Dealing with Antisocial Behavior during Inpatient Drug Treatment

For many addicts, antisocial behavior is one of the biggest roadblocks to success during inpatient drug treatment. Some people develop these tendencies after becoming addicted, while others’ antisocial habits actually worsen with drug abuse. In either case, the inability to relate to other people can easily keep rehab patients from admitting to their problems and changing their behaviors. It is crucial that addicts with antisocial personality disorder – as well as their friends and families – understand how they can manage their conditions and overcome their drug habits.

Antisocial Personality Disorder

The American Psychiatric Association defines antisocial personality disorder as the disregard for the well-being, feelings, and rights of other people. Like other chronic conditions, ASPD is influenced by both genetic and environmental factors. Children of antisocial parents are more likely to be antisocial themselves, but a lack of attention during infancy and early childhood can also exacerbate the symptoms. Common signs of ASPD include:

  • Nonconformity to social norms, especially those which are enforced through law
  • Remorseless deception and compulsive lying
  • Aggressive words and actions
  • Reckless endangerment of themselves and others
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Inability to honor obligations and agreements

Effects on Drug Addiction

People with ASPD suffer from substance abuse problems at far higher rates than the general population. Reckless tendencies cause them to ignore the obvious physical and legal consequences of addiction. Sociopaths’ lack of empathy also causes them to do great harm to others when they’re intoxicated or experiencing withdrawal. Like depression and other chronic disease, ASPD often coexists with addiction in a vicious cycle of increased drug use and worsened behavior.

Antisocial tendencies also contribute to denial. People who are reckless, impulsive, and deceptive by nature may not be able to fully recognize the harm they inflict upon themselves. In addition, their lack of concern for others may lead them to ignore the concerns of friends and family.

Difficulties during Rehab

People with ASPD tend to be extremely disruptive to group therapies during inpatient drug treatment. They will harass and berate other patients, and their behaviors can compromise the recoveries of their entire groups. However, antisocial addicts also tend to encounter difficulties during one-on-one counseling. They often fail to develop trust with their therapists – a requirement for effective behavioral change. Given their own manipulative natures, they may even question their counselors’ goals and motives.

Success through Integrated Treatment

Due to sociopaths’ lack of concern for themselves and others, they rarely seek drug treatment on their own. They are sometimes referred to rehab clinics by whatever friends or close relatives they may have. However, they most often attend by court order after being caught for possession or related crimes. Once they’re in rehab, integrated care is usually the only way for them to have any chance at recovery. This type of therapy involves the simultaneous treatment of drug addiction and ASPD.

Psychiatrists are still trying to determine the most effective means of treating ASPD, but common methods include counseling and medication. Therapists attempt to help antisocial patients understand the consequences of their behaviors, as well as the need to think before they act. Certain antidepressants can address the hormonal imbalances present in most sociopaths. Treating ASPD is a long and difficult process, but this combination can help people relate to others and overcome their dangerous drug habits.

If you’re suffering from addiction and a co-occurring disorder like ASPD, you need to get professional help as soon as possible. Call the number at the top of your screen to talk toll-free with one of our dedicated rehab specialists. We’ll answer your questions and get you started on one of the most effective inpatient drug treatment programs in the country.

About The Contributor

Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff, American Addiction Centers

The editorial staff of Recovery First is comprised of addiction content experts from American Addiction Centers. Our editors and medical reviewers have over a decade of cumulative experience in medical content editing and have reviewed thousands... Read More

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