Sociopathic personality disorder is also known as antisocial personality disorder (APD), and although many people tend to lump sociopaths into the same group as psychopaths, there are many differences in the types of personality traits exhibited by those with a sociopathic personality disorder. While psychiatrists will often treat psychopaths and sociopaths the same, someone with a criminology masters degree will understand that environmental factors, as opposed to genetic predisposition, contribute in large part to the development of antisocial personality disorder. So what are the sociopathic personality disorder symptoms you should be aware of?
One important distinction between sociopaths and psychopaths is that people with a sociopathic personality disorder are often able to integrate well into society and stay undetected. As a result, many sociopaths live comparatively normal lives that include holding down a job and even getting married.
When do sociopathic disorder symptoms first materialise?
According to extensive research, sociopaths usually exhibit classic telltale symptoms of sociopathy in early childhood. Children with antisocial behavior disorders often show a fascination with pyromania, are cruel to animals, and continue wetting the bed well beyond 5 years of age. These behavioral traits are known as the McDonald triad of sociopathy and are included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Health Disorders.
What are the main sociopathic personality disorder symptoms?
Sociopathic personalities show little regard for authority and the law. As children, they are often in trouble due to aggressive behavior and a failure to conform to social norms. As a result, many sociopaths end up as juvenile delinquents from an early age due to their propensity for partaking in criminal acts. But as well as aggressive behavior and an unwillingness to conform to society’s rules, there are other recognized traits common to sociopaths and these include:
Lack of remorse: sociopaths cannot empathize with other people and they are unlikely to have many friends. In the worst cases, sociopaths will commit acts of violence against others, even those they profess to love.
Deceitfulness: lying, cheating, and stealing are common traits of a sociopath, which is another good reason why sociopaths are unlikely to be very popular in the community. A sociopath will not think twice about stealing from somebody they know for their own gain.
Reckless disregard for well being and safety of self and others: sociopaths are not interested in helping others, as they cannot empathize with another’s plight.
Irresponsibility: sociopaths rarely take responsibility for their actions and are unlikely to consider they have done anything wrong, even when they have committed terrible crimes.
Impulsive behavior: sociopaths rarely plan ahead and do not think their actions through. Unlike psychopaths who might spend a long time meticulously planning a crime, a sociopath is much more likely to commit a random act of violence. Their narcissistic personality traits also mean they are quite likely to boast about their crimes as a way of attracting attention to themselves.
But aside from the more obvious antisocial behavioral traits usually exhibited by sociopaths, they can also be very charming individuals—a personality trait they often use to great advantage. Sociopaths are more than capable of using social skills to entice unwitting victims into their twisted world, which also explains why some sociopaths are able to lead an apparently normal life that includes a spouse and children.