Sociopathy and psychopathy are two broad categories people know the most about under anti-social personality disorder. People often use these terms interchangeably when these are two different conditions. Being a sociopath means living with an anti-social personality disorder (ASPD). However, being a psychopath means the same in a broad term. So, one needs to educate themselves about the difference and know about the diagnosis methods like the sociopath quiz.
What is ASPD?
According to DSM-5, a source mental health professionals often refer to, ASPD is a condition of constantly overlooking the social norms and rules and violating others’ rights. Victims may find people with ASPD attractive or charming at first, but they cannot respect other people’s feelings.
The most common activities they are addicted to include:
- Violating the law or other set of rules
- Aggressive behavior
- Falling down the guilt trap after doing something wrong and acting impulsively
- Controlling behavior
- Manipulation and deception
Sociopath and psychopath – understanding the difference
While both of these conditions fall under ASPD, sociopaths and psychopaths can develop some broken relationships. Treatment can help individuals with these conditions, but no absolute cure is known right now.
The differences between the two are as follows.
Psychopaths are made from genetic factors, while sociopaths are made from external factors.
Psychopaths have no consideration for others’ feelings and are considered to live with no conscience. On the other hand, sociopaths may feel remorse and have a weak conscience.
Psychopaths are more likely to display more harmful and aggressive behavior than sociopaths.
- Feeling emotions
In some cases, psychopaths may pretend to have some feelings even when they don’t. But, sociopaths may display a hint of emotions like empathy and guilt.
Psychopaths fail to form fruitful emotional attachments, whereas sociopaths may have very few close relationships they value.
Symptoms of being a sociopath
Here are the significant symptoms to look out for in someone who may be a sociopath.
- Little to no empathy
- Behaving impulsively
- Controlling others through aggression and threat
- Using their charm to manipulate or deceive others
- No improvements after punishment and refusing to learn from their mistakes
- Excessive lying
- Fights and physical violence
- Superficial or no relationships
- Stealing and other petty crimes which may grow over time
- Threatening suicide and using to manipulate others
- Drug or alcohol abuse or both
- Trouble owning up to responsibilities like their job, family, etc.
If one feels someone around them may have ASPD or related conditions, they should understand that they need immediate help. Some individuals may refuse to see a professional, and dealing with their stubborn behavior may be a fight. Psychiatrists usually use assessments like a sociopath quiz and interviews to diagnose individuals with this condition.
The most common treatment approaches for professionals to help sociopaths are as follows.
- Cognitive Behaviour Therapy – It helps build productive responses and behavior
- Mentalization-based Therapy – It enables to understand their own and others’ emotional and mental mindsets
- Contingency Management – It rewards the progress in the treatment
- Democratic therapeutic community (usually in prisons) to promote collective decision-making
Sociopaths may be hard to spot at first as they may appear attractive individuals on the outside. However, friends, family, coworkers, etc., should look for the signs to provide them with the help they need to live everyday lives.