How is antisocial personality disorder diagnosed?

antisocial personality disorder

Antisocial disorder and how it’s diagnosed

The diagnosis and treatment of sociopathy, or antisocial personality disorder, or indeed psychopathy, is quite difficult.

How is it diagnosed?

Firstly, the diagnosis is one that’s made by a combination of observing their behaviour, getting accounts from third parties, and really looking at its core, when there is also an interview with that individual, about their ability to have empathy towards others, particularly when they act in a manner which is causing some form of suffering towards that individual. And sometimes multiple interviews are required, or sometimes indeed, one has to get reports from others to help determine whether they have this antisocial or sociopathic personality.

Can anti-social personality disorder be treated?

Treatment is very unlikely to be successful. Personality disorders are deep, longstanding, enduring traits, particularly sociopathic personality disorders, have come about through some form of adverse childhood experiences, and those adverse childhood experiences tend to have deeply ingrained consequences that make them very hard to respond to treatment. Occasionally a very motivated individual at a relatively young age may gain some response, but more so if they are at the lower end of the spectrum of this personality disorder.

Contact SANE Australia


Helpline:1800 187 263

General enquiries:+61 3 9682 5933

Fax:+61 3 9682 5944

Presented by, Dr Matthew Cullen, Psychiatrist, St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney


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