What does asocial mean? It means someone who is not interested in interacting with people and avoid social situations at all cost. It usually does not perceive as a negative trait in our society because as it is considered a choice. A person can choose to be asocial. But it is also associated with personality disorder, commonly known as asocial personality disorder. This disorder can affect your whole life and is one of the most complicated ones to treat. In most cases, it is only possible to manage the symptoms, and treatment is not possible.
This article is all about what does asocial mean? How it affects your life, how it is different from antisocial, how it is associated with personality disorder and what are treatment options so let’s get started:
Asocial meaning is “someone who lacks the capacity for social interactions.”
Now you are familiar with Asocial meaning, here are some synonyms for your convenience:
aloof, buttoned-up, unbending, cold-eyed, cool, unsociable, detached, dry, distant, frosty, offish, standoff, antisocial, standoffish, cold, unclubbable, remote etc.
Some antonyms are sociable, cordial, social, friendly, warm etc.
Here is asocial definition:
“Asocial are those who are not interested in forming social groups or connections with others.”
Here is a definition of Asociality from Wikipedia to make the concept even clearer:
“Asociality refers to the lack of motivation to engage in social interaction or a preference for solitary activities. Asociality may be associated with avolition, but it can, moreover, be a manifestation of limited opportunities for social relations.”
Attachment styles are formed when a baby is trying to get familiar with his surroundings. A study was done by Schaffer and Emerson for investigating the formation of attachments in early stages and specifically what age these are formed. It showed that during the first few weeks, babies are in the asocial stage means they show similar behaviour towards human and objects. They, although, show some preferences for familiar faces. These adults can make them calm down easily as compared to others. But babies do seem happier in the presence of other people too. After the asocial stage, babies show observable changes in their behaviour.
Asocial is someone who is not interested in taking any part in social activities, a person who is withdrawn from society. Sigmund Freud has coined the term “asocial” for describing a trait associated with narcissism. In his opinion, these were the people who have chosen fantasy over reality. Now everyone likes to quote him because everything he says is controversial and thought provoking. The asocial individual simply put does not want others around.
Asocial people like solitude. They do not prefer being at parties, but that does not mean you should isolate them. They do need love and care but from those who are close to them. They also need fulfilment and success in life too. But most of us usually think that can such a person be really worthwhile to society how can you stay on your own all the time. Well answer to this question is not always yes. Missing your prom night is one thing but never having a boyfriend or a girlfriend is not the right thing. Drawing a line between being a person who is trying and succeeding socially or one who is a social outcast is not easy. The asocial person should not be judged for we are all different.
So being an asocial person, try to find happiness in whatever way. Find success even if it means you have to win a video game. Do not become alone entirely; I am not saying you should make a lot of friends and be very social; just try to find one close friend or two you can count on. Do not isolate yourself to the level that you become delusional and totally forget about the outside world.
There are bad people everywhere dubious and troublesome on every step,. But you should even know these people too life is full of an array of characters. We all are struggling in our lives with something, and it takes a long time to open up about yourself and to be your authentic self. Connect with people even online if possible. There will be at least one or two who are good this way you can connect with the real world.
Here is how being asocial can affect your life, according to a Reddit user:
“I just don’t get enough alone time, I’m always craving alone time, and I can never satisfy it, so I always feel tired and frayed. It’s really difficult for me and to be honest, I drink more than I should. I used to swim laps, and that really helped a lot better, but life got interrupted and hasn’t been routine at all, but I hope to get back to it. I do like people; they are interesting, especially computer-mediated makes it easy for me. But I think that for most other people when they’re alone, they become more lonely, but when I’m alone, I become less lonely. The more alone I am, the more that I want to be alone because I feel more and more peaceful. The more I’m with people, the more lonely I become, the more agitated, angry, and can even sometimes become spiteful. I hope to one day move away somewhere and somehow be a hermit.”
