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Impact of Addiction on Antisocial Behaviors

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The behaviors of a loved one impact the way that he socializes and views substance abuse. In the case of antisocial personality disorder or antisocial behaviors, a loved one does not always show concern or regard for the opinions of others.

According to the Mayo Clinic1, antisocial personality disorder means that an individual shows signs of dysfunctional thoughts, behaviors and perceptions of others. In some cases, a loved one acts out in a violent or destructive manner. Drug or alcohol abuse makes the situation more severe and causes complications during addiction treatment.

What are Antisocial Behaviors?

Antisocial behaviors do not always refer to a personality disorder. The Gale Encyclopedia of Children’s Health2 says that antisocial behaviors refer to any hostile and aggressive behaviors that disrupt relationships with others. In general, antisocial behaviors start during childhood and a loved one shows signs of disruptive or aggressive behaviors from a very young age.

Common behaviors that develop in antisocial personality disorder or similar disorders include:

  • Lying
  • Stealing
  • Bullying Others
  • Vandalism
  • Impulsive Behaviors
  • Aggressiveness
  • Getting Into Fights
  • Lack of Remorse After Harming Others
  • Lack of Empathy In Regard to Others
  • Recklessness and a Disregard For Personal Safety or the Safety of Others

Psych Central3 explains that individuals with antisocial personality disorders or any level of antisocial behavior often behave in impulsive ways. They lack empathy for others and engage in reckless or dangerous behaviors. In some cases, a loved one abuses drugs or alcohol as part of the impulsive and reckless behavior associated with antisocial disorders.

Substance Abuse and Antisocial Behaviors

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism4, antisocial behaviors during childhood and adolescents increase the risk of alcohol abuse and other forms of substance abuse. Due to the complexity of the behavior and the situation, the exact cause of substance abuse depends on the situation.

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In many cases, the addiction stems from impulsive behaviors; however, some individuals abuse drugs or alcohol due to overlapping environmental or genetic factors that increase the risk of addiction and substance abuse.

The University of North Carolina5 says that substance abuse impacts antisocial behaviors by preventing individuals from engaging in social norms and discontinuing aggressive actions. When a loved one abuses drugs or alcohol after showing signs of antisocial behaviors or a personality disorder, he continues engaging in criminal activities or refuses to stop inappropriate social behaviors.

Reducing the Risks

Since antisocial behaviors result in a lack of empathy for others and criminal behaviors, substance abuse harms a loved one’s ability to conform to social norms.

Essentially, it makes the symptoms of antisocial personality disorder more severe and causes more extreme variations of criminal activities, violent behavior or disregard for the rights of others.

For an individual affected by both, treating substance abuse and antisocial behavior at the same time allows them to learn valuable life skills and start engaging in healthier behaviors. It also reduces the risk of criminal activities or reckless actions, which improves a loved one’s health and well-being.

The University of North Carolina5 explains that substance abuse prevents a loved one from desisting from criminal activities because it makes the antisocial behaviors more severe. By treating addiction and antisocial behaviors in a professional setting, a loved one learns healthier ways to handle the symptoms of a disorder and starts improving his behaviors. Professional treatment provides the tools a loved one needs to move forward and make positive changes.

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  1. Antisocial Personality Disorder Definition, The Mayo Clinic, April 12, 2013,
  2. Clare Hanrahan, Antisocial Behavior, The Gale Encyclopedia of Children’s Health, 2006,
  3. Antisocial Personality Disorder Symptoms, Psych Central, February 5, 2014,
  4. Duncan B. Clark, M.D., Ph.D., Michael Vanyukov, Ph.D., and Jack Cornelius, M.D., M.P.H., Childhood Antisocial Behavior and Adolescent Alcohol Use Disorders, The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, November 2002,


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