Soldiers and Antisocial Personality Disorder

Soldiers and Antisocial Personality DisorderWhile only a small percentage of military personnel may display antisocial personality disorder, individuals diagnosed with the condition may cause serious problems.

Characteristics of Antisocial Personality Disorder

Individuals with antisocial personality disorder do not value moral behavior and ignore the rights and feelings of others, according to the Mayo Clinic web site. The condition is recognized by the American Psychiatric Association and defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-4). Symptoms of the condition may include criminal behavior as well as drug and alcohol abuse. Other symptoms include the following according to the Mayo Clinic:

  • Persistent lying as a way to manipulate others
  • Acting charming for personal gain
  • Sense of superiority and exhibitionism
  • Repeated troubles with the law
  • Repeatedly violating others’ rights through intimidation or dishonesty
  • Child abuse or neglect
  • Hostility, irritability, agitation, aggression or violence
  • Lack of empathy and lack of remorse for harmful actions
  • Unnecessary risk-taking
  • Poor or abusive relationships
  • Trouble holding employment
  • Inability to understand consequences of bad behavior

Individuals in the military may be able to hide their symptoms behind the brutality of war and combat.

Problems Caused by Antisocial Personality in the Military

It can be difficult to screen for antisocial characteristics among military personnel, according to a July 9, 2006 article in the New York Times. The military does not perform mental evaluations on recruits unless there is an immediate reason for it. Since individuals with APD may be charming and manipulative, they may find it easy to hide their lack of empathy and bouts of anger for a certain period of time.

When a soldier has APD, his lack of concern with right and wrong could be seen as boldness during combat. Since he or she could participate in military activities without crossing internal moral boundaries, the first signs of the disorder may not show up until a criminal act is committed. Soldiers with APD are in danger of hurting civilians and using war to cover up crimes.

Need Help Finding Treatment for Antisocial Personality Disorder?

Individuals with antisocial personality disorder often do not see the need for treatment. Most often it is the family and friends of a person with APD who need help from therapists to understand ways to set boundaries and handle angry outbursts. Since it is common for a person with APD to also struggle with a drug or alcohol addiction, it is important for these individuals to find treatment.

If you or a loved one is struggling with APD and addiction, do not suffer alone. Call our toll-free helpline today to find treatment. Our counselors answer questions seven days a week, 24 hours a day to give family members, friends and individuals the necessary information to get well. Reach out today and learn the best ways to lead a better life.