Home » Addiction Information » Drug Addiction » Antisocial Personality Disorder and Addiction

Antisocial Personality Disorder and Addiction

There is a variety of mental health disorders that occur in combination with addiction. One of those common disorders is the antisocial personality disorder. It is a psychological condition that is associated with destructive thinking, perception, and relationships with others.

Individuals with this disorder have no regard for rules, society, and other people. It has been studied that those who suffer from this condition are more likely to be involved with addiction, aggression, and violence. They often get in trouble with the police, have difficulties holding down a job, and have an inability to maintain meaningful relationships with others.

Since antisocial individuals find difficult to receive guidance from others, treatment for addiction is even more complex. These people need an integrated treatment plan designed for those with a dual diagnosis.

Defining Antisocial Personality Disorder

Antisocial personality disorder is a condition that causes the individual to display a dysfunctional manner of behaving, functioning, and thinking about others and themselves. These people use antagonization and manipulation as power, and show no regard for right or wrong. Antisocial individuals struggle to have friends, spend a significant amount of time behind bars, and develop addictions.

Current studies show that genetic inheritance and exposure to abuse during childhood play a vital role in the development of the disorder. Some of the risks for developing antisocial personality disorder include having a parent with addiction, having a parent with the disorder, and being male. The disorder develops during childhood and adolescence, and sometimes animal cruelty and arson can point toward a future antisocial personality disorder. Since people with the disorder do not voluntarily enter rehab, their treatment generally happens due to a court order, or in a prison environment.

According to research, nearly 1 percent of the US adult population struggles with antisocial personality disorder. These individuals display lack of empathy, self-appraisal, and superficial charm. This disorder is a complex pattern of inner experience and behavior that is seen in two or more of these areas: cognition, interpersonal functioning, or impulse control.

Signs and Symptoms of Antisocial Personality Disorder

People with antisocial personality disorder can often seem charming and likeable. However, this is due to their expertise in manipulating situations and appearing very trustworthy. The reality is they are irresponsible impulsive, and have no empathy or remorse. The symptoms usually manifest at an early age and are most evident during a person’s 20s and 30s, but may decrease with age. These are the most common signs and symptoms of antisocial personality disorder:

  • Disregard for rules and laws.
  • Frequent lying.
  • Engaging in illegal activities.
  • Displaying lack or planning for the future.
  • Exhibiting aggressiveness.
  • Demonstrating a lack of responsibility in all aspects of life.
  • Showing no remorse.
  • Egocentrism and a feeling of superiority.
  • Having unhealthy or abusive relationships.
  • Risking the safety of others to benefit self.
  • Tendency to alienate others.
  • Establishing fear to get what they want.
  • Indifference to self-harm.
  • Easy use of charm and wit when required.

Personality Features

A person with antisocial personality disorder may seem:

  • Arrogant.
  • Superficially charming.
  • Self-assured.
  • Extremely opinionated.
  • Exploitative.
  • Irresponsible in parenting, school, work, and finances.
  • Manipulative.
  • Narcissistic.
  • Depressed.
  • Tense.
  • Intolerant to boredom.

The Correlation between Addiction and Antisocial Personality Disorder

Many people with antisocial personality disorder struggle with drug or alcohol addiction. This may be because these individuals do not respect themselves or their bodies, and do not take consider the life-long consequences of addiction. It is found that roughly 90% of those struggling with antisocial personality disorder develop a co-occurring substance use disorder.

As with most psychological disorders, there is no identifiable cause associated with antisocial personality disorder. Environmental factors that contribute to the development of it, include childhood abuse, cruelty to animals, having an antisocial parent, having an addict parent, growing up in a lower social economic background, and other traumatic events during childhood. Research shows that men are more affected by this disorder than women. It seems that antisocial personality disorder develops as a combination of unidentified genetic influences and specific environmental factors.

The simultaneous presence of substance abuse and antisocial personality disorder is known as comorbidity. People with comorbidity tend to start abusing at an earlier age than those who do not have the disorder. Addicts with antisocial personality disorder develop serious abuse-related problems faster than abusers without the disorder.

Addictions that most commonly co-occur with antisocial personality disorder involve:

  • Alcohol.
  • Hallucinogens.
  • Sedatives and anxiolytics.
  • Cannabis.
  • Opioids.
  • Stimulants.

Individuals with dual-diagnosis need a comprehensive form of treatment. If left untreated, the drug addiction can make individuals with antisocial behaviors much more impulsive, aggressive, and unsympathetic. This could lead to brutal acts against other people or oneself.

In addition, many studies suggest that antisocial behaviors tend to decrease with time, and the most intense symptoms fade away when the individual reaches age 40 or 50. Regardless of this, antisocial personality disorder should not be left untreated in the hopes it will disappear on its own.

Treatment for Antisocial Personality Disorder and Addiction

The ideal treatment approach depends on the individual’s needs and circumstances. It should be tailored to the specific person in order to be successful. There are certain principles of treatment that have proven to be most effective, including:

  • The individual must remain in treatment for a sufficient period of time.
  • Treatment should address both the addiction and the needs of the individual.
  • The individual must participate in effective individual and group therapy sessions.
  • Medications can assist in recovery from addiction.
  • Although relapse may occur, it is important for the individual to stay in treatment and continue to improve.

Individuals with antisocial personality disorder tend to have an aggrandized sense of self, and may be unaware that their abuse has reached the level of addiction. They are more likely to drop out of treatment and have an increased risk for relapse. A recent study showed that treatment is more effective for those who have antisocial personality disorder when treatment is court mandated.

Individual should look for a reputable dual diagnosis rehab that treats co-occurring substance addiction and antisocial personality disorder. The best facilities will provide the following:

Assessment and evaluation

The individual will be evaluated and their mental health will be diagnosed. The center must check the severity of the addition and the disorder in order to develop an individualized treatment plan.

Detoxification services

Detoxification is the foundation for a successful recovery. The rehab must offer medication-assisted detox to help relieve the symptoms of withdrawal, giving patients the optimal chance at sobriety.  


Specific medications can help in recovery from addiction and antisocial personality disorder. Some medications can relieve the symptoms of withdrawal and reduce cravings. The most commonly-used medications include methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone.


Long-term inpatient therapy, followed by continued outpatient therapy, tends to be the most effective in reducing the symptoms of antisocial personality disorder. Studies have shown that some of the most effective modes of therapies in the treatment of addiction among people with antisocial personality disorder include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Contingency Management.


Aftercare is the next step following the completion of formal treatment. Once the patient graduates from residential treatment, they are presented with an appropriate aftercare plan. Aftercare services may include therapy, sober living homes, 12-step programs, holistic approaches, or outpatient treatment.


For more information please call this Toll Free 24/7 Addiction Treatment Helpline at (844) 439-4765. This is a completely confidential call. If you have health insurance it may cover up to 100% of the treatment cost. So please call now!

Comments are closed.