Here is what a user suggests about how to deal with your asocial personality:
“As I grew older, I realised it was ok to follow my heart and do what is best for me. That means not forcing myself to socialise when it clearly brought me pain. I’m much happier now. I spend most of my time by myself, reading books and writing. I just think of being sure of yourself and not apologising for what is right for you. Also, I’m careful not to start social relationships because I am aware that I probably won’t keep up with them, which tends to hurt others.”
Being asocial is not that easy. You cannot make people understand what you really want from them. They will try to invade your privacy and may think that you are rude, but that is not right. Only a person with an asocial personality disorder can behave this way, but a normal asocial person likes solitude. He does not need anybody to spend time with.
In a similar way, it is not easy for others to cope with an asocial person because they are not very expressive. They live in their fantasy world; their imagination entertains them whenever they feel rejected by their peers. Here is what they need:
Social skills training
Also called SST is a really effective approach that is meant for those who find it difficult to relate with others. It is a very common symptom of shyness, developmental disabilities or family and marital conflicts; as well as of several neurological and mental disorders, including anxiety disorders, adjustment disorders, hyperactivity / attention-deficit disorder, alcohol dependence, social phobia, bipolar disorder, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, schizophrenia, paranoid personality disorder, schizotypal personality disorder, and avoidant personality disorder.
People can learn social skills to make their life better. There is hope for them as if a person finds it difficult to relate with others it is not a hereditary issue. SST includes speech duration, the use of gestures, eye contact, and frequency of requests. SST has proven very helpful in this regard.
Metacognitive Interpersonal therapy
Metacognitive interpersonal therapy is an approach for improving and treating the social skills of individuals having personality disorders related to Asociality. Professionals in this approach help a person understanding their mental states. It is different from SST as the focus is on understanding your own feelings and thoughts as a way to recognise the feelings of others. This approach helps in improving decision making and interpersonal skills.
Asocial vs antisocial, what is the difference? Usually, the terms antisocial and asocial are used interchangeably for describing someone who is not very excited about social interactions. But these terms in a clinical mental health context and in dictionary definitions have different meanings.
Asocial vs antisocial, what is the difference? The prefix “a” means lack of or without, and “anti” means against. Antisocial behaviour causes annoyance for others as they refuse to follow the laws and customs of society; on the other hand, asocial represents those who are not interested in forming social connections. Asociality must not be confused with introverts as introverts crave for companies of some people who are close to them. These traits can overlap, but it is not necessary all the time.
In simple words, asocial means withdrawal marked by insensitiveness from society and is a personality trait. It results from a lack of motivation to engage in social interactions.
Just like other personality disorders, an antisocial personality disorder is also a certain pattern of experience and behaviour that affects functioning and responsible for causing distress for a long time. Those suffering from asocial personality disorder are intimidating and deceitful in relationships, are not very considerate about other’s rights and prefer not to follow the norms of society. People having this type of personality are usually involved in criminal activities. And the worst about it is that they are not even sorry for their hurtful actions the remorse aspect in non existent. They can be reckless, impulsive and even violent sometimes. It is very apparent and common in men as compared to women and affects about 2 to 4% population.
A brief description of some traits of asocial people I have mentioned above. Let’s have a look at some of the very common traits:
As I have mentioned above, they do not follow social norms just like that they are not a fan of rules and regulations. They only follow the rules if they are threatened to be punished. But with time, this fear may diminish too. This thing also makes them involved in criminal activities.
People having this disorder may also try to exploit others. Their criminal mind will encourage them to take advantage of others kindness and softheartedness. They have no sympathy for their victims and are even extremely disrespectful towards them.
Poor at intimate relationships
Relationships are a very important part of our lives, especially romantic ones. So we should try to hold these relationships. But people with this disorder find it difficult to hold on to these relationships. They have very little ability to be in an intimate relationship. Any relationships they are part of involving some level of neglect or abuse.
Yes, people having asocial disorder are manipulators. They are fine actors and will use a lie to get what they want. They are charming sometimes and use it to keep the relationship going with manipulation. They just find it pleasing to deceive and harm others; there is no other goal behind this behaviour.
