Antisocial Personality Disorder (APD) is perhaps the most frightening of all personality disorders, as well as one of the most difficult to diagnose. Personality disorders in general are defined as inflexible, maladaptive, personality traits that cause personal distress or an inability to get along with others. APD specifically is characterized by deceitfulness, lack of regret or remorse over actions, impulsiveness, aggression towards others or animals, irresponsibility and a general failure to conform to the norms of society. The person with APD can be described as one who feels nothing or almost nothing towards any other living thing, except perhaps contempt. However, they can still be quite charming when it suits them (such as con artists)and they can appear quite normal to the average person. .
It is possible that the development of APD begins in childhood, although it is not diagnosed as such until after eighteen years of age. In childhood, Conduct Disorder carries almost identical symptoms to APD. Patterns of blatant disregard for rules and authority, aggression, habitual lying, a tendency toward stealing and destruction of property that occur early in life may point to APD as an adult. It appears that somewhere along the line, moral development simply fails. Studies have also shown that symptoms of the disorder may begin to decrease at age 35 - 40, with violent crimes dropping off sharply but crimes such as theft and cons continuing until very late in life.
On the other hand, a person may appear normal in childhood and still be diagnosed with APD as an adult. Such was the case with Ted Bundy, the "chi omega killer”. By all accounts of family and friends, Ted was an average child, quiet and a good student. It wasn't until he reached his teens that subtle signs of APD began to appear. He has stated that he began to feel something was different about himself around the time he entered junior high.