Antisocial Behavior and Drug Addiction

Succeeding in the modern world often means putting the needs of others ahead of the needs of the self. Those who are considered good might hold open doors for the elderly, listen to others without interrupting, give generously to charitable organizations, and otherwise behave as if serving others is the primary measure of a life well lived. Even those who don’t take kindness to this level might be expected to follow the rules of the society and at least be courteous, if they can’t be generous. But there are some people who simply can’t manage behaving in a social manner. While their antisocial behaviors could be triggered by almost anything, they may be tied directly to the use and abuse of drugs.

Defining Antisocial Behavior

Almost any act that puts the needs of an individual over the needs of a group could be considered antisocial. For example, in an article in TIME, researchers measured the number of times people attempted to keep two seats to themselves while on a bus, and those behaviors were labeled antisocial. Since this type of behavior could keep a weary person from getting a seat, the antisocial label might very well be fitting. However, this is also the type of behavior that almost everyone has engaged in from time to time. Putting a coat over a seat in order to get just an iota of privacy might not be nice, but it might not be aptly considered part of a dysfunctional thought pattern.

When most people discuss antisocial behavior, they’re attempting to outline acts that fall outside the range of what might be considered normal. People like this might:

  • Have a lack of empathy for others
  • Express their opinions at length without listening to others
  • Feel comfortable with breaking laws
  • Exploit others
  • Harm animals
  • Lie often

People who have some of these traits might blend into the background, seeming just a little unusual or a little hostile, but people who have many or all of these traits might struggle to have any friends at all, and they might even spend a significant amount of time in jail, due to the choices they’ve made.

Dangerous Path

If left in place, drug addiction can make people with antisocial behaviors much worse.

They might be much more impulsive, willing to do things they might never have considered in the past. In some cases, this could lead to violent acts against oneself or others. In other cases, this could lead to crimes like theft or animal abuse. Any of these acts could land people in jail, and their sentences could be long and painful.

People with these conditions might also feel more disconnected and isolated, and this could keep them from healing. Overcoming an antisocial behavior pattern means connecting with others and understanding the way they feel and the things they need. If drug abuse is in place, people could be wrapped in their own blanket of intoxication, not talking to others or even seeing them at all, and this could keep them from making the connections that could help them to heal.

An article published in Psych Central suggests that antisocial behaviors tend to fade with time, until the most intense symptoms are lost when the person reaches age 40 or 50. Most people would agree, however, that a significant amount of damage could be done in 50 years of life, and that people with underlying drug addictions might hold onto their behaviors when they’ve blown out the candles on their 50th birthday cake. It’s just not the kind of behavior that should be left in place in the hopes that it will disappear on its own. Instead, it’s the sort of behavior that should be addressed directly and proactively.

Approach with Care

People with antisocial behaviors are accustomed to using drama and manipulation to get what they want, and it’s not surprising that they would respond in unappealing ways when they’re approached about their behaviors.

People like this might very well express their displeasure by:

  • Screaming
  • Hitting
  • Suggesting that the speakers are lying
  • Walking away

Hiring an interventionist may be helpful. These professionals study addiction, and they know how to frame a conversation in such a way that the talk seems supportive and loving, rather than hurtful and harmful. These professionals can also help to educate the family on the nature of addiction before the talk begins, so they’ll understand the feelings the person they love might have before the discussion even starts. An interventionist can also step in with leadership and advice if the talk begins to move in the wrong direction and the person begins to misbehave.

At the end of a successful intervention, the family can enroll the person in a treatment program that can help. It might be tempting to focus exclusively on the addiction at this point, as this is the issue that might be causing the family the most pain at the moment, but it’s important to remember that the antisocial behavior also lies underneath the substance use and abuse issue. In some cases, that behavior has its roots in a diagnosable form of mental illness, and that must also be treated.

At the beginning of a treatment program, the person might be provided with a battery of mental health tests. At the end of this testing period, the professionals might find that the person has an antisocial personality disorder, schizophrenia or even depression. With this diagnosis in hand, a proper treatment program can be pulled together to address all of the issues the person has.

Dual Diagnosis programs like this might be ideal for the person you love, but it might be hard for you to find a program like this on your own. We can help. Please call us, and we can help you look for just the right kind of facility that could help the person you love.

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