[Please note that this page contains affiliate links. If you choose to purchase after clicking a link, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.]
A Sociopath and a psychopath are different literary labels for antisocial personality disorder (APD) diagnosis.
It is estimated that 3% of people meet the traits given for a diagnosis of APD.
Psychopaths and Sociopaths
Antisocial personality disorder in the DSM-5 defines it as someone who has at least three of these traits or more:
- They are impulsive and do not plan ahead
- No feelings of guilt or remorse
- They have little to no safety for others
- Usually in debt and not financially secure
- Pathological liars
- Aggressive people are often in fights
- Always in trouble with the law
Both sociopaths and psychopaths share similar symptoms before age 15.
As they grow into an adult, they grow into and becoming a sociopath and psychopath.
Many scientists believe that psychopaths are born with it like a genetic predisposition.
Sociopaths are generally shaped and formed into one because of their environment. However, this doesn’t mean that psychopaths aren’t affected by childhood trauma.
Scientists agree that psychopathy is most likely connected to physiological brain distinctions.
Researchers have proven that psychopaths have underdeveloped parts of their brain, usually with impulse control and emotion regulation.
Meaning psychopaths have a difficult time establishing emotional attachments with other people.
Although, psychopaths will create shallow manipulative relationships to benefit themselves.
People to psychopaths are only good for helping them towards their own goals.
They rarely feel any guilt based upon their actions, no matter how badly they may hurt someone.
However, they can come off as being very trustworthy and charismatic well having steady long-term jobs.
Some psychopaths hold loving relationships with a partner and whole families. They are efficient at teaching themselves and sometimes maybe well-educated.
A psychopath who exposes themselves to criminal behaviour will meticulously plan everything possible to avoid getting caught—having backup plans.
Are Sociopaths and Psychopaths Born That Way?
Scientists believe that a sociopath is not born but a product of their environment, like a kid’s upbringing from emotional abuse, physical abuse, and other childhood traumas.
Sociopaths are even more impulsive in their behaviour than psychopaths tend to be.
Sociopaths also have trouble forming meaningful relationships, and some may create an attachment to a person or group like themselves. Most have difficulties holding a job over the long term.
Sociopaths who participate in criminal behaviour tend to be more unplanned and impulsive, without the consciousness of consequences. As a result, they are easily angered and sometimes engage in violent outbreaks.
Sociopaths and psychopaths can impose some risks on our society, as they will try living a regular life while trying to cope with an antisocial personality disorder.
Although psychopathy is a more dangerous disorder as they have much less guilt about their actions.
Psychopaths are better at disconnecting from their behaviours and actions.
A lot of famous serial killers are and have been psychopaths.
But not all sociopaths and psychopaths are violent. Violence is not a symptom in the DSM-5 to diagnose an antisocial personality disorder, but it will often be or become violent.
Similarities Between a Psychopath and a Sociopath
Most who are diagnosed with psychopathy or sociopathy have shown a pattern of behaviour where they abuse the safety of others.
They often break the law and other rules and break societal norms as children.
Psychiatrists name these kinds of behaviours in childhood a conduct disorder.
There are four categories of conduct disorders all have in common, which are:
- Often break laws and rules
- Show aggression to animals and people
- Destroy property
- Theft and deceit
Children and younger teens who show these four symptoms are at greater risk for antisocial personality disorder.
APD is much more common in males and is often associated with alcohol and other drug abuse.