Antisocial personality disorder is very difficult to treat. People with this disorder may not even want treatment or think they need it. But people with antisocial personality disorder need treatment and close follow-up over the long term.
People with antisocial personality disorder may also need treatment for other conditions, such as depression, anxiety or substance use disorders. Medical and mental health providers with experience treating antisocial personality disorder and commonly associated conditions are most likely to be helpful.
The best treatment or combination of treatments depends on each person's particular situation and severity of symptoms.
Psychotherapy, also called talk therapy, is sometimes used to treat antisocial personality disorder. Psychotherapy is not always effective, especially if symptoms are severe and the person can't admit that he or she contributes to problems.
Psychotherapy may be provided in individual sessions, in group therapy, or in sessions that include family or even friends.
There are no medications specifically approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat antisocial personality disorder. However, several types of psychiatric medications may help with certain conditions sometimes associated with antisocial personality disorder or with symptoms such as aggression. These medications may include antipsychotic, antidepressant or mood-stabilizing medications. They must be prescribed cautiously because some have the potential for misuse.
Skills for family members
If you have a loved one with antisocial personality disorder, it's critical that you also get help for yourself. Mental health professionals with experience managing this condition can teach you skills to learn how to set boundaries and help protect yourself from the aggression, violence and anger common to antisocial personality disorder. They can also recommend strategies for coping.
Ask the people on your loved one's treatment team for a referral. They may also be able to recommend support groups for families and friends affected by antisocial personality disorder.
Apr. 12, 2013
- Antisocial personality disorder. In: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-IV-TR. 4th ed. Arlington, Va.: American Psychiatric Association; 2000. http://www.psychiatryonline.com. Accessed March 1, 2013.
- Paris J, et al. Antisocial and borderline personality disorders revisited. Comprehensive Psychiatry. In press. Accessed March 1, 2013.
- Black DW. Antisocial personality disorder: Epidemiology, clinical manifestations, course and diagnosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 1, 2013.
- Black DW. Treatment of antisocial personality disorder. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 1, 2013.
- Shi Z, et al. Childhood maltreatment and prospectively observed quality of early care as predictors of antisocial personality disorder features. Infant Mental Health Journal. 2012;33:55.
- Kendall T, et al. Borderline and antisocial personality disorders: Summary of NICE guidance. British Medical Journal. 2009;338:293.
- Alarcon RD (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. March 21, 1013.
- Palmer BA (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. April 1, 2013.