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Social Sci LibreTexts

8.15: Antisocial Personality Disorder

  • Page ID
    23208
  • Name: The Grinch

    Source: How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (Movie, 2000)

    Background Information

    The Grinch, who is bitter and cave-dwelling creature, lives on the snowy Mount Crumpits, a 10,000 foot high mountain that is north of Whoville. His age is undisclosed but he looks to be in his 40’s and does not have a job. He normally spends a lot of his time being alone in his cave. The patient appears to be suffering from antisocial personality disorder with depressed mood. There was no background history on his family, as he was abandoned as a child. The Grinch was taken in by two ladies who treated him like he was their own like every other Who children with love for Christmas. He does not have any social relationship with his friends and family. The only social companion the Grinch has is his dog Max. There was no history of drug or alcohol use. The Grinch did have some life difficulties when he was a little boy being made fun of the way he looks at his school. The Grinch had no goal in his life except to stop Christmas from happening. The coping skills and weakness was to run away from his problems and leave the town, rather than facing problems.

    Description of the Problem

    The Grinch displays a number of problems. The Grinch was not a very happy man with life. He hated Christmas and wanted to stop it from happening. When he was little, he got irritated and aggressive at the school because he was being made fun of by the fat boy who now is the mayor of the town. The Grinch threw a fit and picked up the Christmas tree and threw it to the other side of the classroom. After that he no longer liked Christmas. Years and years later the Grinch decided that he was going to stop Christmas from happening. He decided to dress as Santa Claus and take away all the Christmas trees and presents from the people of Whoville. He failed to plan ahead to know what the consequences would be. As he went to Cindy Lou Who’s house to steal their tree and present, Cindy Lou asked him why he was taking the Christmas tree. He told her that he going take the tree to his place and fix the light bulb. The Grinch did not show any remorse of what he did. He wanted Christmas to be over. He also did not care for the safety of other including his dog. His dog had to be the reindeer. The Grinch was irresponsible and thinking recklessly. He wanted everyone miserable and thought that would make him feel better.

    Diagnosis

    The diagnosis that seems appropriate for the Grinch is Antisocial Personality Disorder (301.7).

    1. There is a pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others occurring since age 15 years, as indicated by three (or more) of the following:
      1. failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are groups for arrest
        • He would have gotten big trouble for stealing all the trees and presents. Also he got in trouble by getting peoples mails in the wrong box. The Grinch did not realize there are consequences.
      2. deceitfulness, as indicated by repeated lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure
        • The Grinch lied to the little girl why he was stealing her Christmas tree and that he pretend to be a Santa.
      3. impulsive behavior or failure to plan ahead
        • He failed to plan ahead thinking he would not run into someone while stealing Christmas tree and present. The Grinch did not think what would happen if he did this.
      4. irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults
        • The Grinch was irritated by being made fun of the fat boy. He got aggressive and picked up the Christmas tree and threw it across the room,
      5. reckless disregard for safety of self or others
        • He did care for other people safety especially his dog max. He made his dog do something big than his dog can really do and that it could hurt him.
      6. consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honor financial obligations
        • He was being irresponsible for what he did. He wanted to make people made and not care about anyone. He was irresponsible with his dog and didn’t care if his dog got hurt or not.
      7. lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another
        • The Grinch had no regrets in what he had done. He didn’t regret what he did to those people. The Grinch was happy to make people unhappy and more.
    2. The individual is at least age 18 years.
      • The Grinch is around in his 40’s.
    3. There is evidence of Conduct Disorder with onset before age 15 years.
      • The Grinch shows evidence of having conduct disorder with the onset before age 15. He first started showing symptoms around when he was 8-10 years old.
    4. The occurrence of antisocial behavior is not exclusively during the course of Schizophrenia or a Manic Episode.
      • During observation, the Grinch did not meet any signs showing schizophrenia but he was showing some of the signs of having a manic episode such as increased in goal-direct activities. The Grinch was very into making everyone’s Christmas miserable.

    Accuracy of Portrayal

    The average person watching this movie would learn quite a bit about antisocial personality disorder. They would also learn about bullying and depression. The movie did make it into fairy tale where they have happy ending for a person who has antisocial personality disorder. This is not the case in the real world with people who have that type of disorder. It does not cure them that quick. It takes time, efforts, and counseling. Though it is rare for someone who has antisocial personality disorder to seek help and get counseling. It does confuse the audience that makes them think you can cure the disorder quick when you can’t. This is a movie somehow helps show people what the antisocial personality is.

    Treatment

    Antisocial personality disorder is one of the most difficult personality disorders to treat because people who have it tend to think there is nothing wrong with them and do not want help. It is rare for people who have antisocial personality disorder to get help. First to treat the Grinch, he needs a full medical examination to see what symptoms would come up beside antisocial personality disorder. After the full evolution, the Grinch should seek counseling to talk about his past, learn to cope what he went through, and do some social skills training. Social skilling training would help him a lot to learn how to socialize with other people. There a few medication that could help the Grinch such as with his depression he could take antidepressant medication to help improve his depressed mood, anger, impulsivity, or irritability. However, these medication do not directly treat the behavior that characterize antisocial personality disorder, they can be useful in addressing conditions that co-occur with this condition.

