While only a small percentage of the population, people with antisocial personality disorder often earn a level of notoriety based on their notorious criminal activity.
When serial killer Ted Bundy was on trial more than 30 years ago, he was interviewed by Hervey Cleckley. Cleckley, known as the “father of psychopathy,” diagnosed Bundy as a psychopath, which falls under the umbrella of antisocial personality disorder.
“There has long been a fascination with psychopaths. Many of the more popular fictional characters exemplify psychopathy,” psychology expert Thomas Widiger said. “These persons often exemplify true evil and one is drawn to view that, like one slows down to observe a traffic accident or enjoys watching a violent or horror movie.”
Still others suffer quietly, like Andy Brill in the United Kingdom. He was adopted at age two from an unstable home and was a victim of sexual abuse by a friend’s older brother from ages 7 to 10.
“During and after the sexual abuse, I became more aggressive and violent. As a child, anger seemed to be my only way to express how I felt, although looking back I have no memory of any feelings,” he wrote in his story for a United Kingdom-based mental health awareness organization.
Even after seeing a clinical psychologist as a teenager, he didn’t receive a diagnosis and went on to live a double life as a young professional and a criminal. Faced with potential prison time for his crimes, he sought help and received an antisocial personality disorder diagnosis. His psychiatrist and family have helped him navigate each day, and Brill insists that there are many others like him who are not violent and live normal lives.