Difference Between Psychopath and Sociopath
Anti-social personality disorders can take on many variations. The two main delineations are sociopaths and psychopaths. For better or worse, there are few differences between psychopaths and sociopaths. Some medical dictionaries even consider them to be synonymous. Both disorders cause one to engage in extremely anti-social behavior that includes acts of extreme violence. While psychiatrists often class sociopaths and psychopaths together, criminologists differentiate between them based on their outward behavior.
Outward Behavior of a Sociopath
- Sociopaths tend to be extremely disorganized.
- They are unable to maintain normal relationships with family, friends, or co-workers.
- They are often unable to keep steady employment or housing.
- They often live literally at the fringes of society. In a study of the homeless people who live in the subway tunnels of New York City, a disproportionately large number of them were classed as sociopaths.
- Their outbreaks of violence are erratic and unplanned. Sociopaths are easier to identify and apprehend as they generally leave behind a large trail of clues.
Outward Behavior of a Psychopath
- Psychopaths can be almost obsessively organized.
- They can maintain normal social relationships. They may take care of aging parents or be married with children.
- Psychopaths will often be very successful in their careers. Their need for organization is coupled with an ability to make others like and trust them. Because they intellectually understand human emotions but are unable to experience them themselves, they are masters at emotional manipulation.
- They often live in a normal house or apartment, completely indistinguishable from healthy people.
- Psychopaths will take years to plan out acts of violence and revenge. They are very difficult to catch because they will carefully plan each step of the act to ensure they will commit their crime undetected.
There are some similarities between Psychopaths and Sociopaths: Both psychopaths are sociopaths have medical mental disorders that can be treated or alleviated through therapy and medication once properly diagnosed. Their symptoms begin to be outwardly established at approximately fifteen years of age and are initially manifested by excessive cruelty to animals. As the disease progresses the main symptoms include: a lack of what society normally deems a ‘conscience,’ lack of remorse or guilt for hurtful actions to others, an intellectual understanding of appropriate social behavior but no emotional response to the actions of others, an inability to form genuine relationships, and inappropriate or out of proportion responses to perceived slights.
1. Sociopaths and psychopaths are both classed as anti-social personality disorders.
2. Both types of person enjoy cruelty, feel lack normal human emotions of guilt, and are unable to form emotional bonds with others.
3. Sociopaths generally behave in a disorganized, erratic manner.
4. Psychopaths generally behave outwardly normal but will engage in elaborate plots to manipulate or harm those around them.
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