How Amphetamine Abuse Can Mask Antisocial Personality Disorder

How Amphetamine Abuse Can Mask Antisocial Personality DisorderOften referred to as uppers, amphetamines increase the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain which gives a person a sense of being more awake, focused, and euphoric. Amphetamines are psychostimulant drugs prescribed to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), traumatic brain injury, and the daytime drowsiness symptoms of narcolepsy.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), antisocial personality disorder (APD) is a mental health condition in which a person has a long-term pattern of manipulating, exploiting, or violating the rights of others. This behavior is often criminal.

Similar Causes of Antisocial Personality Disorder and ADHD

Amphetamines are predominantly prescribed for the treatment of ADHD. The causes of ADHD and APD are not conclusively known, however, there are similarities including the following:

  • Genetic factors
  • The function of chemicals in the brain that help regulate attention and activity
  • Differences in function of some of the areas of the brain that affect attention and impulse control
  • Almost twice as many males than females have these disorders

However, whereas ADHD is often seen as an attention and impulse control issue, APD is often associated with criminal behavior such as fire setting and cruelty to animals during childhood. In fact, APD is common in people who are in prison.

Symptoms of Antisocial Personality Disorder

According to the Mayo Clinic antisocial personality disorder symptoms may include the following:

  • Disregard for right and wrong
  • Persistent lying or deceit
  • Using charm or wit to manipulate others
  • Recurring difficulties with the law
  • Repeatedly violating the rights of others
  • Child abuse or neglect
  • Intimidation of others
  • Aggressive or violent behavior
  • Lack of remorse about harming others
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Agitation
  • Poor or abusive relationships
  • Irresponsible work behavior

While most of the symptoms of APD are observable, they may share some underlying similarities with symptoms of amphetamine abuse such as alertness, increased confidence, feelings of superiority, restlessness, anxiety, irritability, and aggression.

Diagnosing Antisocial Personality Disorder

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), published by the American Psychiatric Association, is used by mental health providers to diagnose mental illnesses. Symptom criteria required for a diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder include the following:

  • Being at least 18 years old
  • Having had symptoms of conduct disorder before age 15, which may include such acts as stealing, vandalism, violence, cruelty to animals, and bullying
  • Repeatedly breaking the law
  • Repeatedly conning or lying to others
  • Being irritable and aggressive, repeatedly engaging in physical fights or assaults
  • Feeling no remorse – or justifying behavior – after harming others
  • Having no regard for the safety of yourself or others
  • Acting impulsively and not planning ahead

A qualified physician will gather evidence for the diagnosis by asking detailed questions about the affected person’s interactions and daily life.

Get Help for Amphetamines Abuse and Antisocial Personality Disorder

The first step for getting help is to get a diagnosis. If your amphetamine abuse is masking your antisocial personality disorder, you need to get help with detox and counseling to discontinue abusing amphetamines. Call our toll-free number any time of day so that we can help you plan a course of action towards recovery.