Q. Glen, What type of treatment is available for APD ?
A. Many types of psychotherapy techniques have been used to treat antisocial personality disorder. In younger people, family or group psychotherapy may help to change destructive patterns of behavior, teach new vocational and relationship skills, and reinforce a person's social support. Psychotherapy also may help a person with this disorder learn to be more sensitive to the feelings of others and encourage new, socially acceptable and productive ways of thinking about one's goals and aims. Cognitive therapy attempts to change sociopathic ways of thinking. Behavior therapy uses reward and punishment to promote good behavior.
In some cases, symptoms can be treated with medication. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as fluoxetine (Prozac) and sertraline (Zoloft), may decrease aggressiveness and irritability. They are useful if anxiety or depression is present, or if either is contributing to substance abuse.
There are many questions about how helpful any of these interventions can be. Treatment is more likely to be successful if it is started earlier in life, but long-entrenched patterns of thinking and behavior are difficult to change. Also, the longer a person lives with this personality style, the less he or she may be interested in taking responsibility for change. For some people, the tendency toward aggression and irritability decreases with age, but some personality characteristics may persist.
Often the only thing that can protect victims of antisocial behavior is the criminal justice system. In rare instances, corrections systems (jails and prisons) provide opportunities for treatment or rehabilitation, but often these environments, with their abundance of antisocial individuals, only promote antisocial behavior.
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Wishing You Great Health!
Glen Edward Mitchell
Any questions? Ask Glen