Don’t feel shame
People having asocial personality disorder do not care about anyone except themselves. They may understand how other people feel, but they are not ashamed of the pain they are causing to the other person. Instead, they will use others weaknesses to manipulate them and get what they want.
Always blame others
No matter how horrible their act is, they will never take responsibility for their actions even if they have caused suffering to themselves. They will blame others for everything they have done wrong. A lot of people having this disorder do suffer because they have self-defeating nature; they can never enjoy the things other people are enjoying because of happy and mutually satisfying relationships.
Traits of people having asocial personality disorder have mentioned above. Now let’s have a look at some signs and symptoms of asocial personality disorder:
- Disregard for good and bad
- Continuous lying
- Being deceitful towards others
- Exploit others
- Being disrespectful, cynical and callous of others
- Use their charms to get personal benefit or pleasure
- Arrogant and have a sense of superiority
- Extremely opinionated
- Criminal behaviour
- Highly impulsive
- Violate rights of other
- Aggression, violence, agitation or hostility
- Dangerous and risk-taking behaviour while being inconsiderate towards the safety of others or themselves
- abusive or poor relationships
- Lack of empathy towards others
- Do not think about negative outcomes of their behaviour
- Never learn from past mistakes
- Very irresponsible nature
Those who have asocial personality disorder usually show symptoms and signs of this disorder before the age of 15. Symptoms and signs of personality disorder include persistent destructive behaviour and some really serious behaviour problems, for instance:
- Aggressive behaviour towards animals and people
- Extremely deceitful behaviour
- Property destruction
- Violation of rules
Although it is suggested that asocial personality disorder is lifelong, in some cases, particular symptoms like criminal or destructive behaviour may decrease with time, probably in the 40s. But it is unknown whether the decrease in criminal or destructive behaviour is because of gaining or awareness about the consequences of their behaviour. The peak time of symptoms is late teens and early 20s.
A person suffering from this disorder will surely have a history of behaviour disorder during childhood like delinquency, truancy and other aggressive or disruptive behaviours.
As mentioned above, sure causes are not known, but there are certain factors that can contribute to asocial personality disorder. Some of these factors are explained here;
A turbulent family life adds to the development and progression of this behavioural condition, particularly when they are neglected by their parents or guardians. This disorder might be more common where the environment is not very supportive or gives little reward for good conduct. In certain circumstances, there may even be in support of sociopathic conduct.
Traits associated with asocial personality disorder seem heritable. Scientists have additionally tracked down certain physiological reactions that may happen more often in individuals with total disregard for other people. For instance, they comparatively have a flat response towards stress. They appear to get less restless than the normal individual. Their startle reflex is also weak (the involuntary reaction to loud noises). This general heartlessness may influence their capacity to learn from punishment and reward.
The area of the brain which is responsible for planning and judgment is called the frontal lobe, and in people with asocial personality disorder, it seems different. Some researchers also have found changes in the volume of certain structures of the brain that control violent behaviour. Individuals with this sort of mental capacity may subsequently have more trouble controlling impulses, which may represent the inclination toward more aggressive conduct. Neurobiologists can’t say with sureness that these varieties in mind structure are a reason for the asocial character. The variations could undoubtedly be the aftereffect of life encounters that are more normal in individuals with this behavioural condition instead of a reason.
Asocial personality disorder affects men more than women. Sure causes of asocial personality disorder are not known yet, but it is said that genetics and some environmental or biological factors play a role here, which will be discussed in the next section. Research also shows that brain injuries or defects during developmental stages may also be linked with asocial personality disorder.
As people having Asocial personality disorder do not obey the law, it is said that a lot of prisoners usually have this disorder. Research shows that among them, about 47% are men while 21% are women. Adolescents and children having conduct disorder have higher chances of developing asocial personality disorder. Conduct disorder is just like asocial personality disorder but is diagnosed in youngsters who violate social norms and others rights repeatedly.
