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Signs Of A Teenage Sociopath


depressed teenager

A sociopath, clinically known as a person diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder (ASPD), is characterized by a long-term pattern of exploiting, manipulating, violating, and/ or overtly disregarding the rights of others without any remorse. Antisocial personality disorder is one of ten mental health disorders listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) that is categorized under personality disorder. Young people with antisocial personality disorder often engage in unlawful activity, behave cruelly towards others as they lack empathy and often struggle with substance and/ or alcohol abuse. This can greatly inhibit a young person’s ability to properly functioning in his or her daily life. Although it can surface at any point in one’s life, according to the Mayo Clinic, antisocial personality disorder most commonly manifests before reaching age fifteen. 

Risk Factors

The precise reason behind why a young person develops antisocial personality disorder remains unknown. However, the Encyclopedia of Children’s Health note the following to be contributing risk factors that could increase one’s susceptibility for developing ASPD:

  • Genetics and family history
  • Negative and/ or negligent parenting practices
  • Unstable, violent and/ or tumultuous home life
  • School and neighborhood environment

An article published in the National Library of Medicine (NIH) indicates that neurological problems and hyperactivity could also contribute to antisocial behavior, as it asserts that young people with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) were found to be at greater risk of developing antisocial behavior. 

Signs and Symptoms

Every teenager is different and has the propensity to exhibit a wide range of symptoms in relation to antisocial personality disorder. A young person that exhibits three or more of the following signs could be struggling with antisocial personality disorder, as provided by Medical News Today:

  • Deceitfulness
  • Theft 
  • Abusive and/ or harmful aggression towards animals and/ or people
  • Destruction of property
  • Serious violation of rules

Symptoms that may manifest as a result of ASPD could include any combination of the following:

  • Being callous, cynical and disrespectful of others
  • Arrogance
  • Impulsive
  • Hostile
  • Dysphoria (generalized dissatisfaction with life)
  • Using charm to manipulate 
  • Feeling unable to tolerate boredom
  • Lack of empathy and conscience
  • Depressed moods
  • Engaging in unnecessary risk-taking, dangerous behaviors without regard for the safety of oneself or others

It is imperative to obtain an accurate mental health diagnosis from a qualified medical and/ or mental healthcare provider when it comes to antisocial personality disorder. The diagnosis will greatly inform the subsequent treatment recommendations. Although there is no cure for ASPD, with the proper support, a young person can learn to effectively manage its associated symptoms. Bear in mind that teenagers struggling with antisocial personality disorder are unlikely to pursue help on their own accord. 

For Information and Support 

Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know is in need of mental health treatment, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for many mental health difficulties to impact a person for the long term. The earlier you seek support, the sooner you and your loved ones can return to happy, healthy and fulfilling lives.

Our admissions team is available to answer any general questions regarding mental health issues, treatment, and/or specific questions about the program at Pacific Teen Treatment and how we might be able to help your family. We can be reached by phone 24/7 at 800-531-5769. You can also contact us via email at

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