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Diagnostic Criteria for Antisocial Personality Disorder (Psychopathy/Sociopathy)
This is the official diagnostic criteria which psychiatrists, psychologists, and therapists use to diagnose antisocial personality disorder. This criteria comes from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, version 5.
The person must meet the overall criteria for a Personality Disorder and the criteria listed below to be diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder. Please note: the words "psychopathy" and "sociopathy" are words used by the public to describe this disorder. But there is only one diagnosis: antisocial personality disorder and this is the criteria for diagnosing the disorder.
The essential features of a personality disorder are impairments in personality (self and interpersonal) functioning and the presence of pathological personality traits. To diagnose antisocial personality disorder, the following criteria must be met:
A. Significant impairments in personality functioning manifest by:
1. Impairments in self functioning (a or b):
a. Identity: Ego-centrism; self-esteem derived from personal gain, power, or pleasure.
b. Self-direction: Goal-setting based on personal gratification; absence of prosocial internal standards associated with failure to conform to lawful or culturally normative ethical behavior
2. Impairments in interpersonal functioning (a or b):
a. Empathy: Lack of concern for feelings, needs, or suffering of others; lack of remorse after hurting or mistreating another.
b. Intimacy: Incapacity for mutually intimate relationships, as exploitation is a primary means of relating to others, including by deceit and coercion; use of dominance or intimidation to control others.
B. Pathological personality traits in the following domains:
1. Antagonism, characterized by:
a. Manipulativeness: Frequent use of subterfuge to influence or control others; use of seduction, charm, glibness, or ingratiation to achieve one's ends.
b. Deceitfulness: Dishonesty and fraudulence; misrepresentation of self; embellishment or fabrication when relating events.
c. Callousness: Lack of concern for feelings or problems of others; lack of guilt or remorse about the negative or harmful effects of one's actions on others; aggression; sadism.
d. Hostility: Persistent or frequent angry feelings; anger or irritability in response to minor slights and insults; mean, nasty, or vengeful behavior.
2. Disinhibition, characterized by:
a. Irresponsibility: Disregard for – and failure to honor – financial and other obligations or commitments; lack of respect for – and lack of follow through on – agreements and promises.
b. Impulsivity: Acting on the spur of the moment in response to immediate stimuli; acting on a momentary basis without a plan or consideration of outcomes; difficulty establishing and following plans.
c. Risk taking: Engagement in dangerous, risky, and potentially self-damaging activities, unnecessarily and without regard for consequences; boredom proneness and thoughtless initiation of activities to counter boredom; lack of concern for one's limitations and denial of the reality of personal danger
C. The impairments in personality functioning and the individual's personality trait expression are relatively stable across time and consistent across situations.
D. The impairments in personality functioning and the individual's personality trait expression are not better understood as normative for the individual's developmental stage or socio-cultural environment.
E. The impairments in personality functioning and the individual's personality trait expression are not solely due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, medication) or a general medical condition (e.g., severe head trauma).
F. The individual is at least age 18 years.
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