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The Main Causes, Signs and Types of Antisocial Personality Disorder

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Antisocial Personality Disorder is a personality disorder characterized by long-term neglect or violation of the rights of others and difficulty maintaining long-term relationships. Personality disorders are often commonly caused by the combination of both biological and environmental factors. Below is a discussion of the causes of antisocial personality disorder.

One of the causes of personality disorder is biological factors. Many medical experts believe a person born with personality disorder often have different brain wirings that prevents them from learning from their mistakes or responding correctly to stress like fear and anger. Below are biological triggers why antisocial personality disorder develops:

  1. Hormones and neurotransmitters. The release of hormones can change patterns of development. For instance, the release of testosterone can lead to the aggressiveness of a person. Low levels of cortisol can also trigger impulsive behavior. On the other hand, several studies suggest that people who have lower levels of serotonin are also likely to suffer from personality disorders.
  2. Limbic neural mal-development. The limbic system is a set of brain structures located on the sides of the thalamus. It supports a wide array of function such as the emotion, motivation, behavior, long-term memory and adrenaline flow. This means that the emotional aspect of the brain is housed in this system. However, scientists have found out that people who suffer from maldevelopment of the limbic system are unable to process their emotions correctly which can lead to personality disorders.
  3. Head injuries. Many researches have linked head injuries to antisocial behavior. Scientists have associated traumatic brain injury that leads to damage of the prefrontal cortex to also cause antisocial personality disorder. A damaged prefrontal cortex leads to the inability to make socially and morally acceptable decisions and also leads to aggression. On the other hand, damage to the amygdale can also lead to aggressive behavior and loss of empathy.

On the other hand, the most common reason why people become sociopaths is more likely to be caused with environmental factors. Below is an in-depth discussion on the different environmental factors that can cause the antisocial personality disorders:

  1. Experiences. Experiences play a very important role to the development of antisocial personality disorder. The environmental causes of this personality disorder include any forms of deprivation, abandonment, sexual abuse and emotional abuse.
  2. Examples. Children who grew up with parents who also display antisocial behavior are also more likely to develop this personality disorder.

The warning signs that you are dealing with a sociopath

While sociopath is a personality disorder associated with aggression, detecting sociopaths in a room full of people can be very difficult. In fact, even sociopaths themselves are not aware that they are already suffering from this condition thus they are able to avoid medical help. Moreover, sociopaths are really good in both deception and manipulation. It is therefore important that you proceed with caution if you think you are dealing with a sociopath. Also, it is crucial that you also know how to recognize one. Below are the warning signs that you are dealing with a sociopath:

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  • Inconsistency with what a person says or does.
  • Lies repetitively for personal profit.
  • Constantly makes excuses when caught in a lie.
  • Inability to feel shame after being caught in an embarrassing situation.
  • Ability to sense vulnerabilities in others and using those [vulnerabilities] for personal gain or for manipulating others.
  • Inability to have empathy behind the rules and law.
  • Repeatedly doing acts that can serve as bases for arrest.
  • Disregard for safety for others or for oneself.
  • Shows cruelty to animals.
  • Readiness to blame others for their mistakes.
  • Inability to feel any guilt or to learn from their experiences.

Important to learn about the signs of this personality disorder. By doing so, you will be able to learn how to deal with them so that you will have a harmonious relationship with a person who is suffering from antisocial personality disorder.

Types of sociopaths

It is important to learn how to differentiate between psychopathy and sociopathy. Although both are personality disorders that people often interchange with one another, people who suffer from the former are often suspicious or paranoid that is translated to their aggressive behavior. Moreover, psychopaths are capable of having normal relationship as well as holding successful careers. They also place a lot of emphasis on planning especially if they plan to commit a crime. Sociopaths, on the other hand, are incapable of having deep relationship with other people and are often disorganized as well as erratic. Although different, there is a thin line that separates the two thus this section will discuss the different types of antisocial personality disorder or sociopathy to understand that not all sociopaths display the same behavioral symptoms:

  • Entitled Sociopath.This term involves the state of entitlement wherein a person who is suffering from this personality disorder has no ideals and does not feel shame in their actions. They also feel very satisfied in what they do – whether good or bad. Entitles sociopaths enjoy making fun of people in authority.
  • Amoral Sociopath. An amoral sociopath commits deeds without any sense of remorse, guilt or awareness of moral strictures. They also have weak perception to pain thus these kinds of sociopaths tend to enjoy torturing animals or watch animals kill each other.
  • Common Sociopath. Also termed as sub-cultural delinquents, common sociopaths have weak conscience as well as future perspective. However, they are still able to have relationships with other people albeit difficult. Most children who has one parent who is a common sociopath also grow up as one because either one of the parents or both provide a strong example to their kids.
  • Alienated Sociopath. Alienated sociopaths are individuals who haven’t developed the ability to affiliate with other people. An alienated sociopath has two sub-cultures and below is the discussion of the two types of alienated sociopaths.
  • Disaffiliated type. The disaffiliated sociopath is often a result of growing up in the absence of a nurturing parent. Children who grow up without learning the ability to love find it hard to reciprocate other people’s emotions or understand others as well.
  • Disempathetic types. This type of sociopath is capable of having emotional investment with people within his or her circle of empathy. This can mean that he is capable of loving his parents, friends and even his dog but reacts to most people only as objects.
  • Hostile types. Sociopaths react differently to external stimuli and hostile sociopaths are people who have aggressive and destructive attitude towards the members of the community.
  • Cheated types. Freud has mention about individuals who feels disadvantages by their physical disabilities, class origin, minority status or situation and thinks that they are always being cheated on because of their incapacities. Most sociopaths who are this type often feel that the world is out to get them and they tend to justify their reactions based on this assumption.

Theodore Million was a celebrated American psychologist who worked on personality disorders. He developed five subtypes of sociopaths: 1) nomadic (a person who is under this subtype often feels doomed and jinx: because of their fears, they have the tendency to adapt a nomadic life by wandering from one place to the other as well as dropping out from work or school); 2) malevolent (a malevolent sociopath is belligerent, brutal and resentful to people around him; they always anticipate betrayal from other people and desire revenge and punishment to people whom they think have wronged them); 3) covetous (a covetous sociopath feels deprived and denied of many things thus they discontentedly yearn for many things; they are envious, greedy and take a lot of pleasure in amassing things); 4) risk-taking (risk taking types are dauntless and bold thus they tend to do a lot of reckless things without thinking about the welfare of people around them); 5) reputation defending (this type of sociopath always builds an image of infallibility and invincibility thus when their status is questioned, they tend to over-react even on the slightest things).

Many psychologists also identify people who are narcissistic, paranoid and sadistic as forms or character types of sociopaths.

The thing is that there are different types of sociopaths and while many psychologists do not agree about the different character types of sociopaths, it is still important to take note that sociopaths are people who are devoid of feeling empathy towards other people.

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The Main Causes, Signs and Types of Antisocial Personality Disorder. (2022, August 25). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 8, 2023, from
“The Main Causes, Signs and Types of Antisocial Personality Disorder.” Edubirdie, 25 Aug. 2022,
The Main Causes, Signs and Types of Antisocial Personality Disorder. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 8 Dec. 2023].
The Main Causes, Signs and Types of Antisocial Personality Disorder [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Aug 25 [cited 2023 Dec 8]. Available from:
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