By Dr. Mary Ross

antisocial behavior in adolescenceAn anti-social behavior is seen as any behavior that is harmful to any society. These are behaviors which when someone exhibits, is said to be an anti-social person. These behaviors are caused by a number of factors some of which could be hereditary, or caused by the environment. Any society with a high number of antisocial individuals tend to spend more in running the society because they tend to constitute nuisance to the said society.

Anti-social behaviors are very pronounced in adults; in which they tend to become deceitful, theft, destruction of property, always want to be alone, becomes very aggressive and self-centered, often seen violating the rules laid down in any environment he or she finds him or herself.

Although pronounced in adults, antisocial behaviors are also found in adolescents. This condition is more pronounced in boys than women. In this article, we will be discussing the symptoms, causes of antisocial personality disorders in adolescents and then, suggest possible ways of treating them.



Sometimes it might be hard to actually say someone is antisocial because of one of their acts. But when repeated over time, then it can be concluded that he or she is antisocial. Some of the symptoms of antisocial behaviors in adolescents include;

  • Hostility: antisocial adolescents tend to be hostile and easily irritated, very aggressive and often engage in acts of violence
  • Becomes very nervous and fails to plan for anything
  • Violates the law often.
  • Becomes arrogant and tend to bully others because they feel superior
  • They are known to tell lies repeatedly.
  • Stealing and not showing remorse for any of their actions.



As we all know, adolescents are kids during the period of their development into adulthood. As such, their nervous systems are undergoing changes that can be easily influenced by a variety of factors which could lead to either their being of good behavior or being anti-social. Some of these factors that can help develop antisocial behaviors in adolescents include;

  • Abuse: it has been observed that kids that suffer child abuse tend to develop these behaviors as a result of the effect of these abuses on the brain. Traumatic events can cause a disruption of the central nervous system.
  • Divorce: a child that grows under the care of a single parent which was as a result of divorce will tend to develop these behaviors as a result of neglect by parents. Children while growing up tend to develop some behaviors that needs to be curbed at an early stage, but because they don’t get enough attention from parents, these behaviors are carried up till adulthood and then they become antisocial.
  • Genetic causes, as a result of injuries on the head or nervous system, over exposure to horror and violent movies and games, etc.
  • Smoking and peer influence: it has been observed also that a child’s friends corrupt him or her. The child tends to act like his or her friends and if they are people with antisocial behaviors and talk about how they bully people, the child will learn and also turn antisocial.



Having discussed the causes of these behaviors, one can easily predict the possible solutions or preventive measures for it. Below are some of the preventive and/or treating measures;

  • Psychotherapy: visiting a psychologist and getting the child undergo psychotherapy will actually help treat this disorder. This therapy will help a person learn how to become more sensitive to the feelings of others and by so doing, becomes social and stop the aforementioned antisocial behaviors.
  • Use of medications: there are some medications that can help ease these behaviors in adolescents which were not initially manufactured for this but have been observed to be effective in treating this. Some of them include; antidepressants, mood stabilizers, antianxiety drugs, etc.
  • Discouraging divorce and child abuse: it could be seen as stated above that antisocial behaviors develop in children as a result of neglect from divorced or quarrelling parents. Discouraging the rate of divorce and seeking ways to preach peace will go a long way to stopping these antisocial behaviors in adolescents. Also, making laws to stop child abuse will reduce these behaviors.
  • Proper monitoring of children as they turn into adults: as a parent, it is advised that you make your child your friend and ask them about all they go through each day so as to know when they learn bad things from peers. Don’t make them feel alone, advice and counsel them daily and try to know their friends and you’ll save the kid.