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    Name: The Joker

    Source: The Dark Knight (movie, 2008)

    Background Information

    The Joker is a disturbed and malicious villain who is the archenemy of Batman. His age is unknown but he looks to be in his late 40’s to early 50’s. His gender is obviously male with brown eyes, and sandy, light green hair. He does not have a “real” job, but some consider running the streets with thugs to be one of them. He spends majority of his time plotting to corrupt and destroy Batman along with bringing the city of Gotham to the ground. His overall health status is unknown, but to the naked eye, he physically looks ill along with the deep razor cuts to both sides of the mouth representing a permanent smile. Psychologically he appears to suffer from antisocial personality disorder, which is evident by his hasty behavior and lack of disregard to others. He does not have a relationship with his parents or relatives. The only social relationships he does have are those with thugs and delinquents. There is no evidence of drugs or alcohol use, although he reports that his father was an extremely abusive alcoholic, who attacked he and his mother with a blade, cutting him along the corner of his lips. The only goal in The Joker’s life was to destroy Batman and everything in his path. His only coping skill and weaknesses were to see someone other than himself get hurt along with Batman. He would then vanish from sight seemingly as if he had run away from his problems, not wanting to face the consequences.

    Description of the Problem

    The problems The Joker displays are tremendous. To begin, he absolutely hates Batman and everything to do with justice and peace. He seems to hate everything about himself as well, considering he has to hurt others around him to feel better. His only purpose in life is to destroy Gotham for no apparent reason and to destroy Batman considering he is constantly in The Joker’s way to destruction. The Joker wanted humans to understand that they were “bad” and destroyers when all the while he was the one committing crimes. The Joker expressed absolutely no empathy for his ruthless actions along with being extremely sadistic. He blatantly disregarded laws and socials norms of society as a whole, all of which are related to antisocial personality disorder.

    Diagnosis

    According to DSM-IV-TR criteria, the appropriate diagnosis would be Antisocial Personality Disorder (301.7)

    1. There is a pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others occurring since age 15 years, as indicated by three (or more) of the following:
      1. Failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are groups for arrest.
        • The Joker was constantly being arrested and reprimanded by law enforcements due to his ruthless behaviors. At times it was difficult to catch The Joker committing a crime, but once he was he was punished (for a short amount of time) he would later escape to commit more crimes.
      2. Deceitfulness, as indicated by repeated lying, use of aliases, or conning other for personal profit or pleasure.
        • At one time, The Joker dressed as Bozo the clown while robbing the Gotham National City Bank. He manipulated his whole crew into robbing the bank and told them they would all split the money. However, The Joker ends up killing his crew and getting away with the money.
      3. Impulsive behavior or failure to plan ahead.
        • The Joker planned seemingly impossible tasks without thinking about the consequences afterward. At one time, he tried to blow up the Gotham General Hospital. Hitting his detonator, the majority of the bombs failed to blow therefore causing him to steal a nearby city bus as a quick getaway.
      4. Irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults.
        • Without a doubt The Joker was constantly fighting, assaulting, torturing, or murdering another individual. One in particular would be Batman. Batman would fight The Joker, throwing him from wall to wall and all while The Joker would be laughing hysterically.
      5. Reckless disregard for safety of self or others.
        • He cared very little about his own safety considering he told Batman to run him over with his Batpod. This seemed to also be an attempted sign of sucide. Also, blowing up a hospital, violently blowing up a prison inmate, and using innocent people as police officer targets are all ways he disregarded the safety for others.
      6. Consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honor financial obligations.
        • The Joker was never considered to have a job. However, he would steal to receive cash payments and money to support himself.
      7. Lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another.
        • The Joker never apologized for his behavior nor having any remorse for killing innocent people. He enjoyed chaos and hurting people along with himself. He still didn’t feel remorse for being in jail considering that he brutally killed an inmate while there.
    2. The individual is at least age 18 years.
      • The Joker is in his late 40’s to early 50’s.
    3. There is evidence of Conduct Disorder with onset before age 15 years.
      • It may have taken place with his abusive father when he was younger which caused the scarring on his face. It is not known how old he was when this occurred.
    4. The occurrence of antisocial behavior is not exclusively during the course of Schizophrenia or a Manic Episode.
      • The Joker’s behavior was constantly out of the norm. His ruthless behavior was continual for long durations of time so the presence of a Manic Episode would not be unlikely.

    Accuracy of Portrayal

    The average person watching the film would see that The Joker is a typical psychopath. The average person would learn the basics of antisocial personality disorder and character qualities an individual must hold in order to be classified as a psychopath. However, with antisocial personality disorder, it seems to remit by age 40 and is known to be higher among young adults than older adults. The Joker seemed to peek in his violent streaks at this age. Another inaccurate portrayal of antisocial personality disorder being used in the film was that majority of individuals suffering from antisocial personality disorders have high amounts of drug use and abuse. Drug use causes individuals to perform dysfunctional and out of the norm types of behavior. They seem to not care about the risk involved. The Joker was never seen using any types of drugs in the film. He would constantly cause harm to others on his own will without the use of mind alternating drugs. However, there were strong accuracies of portrayal. For instance, he was a male, came from an abusive childhood, had zero empathy, and performed extremely risky and ruthless behaviors. The film helped show the most extreme form of antisocial personality disorder.

    Treatment

    Antisocial Personality Disorder is difficult to treat, considering the fact that individuals do not believe they are in need of treatment. If a patient is taken into to counseling, there is usually a lack of improvement as the patient is usually uncooperative. The treatment that would most likely work for The Joker would be treatment in long-term structured residential settings to which he would be placed in an environment in which he cannot hurt others. If he modifies his behavior appropriately he will be able to earn privileges such as performing a non- threatening hobby of his. Since The Joker has not developed any healthy relationships in his lifetime, using psychotherapy along with behavior modification would help. Developing a relationship with a therapist would probably be beneficial for him as well. Since The Joker expressed a few signs of suicide attempts, it may be that he is suffering from depression as well. An antidepressant may help his depression and irritability. Even though antidepressants do not actually treat an individual with antisocial personality disorder, they can help with these types of comorbid conditions.

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