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Antisocial Personality Disorder

Its effect on
Political and other Leadership
Vivek M.Pradhan

The diagnosis of Mental disorders is very important for proper treatment of such
disorders. Many a times it is noticed that wrong and erroneous diagnosis has led to faulty
treatment, thereby leading to incorrect, harmful and unwanted medicines and therapies
being tried on patients suffering from mental disorders; leading sometimes to their
unwarranted deaths, thus correct diagnosis of mental disorders is very crucial for
Psychiatrists, Psychologists, Psychotherapists, Doctors and Counsellors. But how is
correct diagnosis done? The proper diagnosis of the disorders is done by using records
collected by professionals in the field and by using information gathering steps known as
assessments. The Professionals have agreed upon a system by which various mental
disorders can be classified and diagnosed in a proper manner. Actually various systems
have been developed for proper diagnosis of psychological disorders, namely: The
International Statistical and Classification Diseases, Injuries and Causes of Death or
I.C.D.-10, W.H.O. (1992) and D.S.M.-IV meaning Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of
Mental Disorders was published by American Psychiatric Association (1994).
Psychiatrists, Psychologists, Psychotherapists, Doctors and Counsellors in majority of the
countries of the world including India are using this manual for identifying and
diagnosing a specific mental disorder.

In DSM- IV, mental disorders have been classified along five axes and the patient
suffering from a disorder is described on different dimensions (axes) and his problem is
not included in a single category, this helps the professionals to arrive at a proper
diagnosis. DSM-IV divides personality disorders into three distinct clusters or groups, for
the present study we shall be referring to the second personality disorder group, which
includes disorders involving Dramatic, emotional and erratic forms of behavior. Persons
suffering from such disorders can be harmful to themselves, their families as well as to
the entire society.


The DSM-IV, Axes-II divides personality disorders in to three major clusters or groups.
Personality disorders in each cluster are described below:

Group-1: Odd and Eccentric Personality Disorders

Paranoid Personality Disorder Pervasive distrust and suspiciousness of others

Schizoid Personality Disorder Pervasive pattern of detachment from social

relationship and restricted range of emotions


Schizotypal Personality Disorder Intense discomfort in interpersonal relationships,

cognitive or perceptual distortions, and eccentric

Group-2: Dramatic Emotional, Erratic Personality Disorders

Antisocial Personality Disorder Deceitfulness, impulsivity, irritability, reckless

disregard for safety and welfare of others, lack of

Borderline Personality Disorder Pervasive pattern of instability in interpersonal

relationships, self- image, moods

Histrionic Personality Disorder Pervasive pattern of excessive emotionality and

attention seeking

Narcissistic Personality Disorder Pervasive pattern of grandiosity in fantasy or

behavior, plus lack of empathy

Group-3: Anxious and fearful Personality Disorders

Avoidant Personality Disorder Pervasive pattern of social inhibition, feelings of

inadequacy, hypersensitivity to negative evaluation

Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Preoccupation with orderliness, perfectionism, and

Disorder need of mental and interpersonal control

Dependent Personality Disorder Pervasive and excessive need to be taken care of

The Personality disorder mentioned on DSM-IV, Axes-2, Group-2 above i.e. Antisocial
Personality Disorder is a very important and the most disturbing mental disorder with
respect to the well-being of the society as a whole. The persons suffering from this
disorder are chronically callous and manipulative towards others, ignore social rules and
laws, behave impulsively and irresponsibly, fail to learn from punishment and show a
lack of remorse towards their misdeeds. (Patrick, Bradley, &Lang, 1993) Such persons
become criminals; conmen and some may even become politician and leaders. (Robert
A.Baron,2003). When persons suffering from Antisocial Personality Disorder enter
politics, there is a possibility of them harming and destroying the social structure and the

In India we have experienced the rise of persons of criminal backgrounds to the highest
positions of leadership and power in majority of the political parties. The Indian voters
are electing such persons through the democratic process and entrusting them with the
safety of themselves and their loved ones, these voters are many a times not aware that
the persons whom they trust, worship and sing praises of and have given the power to
make laws and rule over them, may be suffering from Antisocial Personality Disorder.

Communal riots which take place regularly in various states of India, the alleged burning
of the train in Godhra and the subsequent carnage in Gujarat, the rioting and massacre of
Sikh community in Delhi and other places after the murder of Smt.Indira Gandhi, the
riots in Hubli, the heinous killings committed by Naxalites and Kashmiri terrorists, the
rampant bribery and continued bad treatment and sexual abuse of women and children,
are some of the instances which point to coldhearted, scheming and antisocial behavior of
certain persons who are political, social or self-proclaimed spiritual leaders. Such
leadership behaves as though the entire society is their fiefdom and every individual is
their personal property and due to their provocative language and inciting acts many
innocent beings who have faith in the Indian democratic values and who respect the
Indian constitution suffer from serious injuries or meet violent deaths.

Some scientists have suggested that Anti Social Personality Disorder may be Biological
in nature or hereditary and also may be due to children following their parents as models.
(C.T.Morgan & others,2003) If there is any substance in these findings the society has to
be careful. In India majority of the changes in all the political leadership of the parties are
dynastic in nature and the Indian voters need to be extra cautious while selecting
candidates and casting their valuable votes and also should not loose an opportunity to
keep such persons away from seats of power. There could be certain self proclaimed
spiritual leaders or babas,who may be suffering from Anti Social Personality Disorder, it
is in the interest of the society to keep these persons at a safe distance for its welfare and

Note: The subject of the above article is for the purpose of scientific discussion and the author does not
wish to malign any individual living or dead.
References: American Psychiatric Association (1994). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental
Disorders (DSM-IV).
Baron, Robert A.. (2003).Psychology, New-Delhi :Prentice-Hall.
Morgan, Clifford T., King ,R. Weisz, J. & Shoppler,J. (2003). Introduction to
Psychology, New-Delhi : Tata McGraw Hill.
Patrick,C.J.,Bradley,M.M., & Lang, P.J.(1993) Emotion in the criminal psychopath:
startle Reflex Modulation.Journal of Abnormal Psychology,102,83-92.
About the Author:
Vivek M.Pradhan,M.A.(Economics),M.S.(Psychotherapy & Counselling)
Psychotherapist & Counsellor
Fellow Member Association of Psychotherapists & Counsellors(Mumbai)
Address: 201,Pradhan House,Datta Mandir Cross Road, Off Link Road,
Tel.:32509605, Cell:9892535293