Children with antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) often disregard and violate the rights of other children around them. As observed, they can be charming and fun to be around at times, but they usually exploit others and break the conventional rules for their own needs or wants. ASPD makes them act destructively without feeling guilty about their actions that can hurt other people. The disorder usually starts in childhood or adolescence and continue into adulthood.
“The patient diagnosed as having APD often ends up “clogging up” the legal and mental health systems, continually relapsing and given to extensive utilization of mental health treatment services with little positive change.” Frederick Rotgers, PsyD, ABPP says.
“Sociopath” and “psychopath” are often used to describe those having ASPD. Among these two terms, a sociopath is closely associated with the antisocial personality disorder which signifies the inability to deal with standard social restriction and arrangement. A psychopath, on the other hand, is a critical form of sociopath that is characterized by dishonesty, manipulation and risk-taking behavior. Psychopathic tendencies may or may not be present to children with an antisocial personality disorder.
Coping Strategies ForASPD Child
Studies on these cases suggest that some children learn to deal with an antisocial personality disorder by mimicking behaviors that are ideal for establishing relationships with other people and often carried out in daily interaction. These children commonly possess high intelligent quotient (IQ) who have developed such a robust coping mechanism that is used against their medical condition.
Causes Of ASPD In Children
“Researchers believe that genetics plays some role, as having a parent with the disorder puts one more at risk. Research on adopted children of parents with the disorder indicates that environment may also be a factor, such as when children receive poor discipline, have negative role models, or are not taught to respect the rights of others. Children of an alcoholic parent are also at increased risk.” says Kathleen Smith, PhD, LPC.
The possible causes of antisocial personality disorder in children include genetics and environmental factors. Some pieces of evidence prove that if a parent does have ASPD, his/her child is at risk of having it too. Chances of having antisocial personality disorder are high in adoptive children compared to natural even if their home life is nurturing and supportive. However, environmental factors impose a higher risk. A child raised by his/her parents or other people having such condition increases the chance that the child may inherit it too. Sexual abuse, physical harm and severe neglect can also be the reasons for antisocial personality disorder in children.
One of the most difficult to treat personality disorders is the antisocial personality disorder. Methods and medication to help the condition may be different from one person to another. ASPD children can’t be taught meaningful ways on how to develop empathy toward others, understand the causes and effects of their actions and the ability to feel emotions.
Anti-depressants are used to stabilize emotions and as a treatment to balance some of the resulting symptoms and problems, but it is only given in later life.
“People with antisocial personality disorder who seek care do so for other problems such as marital discord, alcohol or drug abuse or suicidal thoughts.” Donald Black, MD said.
It is hard for a person to comply with these medications due to the nature of antisocial personality disorder. These drugs are usually abused or not taken at all. Self-help groups, modern behavioral modification techniques, and long-term residential care can also be given to people having ASPD. These will deviate their attention from committing anti-social activities and will help to function normally.
If antisocial personality disorder in children is not appropriately managed while they are still young, it will result in their inability to establish and maintain relationships or deal generally with daily activities as they grow. Chances are they will become unemployed which can result in homelessness, alcohol and drug addiction, or worst, be engaged in criminal activity.