Here is a list of factors that might increase the risk of developing asocial personality disorder:
- diagnosis of conduct disorder
- Family history of mental health disorders, personality disorders or specifically asocial personality disorder
- Faced abusive behaviour during childhood
- Violent, chaotic or unstable family life during childhood
Criminal behaviour is a key feature associated with asocial personality disorder. So a person will for sure involve in criminal activities and will be imprisoned at some point in their life. Men having asocial personality disorder are more likely to misuse drugs and alcohols 3 to 5 times more in comparison to those who do not have this disorder. Other problems may include:
- Suicidal or homicidal behaviours
- Anxiety or depression
- Low social or economic status
- Homelessness or are unemployed
- Premature death because of reckless behaviour
Diagnosis and treatment
For diagnosing asocial personality disorder, a person will have a history of conduct disorder before the age of 15. It is diagnosed after a rigorous psychological disorder. A person must be aged 18 or above and must show some signs mentioned above. These signs should be part of daily personality.
Initially, asocial personality disorder was believed to be a long lasting problem. However, that is not the case, and it can, in some cases, be overseen and treated. The research proposes that behaviour can improve over the long run with treatment, regardless of whether centre qualities, for example, absence of sympathy, remain as it is.
However, asocial personality disorder is perhaps the most complicated kinds of behavioural conditions to treat. An individual with this disorder may likewise be hesitant to look for treatment and may possibly begin treatment when requested to do as such by a court.
The suggested treatment for people having this disorder will rely upon their conditions, considering elements like age, affronting history and whether there are any related issues, for example, drugs or alcohol abuse. The individual’s loved ones will play an important role in settling on choices about their treatment and care. Sometimes it becomes necessary to involve social care services and substance misuse services.
Only a professional can decide treatment options for a particular person; it is impossible to deal with it on your own. Let’s have a look at some of the possible treatment options for asocial personality disorder:
In some cases, Cognitive Behavioural therapy (CBT) is used for treating asocial personality disorder. It is a talking therapy treatment that intends to assist an individual with dealing with their issues by changing the manner in which they behave or think.
Mentalisation-based treatment (MBT) is another sort of talking treatment that is getting more popular for treating asocial personality disorder. A professional therapist will urge the individual to consider the manner in which they think and how their psychological state affects their conduct.
Democratic therapeutic communities (DTC)
Research suggests that local area based projects can be a compelling treatment strategy for individuals with asocial personality disorder and is getting very popular day by day in prisons. DTC is a sort of friendly treatment that plans to address the individual’s risk of getting offended, as well as their psychological needs.
It consists of small and large therapy gatherings, and the main focus are on social issues and creating a healthy environment where both prisoners and staff can interact and contribute to important decisions of the community. Also, there may be opportunities for vocational and educational work.
The suggested length of treatment is a year and a half, as there should be sufficient time for an individual to make changes and set up new skills and hobbies into practice. Self-inspiration is another significant factor for the acknowledgement of this kind of plan. For instance, the individual should be willing to work as a part of the community, take part in social gatherings, and be dependent upon the democratic procedure.
There’s little proof to help the utilisation of medication for treating asocial personality disorder. However, certain antidepressant and antipsychotic medicines might be useful in certain situations.
Lithium and Carbamazepine may help in controlling symptoms like impulsive behaviour and aggression. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), a class of antidepressants, may help with outrage and general symptoms of personality disorders.
An asocial person is someone who is not interested in social activities. This individual likes solitude, and it is nothing like introverts or antisocial behaviour. The individual lives in an imaginative world, so it is necessary to make them realise that there is a real-world and the individual has to interact with it. But when this asocial behaviour turns into a disorder, it becomes difficult to deal with it. In most cases, you can only manage the symptoms, and complete treatment is impossible, but there is always hope. But in the case of any mental health problem or personality disorder, it is necessary to contact a professional who can understand your situation and can suggest a solution accordingly. If you notice symptoms mentioned above in your friends or family members, encourage them to talk to a professional. They will resist, but you should not stop and make them realise how important it is for them. It is important to remember being asocial is different to having the asocial personality disorder.