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Antisocial disorder causing mental health problem

Antisocial personality disorder can be a common cause of frequent misbehavior for children and adults alike, with some even getting thrilled by their own indiscipline.

Antisocial personality disorder is a mental health condition that makes one exhibit arrogant behavior, either knowingly or subconsciously and this can be witnessed by people close to the victim.

Nancy Ndiritu, a freelance counselling psychologist based in Kiambu Township talking to KNA after a church service at ACK Church in Kiambu said antisocial personality disorder is mostly linked to psychopathy, as many criminals, especially murderers are often diagnosed with it.

She noted that those who live with it tend to ignore other people’s feelings and opinions as witnessed in the recent homicide cases in which many people have lost their lives in mysterious circumstances and their bodies dumped in various locations.

“Most of such people have little to no regard for society and basic rules of courtesy which in most cases draws the wrath of those charged with bringing order and ensuring that peace prevailed” she noted.

This particular mental disorder she said, usually begins at a young age, at teenage years or even at a younger age, then progresses into a person’s adult life. As children, they may get into trouble a lot often in school, at home or even with the authorities and may have a stint in corrective institutions.

However, “There is no known cause of antisocial personality disorder but factors that may put one at risk for it may be genetic or a series of behaviors picked up as a person grows up. This may be as a result of abuse, trauma or exposure to conditions that may foster the development of the condition, for example drug abusive guardians. Alterations in the normal functioning of the brain can also have a role to play. This is mostly due to brain development.

The counsellor explained that the behavior is usually characterized by skillful manipulation, disregard for personal welfare or that of others and having no sense of empathy, guilt or remorse for wrongs done. Constant anger and aggression, pretentiousness, falsehood and theft are shown in heightened levels for teenagers who have the condition. They may also come off as intimidating and work on instinct, not giving very much thought to plans.

Antisocial disorder affects people’s lives in the long run, in that, as violence is a common trait, premature death is a huge risk.

“Depression and anxiety are usual mental health disorders that accompany it, which may also lead to suicide, imprisonment due to breaking the law, inadequate ability to start and run a family or form close relationships with other people” she said.

Mrs Ndiritu regrettably cautions that there is little that can be done to prevent antisocial behavior, but says that since it starts at a young age, parents and  guardians should be  extremely careful of their parenting style.

She emphasizes on using methods that portray love and appreciation for children, instead of using only physical methods whenever the children made a mistake.

By Florence Kiarie

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