Antisocial Personality Disorder Symptoms and Relation to BPD

The differences and similarities between ASPD ad BPD

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Antisocial personality disorder, or ASPD, shares a few similar traits to that of borderline personality disorder, or BPD. That being said, how these traits are portrayed is quite different between the two disorders. Let's learn more about antisocial personality disorder and how it's both similar and different from borderline personality disorder. 

What Is Antisocial Personality Disorder?

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th edition, or DSM-V, a person with antisocial personality disorder is at least 18 years old and displays impairments in both self and interpersonal functioning. An impairment in self-functioning means that a person with ASPD either thinks only of themselves or focuses on personal goals and gratification with a failure to conform to social norms. An impairment in interpersonal functioning means that a person with ASPD has an inability to display concern for other's feelings or needs or has trouble displaying intimacy towards another person.

People with antisocial personality disorder also have the following personality traits: antagonism and disinhibition. Antagonism is displayed through manipulation, like using charm to influence someone. People with ASPD are also deceitful, callous, and hostile, often engaging in mean or vengeful behaviors, over mild insults. Disinhibition is characterized by irresponsibility, impulsivity, and risk-taking behaviors, often to counteract boredom. 

How Is Borderline Personality Disorder Similar to Antisocial Personality Disorder?

According to the DSM-5, a person with borderline personality disorder, or BPD, also exhibits disinhibition. But how a person with BPD displays disinhibition is quite different from a person with ASPD. For instance, people with ASPD show disinhibition by engaging in impulsive and risk-taking behaviors, like breaking the law or assaulting another person. On the other hand, people with BPD are drawn towards abusive relationships and display more difficulties with relationships, often portraying themselves as victims.

Both people with BPD and ASPD get angry over minor insults, a sign of antagonism or hostility. But people with ASPD tend to manipulate and engage in hostile, cruel acts whereas a person with BPD remains persistently angry and may engage in self-harm. 

Finally, the rates of suicide are similar between ASPD and BPD, between 5 and 10 percent, according to a 2013 study in Comprehensive Psychiatry.

How Is Borderline Personality Disorder Distinct from Antisocial Personality Disorder?

There are probably more differences between BPD and ASPD than similarities. For one, there is no age requirement for BPD and there is for ASPD — a person must be 18 to be diagnosed. In addition, a hallmark symptom of BPD is frequent, intense mood swings and an inability to regulate emotions. This is not a trait in people with ASPD.

Also, it may be surprising to hear that most community studies have found that BPD is equally common in men and women. ASPD, on the other hand, is about five times more common in men than women.

Finally, treating a person with ASPD is very difficult, and there is little scientific evidence that any form of treatment is that effective. On the other hand, unique forms of cognitive-behavioral therapy, like Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), have been found to be effective in treating people with BPD. 

What Does This Mean for Me?

Antisocial personality disorder and borderline personality disorder are really two distinct conditions, although they do have some overlapping features. If you are concerned you suffer from a personality disorder or are concerned about your mood and behavior, please seek professional guidance.

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View Article Sources
  • American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5). 
  • Paris J, Chenard-Poirier MP & Biskin R. Antisocial and borderline personality disorder revisited. Compr Psychiatry. 2013 May;54(4):321-5.