Symptoms of ASPD (Antisocial Personality disorder) may include.
- Anger and hostility:
They are generally discontent with everything around them.
2. Exhibition of antisocial behaviors:
Disrespect, recklessness and lack of empathy are symptoms of being a sociopath. They can also withdraw from people and reality completely.
3. High criminal tendencies:
Sociopaths participate in dangerous activities. They lack restraints and are very aggressive, putting themselves and others at high-risk consequences.
4. No regard for right or wrong:
Sociopaths disregard law and order, they are comfortable flouting rules, regulations, and laws.
5. They are Manipulative:
They are very deceitful and lie to manipulate and exploit others.
6. They are cynical and selfish:
With no empathy for others, all they care about is themselves and satisfying their impulses.
SOCIOPATH VS PSYCHOPATH
A sociopath is sometimes mistaken for a psychopath. They are both psychiatric disorders but there are slight differences between them. Both a psychopath and a sociopath share the same lack of empathy and disregard for the well-being of others. However, unlike a sociopath, a psychopath’s behavior is not influenced by their environment. According to research, a psychopath’s brain has some areas and centres that are not fully developed and this is responsible for their irrational and impulsive behavior. These brain parts are usually those responsible for the regulation and control of emotions and impulses. This makes a psychopath prone to aggression, dishonesty, lack of sympathy, criminal tendencies, and many more without any form of remorse or guilt for their behaviors.
The major difference between the two mental illnesses is that sociopathy is mostly influenced by the environment while psychopathy is a result of some kind of deformation in the brain of the patient. Psychopathy is considered more dangerous than sociopathy because psychopaths are more disconnected from their actions and they can carry out the most absurd and criminal actions without any emotional involvement.
CAUSES OF SOCIOPATH BEHAVIOURS
The reasons behind the schizotypal behaviors can be narrowed down to either of these four:
- Biological makeup: Serotonin is responsible for sending signals between nerve cells. It is present in the central nervous system and a low serotonin level can cause severe mood disorders like anxiety and depression and often, the inability to regulate one’s moods.
- Environment: This is the most common cause of sociopath behavior. Sociopaths usually show symptoms from their formative stage due to childhood abuse and trauma that causes them to develop these antisocial and schizotypal behaviors later in life.
- Genetics: Some genetic factors can expose an individual to this condition but none has been proven to be the exact one. It is hard to say genetics has nothing to do with a child exhibiting either of his parents’ antisocial characteristics and it is only the environmental factor that is involved. For the benefit of the doubt, genetics cannot be completely written off.
- Lifestyle: People with this condition could also have developed it through drugs or alcohol abuse as this usually leaves the abuser clueless and with little to no control over their actions.
CONSEQUENCES OF SOCIOPATH BEHAVIOUR
Sociopaths are usually a menace to themselves and society at large. They are found abusing their relatives, spouses, friends, and children. They perform destructive actions that can result in them spending most of their lives in jail. That is why these people need to get diagnosed and treated early.
Studies have shown that sociopathy scores correlated with repeated imprisonment, detention in higher security, disciplinary infractions, and substance misuse. Individual studies also gave similar results for adult offenders, forensic psychiatric samples, community samples, and youth. This small to moderate effect appears to be due to impulsive behaviors and past criminal history, which are well-established and general risk factors.
Studies have suggested a strong correlation between sociopathy scores and violence, and the PCL-R emphasizes features that are somewhat predictive of violent behavior. Researchers, however, have noted that sociopathy is dissociable from and not synonymous with violence. Sociopathy has also been proven to be associated with predatory or “cold-blooded” aggression which is a type of aggressive behavior that is encompassed by reduced emotion and is conducted without the motive of, but facilitated by, harm.
Sociopaths have been associated with the commission of a sexual offense, which some researchers have argued to have correlation with sociopathic preference for more violent sexual practices. For child molesters, sociopathy was associated with more offenses. A study carried out on the relationship between sociopathy and aggression types in cases of sexual murder showed that 84.2% of these cased had scores above 20 while 47.7% had above 30. These scores were derived through PCL-R- a diagnostic tool for measuring sociopathic and psychopathic tendencies in people. They also reported that 82.4% of those with scores above 30 had engaged in sadistic violence (defined as enjoyment indicated by self-report or evidence)
The possibility of sociopathy has been associated with organized crime, economic crime, and war crimes. Most criminals are sometimes considered sociopathic, and comparisons may be drawn with traits such as antisocial violence, a selfish worldview that excludes the welfare of others, a lack of remorse or guilt, and blame externalization. Traits like self-centeredness, unreliability and lack of behavioral control exclude sociopathic individuals from being able to conduct or participate in organized crimes or terrorism. There is a possibility that a significant portion of people with sociopathy are socially successful and can express their antisocial tendencies through more secretive means like social manipulation or white-collar crimes. These category of sociopaths are often referred to as “successful sociopaths”, and may not necessarily always have extensive histories of traditional antisocial behaviors as characterized by traditional sociopathy.
With all that has been said, the big question now is, can sociopaths be helped? Well, yes!
TREATMENT OF SOCIOPATH BEHAVIOUR
There are many other disorders whose symptoms mimic that of antisocial personality disorder, including:
- A borderline personality disorder that shows symptoms like instability in a person’s mood and manipulation of others.
- Narcissistic personality disorder, and
- Substance abuse disorder.
Therefore, it is important that even if a person is exhibiting traits of a sociopath, they are taken through a differential diagnosis. Differential diagnoses are done by specialists to determine the exact disorder a patient has before administering treatments.
As soon as a diagnosis has been made, the common treatment options include:
- Administering antidepressants(to regulate serotonin levels), antipsychotics(to control violent or aggressive behaviors), and mood stabilizers to manage severe mood changes
- Therapies like family therapy(this helps because toxicity or the presence of a sociopath in the immediate environment of a patient could be the reason behind their condition, most times), behavioral therapy( to help the patient understand their behaviors better and learn to differentiate between wrong and right and also to help with behavioral dysfunction) and psychotherapy.
Sociopathy or antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) can develop at any age but mostly, it is easy to detectable by late childhood or early teenage years. Children with this disorder can be very physically aggressive, behave recklessly, bully others, destroy properties, do not conform to laws, and show no remorse for any of their actions no matter how bad. If sociopathy is diagnosed and treatment is administered early, there are higher chances that the condition would not continue into adulthood.