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Ann Gen Psychiatry. 2010 Jul 6;9:31. doi: 10.1186/1744-859X-9-31.

The 'antisocial' person: an insight in to biology, classification and current evidence on treatment.

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1
Mental Health Unit, Provincial General Hospital, Ratnapura, Sri Lanka. chaturaka.rodrigo@gmail.com.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

This review analyses and summarises the recent advances in understanding the neurobiology of violence and empathy, taxonomical issues on defining personality disorders characterised by disregard for social norms, evidence for efficacy of different treatment modalities and ethical implications in defining 'at-risk' individuals for preventive interventions.

METHODS:

PubMed was searched with the keywords 'antisocial personality disorder', 'dissocial personality disorder' and 'psychopathy'. The search was limited to articles published in English over the last 10 years (1999 to 2009)

RESULTS:

Both diagnostic manuals used in modern psychiatry, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual published by the American Psychiatric Association and the International Classification of Diseases published by the World Health Organization, identify a personality disorder sharing similar traits. It is termed antisocial personality disorder in the diagnostic and statistical manual and dissocial personality disorder in the International Classification of Diseases. However, some authors query the ability of the existing manuals to identify a special category termed 'psychopathy', which in their opinion deserves special attention. On treatment-related issues, many psychological and behavioural therapies have shown success rates ranging from 25% to 62% in different cohorts. Multisystemic therapy and cognitive behaviour therapy have been proven efficacious in many trials. There is no substantial evidence for the efficacy of pharmacological therapy. Currently, the emphasis is on early identification and prevention of antisocial behaviour despite the ethical implications of defining at-risk children.

CONCLUSIONS:

Further research is needed in the areas of neuroendocrinological associations of violent behaviour, taxonomic existence of psychopathy and efficacy of treatment modalities.

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