, and show no indications that they experience fear when so threatened. This may explain their apparent disregard for the consequences of their actions, and their aforementioned lack of empathy.

One approach to explaining antisocial personality disorder behaviors is put forth by sociobiology, a science that attempts to understand and explain a wide variety of human behavior based on evolutionary biology. One route to doing so is by exploring evolutionarily stable strategies; that is, attempting to discern whether the APD phenotype has evolved because it gains fitness specifically within, or alongside, the survival strategies of other humans exhibiting different, perhaps complementary behaviors, e.g. in a symbiotic or parasitic manner. For example, in one well-known 1995 paper by Linda Mealey, chronic antisocial/criminal behavior is explained as a combination of two such strategies.


Approximately 4% of men and 7% of women are thought to have some form of antisocial personality disorder according to the DSM-IV.


Diagnosis of Antisocial personality disorder

Antisocial personality disorder and the closely related construct of psychopathy can be assessed and diagnosed through clinical interview, self-rating personality surveys, and ratings from coworkers and family.


Diagnostic criteria of the DSM-IV

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-IV, a widely used manual for diagnosing mental and behavioral disorders, defines antisocial personality disorder as a pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others occurring since age 15, as indicated by three (or more) of the following:
• repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest
• deceitfulness, as indicated by repeated lying or conning others
• impulsivity or failure to plan ahead
• irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by repeated fights or assaults
• reckless disregard for safety of self or others
• consistent irresponsibility
• lack of remorse or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another.


The manual lists the following additional necessary criteria:
• The individual is at least 18 years of age
• There is evidence of conduct disorder with onset before age 15 years
• Antisocial behavior is not exclusively during the course of Schizophrenia or a Manic Episode.


Click this button to close autism fact sheet

Click here for the full range of Asperger's and autism fact sheets at www.autism-help.org
This autism fact sheet is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation. It is derivative of an autism and Asperger's syndrome-related articles at http://en.wikipedia.org

Adults with Asperger's syndrome or Autism may be diagnosed with Antisocial personality disorder