Personality and Antisocial Mental Disorders

Antisocial and personality disorders make it difficult for people to relate comfortably to situations and to other people.

Those with a personality disorder tend to have a pattern of thinking and behavior that is rigid to the point of being unhealthy. The result is relationship problems and difficulties in social situations, school and work. More is being understood about these disorders, and effective treatments are being developed that are providing some relief and help.

Categorizing Antisocial & Personality Disorders and their Symptoms

There are many different disorders classified under this category. They are grouped into 3 specific classes of personality disorders.

  • Cluster A Personality Disorders: These include Paranoid personality disorder, Schizoid personality disorder and Schizotypal personality disorder. Basic symptoms include distrust and suspicion, hostility, emotional detachment and limited expression, a disregard for social contact, apathy toward others, odd beliefs or behaviors and avoidance of relational intimacy.
  • Cluster B Personality Disorders: These include Antisocial personality disorder, Borderline personality disorder, Histrionic personality disorder and Narcissistic personality disorder. Symptoms include disregard for others, persistent lying, aggressive or violent behavior, excessively risky behavior, unstable emotions, persistent relational problems, suicidal thoughts or behavior, impulsive actions, seeking attention, overly emotional, excessive need for approval and obsession with physical appearance.
  • Cluster C Personality Disorders: These include Avoidant personality disorder, Dependent personality disorder and Obsessive-Compulsive personality disorder (not to be confused with OCD or Obsessive-Compulsive disorder). Symptoms include over-sensitivity to criticism, isolation, feelings of inadequacy, persistent dependence on or submissiveness to others, putting up with abusive treatment, the need to be in a relationship at all times, preoccupation with rules, extreme perfectionism, a need to control, inflexibility and hoarding of broken or worn out items.

It is important to note that those who suffer from personality disorders often experience related mental struggles. These include depression or other mood disorders, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, excessive anger, self-injury, school or work problems, difficulties with stress management or sex addiction.

The Causes of Antisocial & Personality Disorders

Most mental health professionals believe that the genetic component of antisocial and personality disorders is the strongest root cause. This might be characterized by “nature,” but “nurture” also seems to play a role. The environment of your formative years, early relationships and life events often contribute to the development of these personality disorders.

Risk Factors for Antisocial & Personality Disorders

Many studies have shown a pattern of risk factors associated with these problems. Do these apply to you? Those with personality disorders often have a family history of mental illness, grew up in poverty or low-income homes, experienced some type of abuse as a child or were neglected, had an unstable family or experienced a family breakup such as divorce, or had a parent die when they were young.

Finding Help for Antisocial & Personality Disorders

The good news is that there are very effective treatments for these challenging disorders. Those that pursue treatment feel better and the quality of their lives improves remarkably. Through a physical exam, lab work and psychological evaluation, a program of medication and counseling therapy can be designed to help you overcome antisocial and personality disorders.

The first step is to talk with your personal doctor if you have one. He or she might refer you to a psychiatrist and/or psychotherapist (counselor) who is skilled in these issues. Medication, individual, group or family therapy might be part of your personal solution. There are several forms of psychotherapeutic counseling that produce excellent results for those struggling with these issues. They include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectic Behavior Therapy and Psychodynamic Behavior Therapy.

Often, antisocial disorders and personality disorders can be treated in an outpatient setting, but in severe cases, short-term inpatient therapy might be advisable.

The Cost of Treatment and the Place of Insurance

Inpatient treatment is very expensive, and while outpatient therapy costs less, it still involves the cost of psychotherapy and medication.

The good news is that most medical insurance covers treatment for mental health issues like these at the same level they cover physical health issues. This is a result of the 2008 Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act passed by Congress. If you have health insurance, it will likely provide substantial coverage for mental health care.

In addition, mental health professionals including family doctors, psychiatrists and psychotherapists will work with you to devise a program that meets your needs and is adaptable to your insurance coverage.

Many mental health experts also encourage those who suffer from these issues to consider what the disorder is costing them in terms of their mental health, relationships, school or career. Taking these costs into account often motivate a sufferer of an antisocial or personality disorder to seek treatment, even if the out of pocket cost is significant.

It makes sense to find out what your insurance covers and then seek treatment that will meet your needs and give you the brighter future you desire.