Symptoms of a Sociopath
Do you know someone who you suspect to be a sociopath? Or do you wonder if you yourself may be a sociopath?
For the record, sociopaths are individuals who have what is referred to as antisocial personality disorder (a disorder which also encompasses those who were previously referred to as psychopaths, as well as those with amoral, asocial, and antisocial personalities). If, therefore, you want to know what symptoms a sociopath may display, you shall have to review the symptoms of antisocial personality disorder.
There are several common symptoms of this disorder to refer to should you wish to indulge your curiosity.
A sociopath, or someone suffering from antisocial personality disorder, typically disregards others' rights and wellbeing and engages in antisocial behavior without feelings of guilt.
Sociopaths are commonly known to have issues with lawbreaking, substance abuse, and relationships.
Curious to see whether you're a sociopath?
- The Sociopath Test: Find Out if You're a Sociopath
Has anyone ever called you a sociopath? Or do you sometimes wonder if you might be one? Perhaps you would like to investiate further by taking the convenient sociopath test I have put together to see if you likely are.
Symptoms of a Sociopath
Someone is generally said to suffer from antisocial personality disorder if one regularly disregards the rights of others and exhibits three or more of the following charactersitics:
- Lack of remorse after having wronged others (either through rationalization or indifference)
- Complete readiness to lie or manipulate others to get what one wants
- Recklessness and disregard for safety of others and/or oneself
- Trouble planning ahead in life or an impulsive nature
- General anxiety
- Aggressiveness, perhaps exhibited in the form of violence
- Run-ins with the law due to an inability to conform with social norms or common rules
In short, if you have issues assimilating with greater society and also have trouble developing relationships, following the law, behaving in a save manner, tolerating boredom, managing or anger, and/or controlling your impulses, you just might be a sociopath.
For the record, these symptoms do not count if they take place only during a Manic Episode or the course of Schizophrenia.
Under Age 18? Then it's too early to tell.
If these symptoms of a sociopath sound childish, well, they are. In fact, these characteristics are not considered to be symptoms of antisocial personality disorder unless they are exhibited from age 15 onward, and one is generally not considered to have this disorder if he or she is younger than 18 years of age.
Early signs of someone who may eventually be diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder may be identified in childhood or adolescence. If a child or teen has trouble conforming to societal norms (or, in other words, has a "conduct disorder"), he or she may be well on the way to becoming a full grown sociopath.
What Makes a Sociopath Different from a Psychopath?
People often use the terms "sociopath" and "psychopath" interchangeably. To be fair, both terms have been funneled into the antisocial personality disorder state, and many professional psychologists have even used the terms interchangeably.
David T. Lykken, however, proposed that psychopaths are actually born with their temperamental differences, while sociopaths develop them over time. It's basically a nature versus nurture issue - psychopaths may have actual temperamental differences that drive them to behave as they do, whereas sociopaths adapt to antisocial behaviors as a result of poverty, neglect, delinquent friends, or extremely low or high intelligence.
This is why someone cannot really be classified as a sociopath until he or she is around 18 years of age. One must have time to develop one's sociopathy.
Seriously Curious? Consult a Professional
If you are seriously concerned that you or a friend or family member may have antisocial personality disorder, consult a professional. While I have done some research on common symptoms and shared them here, I am by no means an expert on this subject.
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Is there treatment?
Is there a sociopath cure? Ha! As if.
You heard me right - there are currently no controlled studies out there which have found any effective treatment for antisocial personality disorder. If, therefore, you wanted to "cure" your sociopathic friend, despair. And if you yourself are a sociopath, rejoice! You are unstoppable.
What I recommend is adapting your sociopathy in such a way that it serves to better your situation rather than give you trouble. Generally, what is good for others can be good for you, so by working within the law and not hurting others, you will find that you can do much more with your time and effort. Heck, you might even make the world a better place, which you probably don't directly care about, but could still stand to benefit from.
To be honest, the one 'treatment' method that has helped those with antisocial personality disorder to date involves using contingency management programs or special reward systems to bring about behavioral change. Put your own contingency management program in place - and flourish!
Good luck to you, and have fun failing to conform to society! Being a lemming is overrated anyway.
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