What Causes Someone To Become A Sociopath – Sociopathy, also known as antisocial behavior disorder (ASPD), refers to a pattern of antisocial behavior and attitudes. According to some estimates, ASPD occurs in 1-4% of the general population, and males are diagnosed three to five times more often than females.
At some point in your life, you may encounter someone who disregards your feelings, rights, and social norms. Sociopaths do not understand what is right or wrong, regardless of who is hurt, and do not feel guilty for their abuse or crime.
What Causes Someone To Become A Sociopath
A defining characteristic of a sociopath is a lack of conscience. Sociopaths have difficulty empathizing, only care about themselves, ignore social rules and laws, and often use tactics such as lying, cheating, and manipulation to get what they want.
Sociopath: Meaning, Symptoms, Traits
But since antisocial personality disorders occur along a spectrum, not all sociopaths are created equal. The range of sociopaths can range from mild transgressions to criminal behavior, and individuals with high-functioning ASPD are exceptionally gifted for what they are.
In fact, the terms “high-functioning” and “low-functioning” have no clinical meaning. The DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) published by the American Psychiatric Association does not classify antisocial personality disorder as high or low functioning. Thus, these adjectives simply describe the severity of sociopathic behavior.
High-functioning sociopaths share some of the same characteristics as sociopaths, but they are less easily noticed in social settings. They mimic emotions and reactions and turn them into what people want to see, often hiding ASPD tendencies and being able to function normally in everyday society.
In this sense, some argue that they lack emotional empathy but have intellectual empathy. This means that although it is difficult for them to feel and care about it themselves, they can logically know and anticipate what other people may feel and use it to manipulate others. They tend to be in relationships and can start a family, have children, and work.
Psychopath: Meaning, Signs, And Vs. Sociopath
Low-functioning sociopaths are not as inept in social situations as high-functioning sociopaths and do not use colorful and polite behavior to mask their manipulation. They may lack the training and interpersonal skills necessary to lead and manage other people, so they often use threats, coercion, intimidation, and even violence to achieve their goals.
The terms “sociopath” and “psychopath” are often used as labels for people with antisocial personality disorder. However, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), which is used by health care professionals to diagnose mental disorders, does not have an official clinical term.
This means that no one can be clinically diagnosed as a “sociopath” or “psychopath” despite having psychopathic tendencies and behaviors. The term is also used in the scientific literature, but is not well defined.
Both sociopathic and psychopathic individuals have antisocial personality traits. And the current belief is that psychopaths have a more severe form of ASPD than sociopaths.
Did Anders Breivik Train Himself To Become A Sociopath?
It is generally agreed that psychopathy is congenital and generally caused by genetic factors when the areas of the brain responsible for emotional regulation and impulse control are not fully developed. Sociopathy, on the other hand, is the result of environmental factors such as verbal, sexual, or physical abuse or severe trauma during childhood.
Psychopaths are emotionally distant, calculating, unable to form or maintain genuine connections, and more likely to be violent. Sociopaths are more unstable and prone to impulsive behavior. They have a clear sense of morality, limited empathy, and the ability to feel close to a particular person or group.
Antisocial personality disorder, or ASPD, is one of ten personality disorders that fall into three groups, including:
ASPD is a cluster B personality disorder. Other personality disorders found in this cluster include narcissistic personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, and histrionic personality disorder.
Parenting Traps That Will Turn Your Kid Into A Sociopath
Antisocial personality disorder is a lifelong disorder that usually begins in childhood or adolescence and continues into adulthood. As with other types of personality disorder, ASPD comes in many forms, so the severity can range from occasional bad behavior to breaking the law and committing serious crimes.
ASPD is characterized by a persistent pattern of ignoring and violating the rights of others. Symptoms of ASPD after age 15 may include:
Usually, ASPD is not officially diagnosed before age 18, because a child’s personality is constantly evolving. However, antisocial (or sociopathic) traits and attitudes in children and adolescents are sometimes described as conduct disorders. One of the criteria for ASPD is having a conduct disorder before the age of 15.
Not all children and adolescents diagnosed with conduct disorder develop the same ASPD symptoms as adults. Research shows that 25-40% of children and adolescents with conduct disorder are diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder as adults.
What Is A Psychopath?
Finally, an individual’s antisocial behavior would meet criteria if it did not occur within the context of schizophrenia or another diagnosis of bipolar disorder.
Antisocial personality disorder is considered one of the most difficult disorders to treat. There is currently no cure for sociopathy, but sometimes people with ASPD can control their behavior and treat it, but success depends on their willingness to participate in treatment and the severity of their symptoms.
Individuals with this diagnosis will engage in the same manipulations and charms in their therapeutic relationships, feigning commitment and superficial motivation without actively seeking change. Addressing these dynamics openly in the therapeutic relationship can be crucial.
But the problem is that most high-level sociopaths don’t seek treatment because they don’t think there’s anything wrong with their behavior. They may notice that they are getting into trouble or that their partners are not happy with them. But people with ASPD tend to blame other people and other situations.
How Do Sociopaths Typically Treat Their Families?
Often, people with this diagnosis end up in treatment as a result of dealing with the legal system. Mental health treatment is often required during incarceration, as part of a court-ordered sentence, and/or under conditions of parole or probation.
Treatment depends on each individual’s specific situation and may include psychotherapy or medication. Treatment may include anger management, violence management, and treatment for alcohol and drug abuse.
But it doesn’t always work, especially if someone has severe symptoms. Psychotherapy can only be beneficial if the patient recognizes the problem and wants to change. Common approaches include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), mindfulness-based therapy (MBT), and democratic therapeutic community (DTC).
As for medications, there are no medications specifically approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat antisocial personality disorder. Medical professionals may prescribe medications for specific conditions associated with antisocial personality disorder, such as anxiety, depression, or aggression.
Is There A Difference Between Sociopathy And Antisocial Personality Disorder?
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If someone in your life has ASPD and you suspect that their destructive behavior is directly affecting you, the best thing you can do is take care of yourself and protect your mental well-being. You may not be able to convince them to seek treatment because they don’t understand that what they’re doing is abnormal, and they don’t care if their bad behavior hurts you.
You cannot “fix” someone else unless you are willing to change them. So if you are in a relationship with someone with ASPD and they refuse to get help, you should seriously consider the negative consequences of allowing this relationship to remain in your life.
Consider seeking help from a therapist who can help you identify harmful patterns and manipulations. Learning to set boundaries, protect yourself, and move forward to build your life is so important.
Sociopath: A Memoir By Patric Gagne
Irina is an avid content writer and a lifelong learner with an interest in learning new things. Bachelor’s Degree in Health Sciences and Special Education and Master’s in Psychology. Irina uses her knowledge and writing skills to create well-researched articles that educate, empower, and empower readers to take charge of their mental health and practice self-care.
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