3 November 2014
Gray Matter & Antisocial Personality Disorder
Antisocial personality disorder (APD) is a very misunderstood disorder, where individuals are called “abnormal”, “sociopaths”, or “insane.” APD is classified as a chronic medical condition that modifies the way that a person thinks, perceives situations, and relating to others are dysfunctional. APD affect more then 3.5% of adults in the United States. People that have antisocial personality disorder have no regard for what is right and wrong and are more susceptible to violate the law, getting in trouble, and show no guilt or remorse. The people with APD also have difficulty knowing right from wrong, which causes them to behave violently and impulsive. They tend to turn to alcohol and drug use. Many of the individuals who do have ADP are unaware of their disorder because it is often over looked by health professionals and are more looked as criminal behavior.
APD is usually diagnosed when an abnormal behavior has occurred before the age of 15, although people over 15 can still get diagnosed with APD as well. A majority of individuals with APD have these symptoms: failure to conform to social norms, impulsivity, irritability, aggression, reckless disregard, lack of remorse, and deceitfulness. APD is 70% more prevalent in men then it is in women. This disorder is said to decrease with age, but is most extreme in the age of 40s and 50s.
APD is diagnosed only to people of 18 years of age or older. This is the only personality disorder that needs to be diagnosed if there was any evidence of having a similar disorder in their childhood. In order to make a diagnosis before the age of 18 for APD a conduct disorder (CD) diagnosis would have to be made before the age of 15. The CD criteria includes, “repetitive and persistent pattern in behavior in which the basic rights of others or major age appropriate social norms or rules are violated…” (Brito, 134). The diagnosis is made when there is a disturbance in the behavior or if there is anything off the norm for their appropriate age. It was stated in the book, “one-half of the adults diagnosed with ASPD meet the criteria for CD before the age of 10 and 95% by the age of 12 (Brito, 134.)
Gray matter plays an important role in the brain such as: hearing, memory, decision-making, emotions, speech, self-control, etc. If there was to be any type of disturbance this can causes several issues health wise such as alzeiheimers, or even pshycological disorders like ASPD. It has been thought that lack of gray matter could be a cause of ASPD or even contributed to it.
In the article, “The antisocial Brain: Psychotherpy Matters” they perform a study on a population of men who display antisocial and violent behavior and tried to see the differences in the gray matter of their prefrontal lobe and compare the differences. There objective was to see the “persistent violent offenders who meet criteria for antisocial personality disorder and the syndrome of psychopathy (ASPD+P) and those meeting criteria only for ASPD” (Gregory, 2012). The results of the research concluded that the gray matter volume was very similar to one another and had no significant difference. I think that this is quite interesting because to me if gray matter is thought to be the cause of ASD then I would assume that the gray matter would be much different in a violent offender.
Another article “Heritable Variations in Gray Matter Concentration as a Potential Endophenotype for Psychopathic Traits” focused on the concentration differences in the gray matter in boys with a psychopathic trait. The results showed that “the left posterior cingulate and right dorsal anterior cingulate gray matter concentrations were the highest” (Rijsdijsk, 2010). Being bale to find this they were able to conclude “vulnerability for psypathic traits” (Rijsdijsk, 2010). By finding this they are able to possibly see why people with ASPD have…