Does anyone actually “recover” from Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD) or psychopathy? Yes and no. We must remember that by the very definition of the disorder that those with ASPD display a persistent and pervasive disregard for the rights of others. This gets at a mindset that is exceptionally selfish and callous, and we must keep in mind that personality disorders tend to be for life. As such, the term ‘recovery’ must be treated with skepticism. It is fair to acknowledge that one with ASPD may learn to show restraint as a means of keeping himself in the good graces of society, however to believe that such restraint is brought on by a seismic shift in personality – that one with ASPD suddenly begins to care about the well-being and rights of others – is laughable.
No person with ASPD seeks to “recover” from their disorder for the sake of others. Anyone that claims to be doing so is a liar at best and a poser at worst. The mindset that one’s needs and wants are above the rights of others is eternal for those with ASPD. In part, this is why it is important that minors do not gravitate toward the label, as those with conduct disorder tend to eventually recognize the rights of others and do not qualify for the adult disorder. While ASPD need not be rooted in narcissism, it should be easy to see that the ASPD individual has no problems in violating the wishes and needs of another for the end goal of satisfying his own wants and needs. Therefore it is impossible for an antisocial individual to recover in the traditional sense. Just as the recovered alcoholic will always be tempted by drink, the antisocial will always crave underhanded ways of getting his desires met.
All of that said, if one is simply looking for a mitigation of antisocial symptoms, the antisocial individual may be able to show progress. This is usually the result of someone with ASPD realizing that they are tempting fate (and jail time) a bit too often, or maybe they have already found themselves in serious legal or financial trouble and wish to avoid such inconveniences in the future. He will be tempted by the callous or indifferent way he treats others in order to get his wants and needs met, but he will ultimately back off due to a realization that the risk is not worth the reward. The important thing to note is that the mindset has not changed, only the outcome.
Anyone that claims to have ASPD and seeks to recover for the sake of others is a fraud. We can channel restraint as a means of ensuring our own survival, but we will always have a taste for blood. Traditional recovery simply is not possible for those with ASPD. To believe as much is to delude oneself and to make oneself easy prey for the antisocial. We often think of the tired trope of someone “saving” the villain in their lives, that maybe with a special word or a careful touch, the antagonist will see the error of his ways and seek purity. This is false, for there is no recovery for what is essentially a terminal condition.