Rob Kall: Final question: How do we deal with people who are anti-social personalities or sociopaths if we encounter them, if we work with them?
Donald Black: Well, if you know that they're anti-social -- (laughs) one of the things that I say almost in jest in the book but actually has some practical application is: keep a distance from these people, because they can only cause you grief. Now as a doctor, I interact regularly with people who are anti-social. Much of my work is on an inpatient unit. I see these people with some regularity. I tell our residents in training that we don't have much to offer them on an inpatient basis, and we shouldn't keep them around very long. The longer you keep them on an inpatient unit, the more disruptive they can become in terms of requesting special privileges or requesting new medications, and they can become very disruptive. But in your personal life, if you know a relative has one of thees disorders, or maybe your husband, or a son -
Rob Kall: Co-worker?
Donald Black: Co-worker. If they're in your family I would encourage them to at least get counseling for the trouble that they have in getting along with other people. Maybe they can benefit from anger management. Some people may benefit from medication, particularly if they suffer depression or some kind of anxiety disorder. If they have a substance abuse problem they should be encouraged to get treatment for that. So those are things that family members can do. But in the worst cases, the best thing to do is create distance from that sociopathic relative.
Rob Kall: And what about if you work with somebody who is like that?
Donald Black: Well - you're more limited. But you could always go to HR and ask for reassignment, or if you have knowledge of their misbehavior, report that. But you're probably more limited because of rights that people have in the workplace that may actually keep them in the workplace than outside the workplace.
Rob Kall: OK. What if a sociopath is intentionally making your life miserable? Does that happen much?
Donald Black: It can - for example, a stalker: some who's stalking you and making threats. That's criminal behavior, it should be reported to the authorities. And in the worst cases, perhaps, someone needs to get a "No Contact Order" - although with some anti-socials, it might just make them more angry.
Rob Kall: I see. Sounds like our culture really has not dealt with the reality and phenomenon of the sociopath in anywhere near close to a way that is competent or comprehensive.
Donald Black: I totally agree. I think our society needs to address it, I think the leaders at our research institutions need to address it, and they're not. I think by writing this book, and talking about this condition and bringing attention to it - that helps, but we need more than just talk.
Rob Kall: I'm sorry, a last question. What about in other cultures? What about in indigenous tribal cultures? Have you ever looked at that, the phenomenon in different cultures, and particularly tribes, things like that?
Donald Black: That's an excellent question, and I can address it this way: anti-social personality disorder has been looked at in various countries around the world, various societies. Wherever people have looked for it, they've found it. I don't know that anyone has specifically looked at, say, indigenous cultures or very primitive cultures, but my guess is that you'd find it there too. I think it's in our genes. Wherever it's been looked at, it's present in a certain percent of the population, and I think it's just part of human society wherever humans are found.
Rob Kall: OK. It's been a great interview. Thank you so much. This is the Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show, WNJC 1360 AM. I've been speaking of Donald W. Black MD, author of Bad Boys, Bad Men: Confronting Anti-social Personality Disorder. Thank you.
Donald Black: Yes, thank you.