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Sociopath VS Psychopath – Understanding the Contrasting Shades

Sociopath VS Psychopath – Understanding the Contrasting Shades

Updated on Jun 09, 2022

Reviewed by Dr. Nereida Gonzalez-Berrios, MD , Certified Psychiatrist

Sociopath VS Psychopath – Understanding the Contrasting Shades

We see many people around us whose behavior doesn’t match societal norms. It means either their conduct and gestures are not socially appropriate or they engage in risky, anti-social, and violent behavior that can hurt the interests and sentiments of others.

Sometimes they may engage in criminal activities and lack guilt and shame for their misdeeds. These types of people who violate the norms and rules of the society are known interchangeably as sociopath vs psychopath.

Each condition is different from the other, but they also have many similar traits that make them confusing and elusive. 

In this article we will discuss in detail the important traits and behavior patterns of these two antisocial personalities along with the key differences and resemblance.

Here we go…..

Sociopath VS Psychopath Infographic

Sociopath VS Psychopath – Understanding the Contrasting Shades
Sociopath VS Psychopath – Understanding the Contrasting Shades

Sociopath vs. psychopath – definition

Sociopath and psychopath refers to severe forms of antisocial personality disorders where a person’s ability to experience emotions gets limited. They are aggressive, violent types of people who are remorseless and unapologetic for their violent misdeeds. 

The terms sociopaths and psychopaths are used mutually to describe two pathological types of antisocial behavior. 

To be more precise, we can say that these two terms are actually referring to the same concept of behavior patterns, though there are subtle differences between the two that sets them apart.

Our society has portrayed sociopaths and psychopaths as cold-hearted, brutal, and violent. They are regarded as irrational people who always break society’s rules. 

They are also known for their aggressive and disruptive behavior. Yet, only a small part of this claim is true.

When you know the finer differences between the two terms, you’ll be able to understand the clinical picture of antisocial personality disorder in a better way.

The actual difference between psychopath and sociopath is still unclear because it symbolizes a cultural name only, not an actual clinical term.

A sociopath is a person who is angry-prone, lacks empathy, and has no guilt. They are cunning and manipulative in their words and actions. Always remains indecisive and unsure of the consequences of their action.

A psychopath is cold-blooded, violent, immoral, and incapable of compassion, love. Moreover, they are calculative and have shallow emotional responses.

They are impulsive and aggressive and frequently get into anti-social activities and criminal behavior.

Both these types are irresponsible and disregard the safety of others. Sociopaths and psychopaths manifest extreme forms of violence.  They also disobey the rules of the society. 

They own an exalted sense of self and can be regarded as compulsive liars. Both these types manifest three main common characteristics:

  • Deceitfulness
  • Manipulation and lying
  • No moral conscience

Some experts also think that a sociopath and a psychopath are the same and they fall under the diagnostic criteria of antisocial personality disorder in DSM-5. 

Sociopath vs psychopath traits

Before we move on to understand the traits of a sociopath and psychopath, it is important to understand “Antisocial Personality Disorder”. 

This term refers to a personality disorder where a person shows patterns of impulsive behavior, lying, cheating, manipulation, etc. It may or may not involve acts of crime.

According to Mayo Clinic, “Antisocial personality disorder is a mental condition in which a person consistently shows no regard for right and wrong and ignores the rights and feelings of others. People with (aspd) antisocial personality disorder tend to antagonize, manipulate, or treat others harshly or with callous indifference. They show no guilt or remorse for their behavior.”

Psychopaths tend to defy moral laws and codes of conduct even if it suits them. They are remorseless, harsh, aggressive, and have no regard for the safety of others. Psychopaths also lack moral conscience.

Sociopaths are impulsive and aggressive. Yet they have a limited ability to show morality and empathy. Most of the time, a sociopath appears ruthless, uncaring, and defiant.

Sociopath and psychopath are informal names given to antisocial behavior. Thus, the behavior traits and signs of maladjustment that they manifest are those of antisocial personality disorder.

They may appear normal and even charming and ingratiating. Their histories reveal many areas of disordered life functioning. 

Lying, truancy, running away from home, thefts, fights, substance abuse, and illegal activities are typical experiences that patients report as beginning in childhood. 

Both Sociopaths and psychopaths are manipulative and may behave like con men. They are liars and cannot be trusted easily

Promiscuity, spousal abuse, child abuse, and drunk driving are common events in their lives. A notable finding is a lack of remorse for these actions; that is, they appear to lack a conscience.

The general traits of sociopath and psychopath follow the diagnostic criteria of Antisocial personality disorders (ASPD) in DSM -5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders).

The criteria is as follows – 

  • Persistent disobey of laws and rules of society
  • Emotionally cold, affectless, detached
  • They violate the rights of others
  • Impulsive and compulsive liars
  • Guilt-free and lacks moral conscience
  • Inability to show compassion and kindness to others
  • Shallow relationships with no intimate bonding
  • Deceitful and manipulative by nature
  • Tendency towards aggression and frequently engages in violent activities
  • Consistent irresponsibility in all walks of life
  • Hostile and angry-prone
  • Callous and socially defiant
  • Doesn’t feel the pain of others
  • May feel happy and satisfied from seeing others in pain and distress

While sociopaths and psychopaths are both regarded as antisocial personalities, there are certain signs that are more common in sociopaths than in psychopaths.

10 defining traits of sociopaths

When you think of a sociopath, you may strike a chord with Anthony Hopkins in “Silence of the Lambs” or the character played by Christian Bale in “American Psycho”.

But the truth is, like many other psychiatric illnesses, sociopaths and psychopaths exist on a series or spectrum of traits that are unlawful. 

Thus, all sociopaths and psychopaths are not serial killers. It may exist without any criminal intent and activities. One research study finding says that almost 3.8% of Americans meet the diagnostic criteria of ASPD.

Sociopaths have a reputation of being manipulative, conceited, and dishonest. They lie comfortably without any guilt or remorse. 

Some of the key traits of sociopaths are:

1. Emotional instability

Sociopaths are moody and lack emotional control. They display irritability, anger, and bouts of violent tendencies very often that show poor emotional regulation.

2. They’re manipulative

Sociopaths can manipulate and cheat others for personal gain. They can skillfully exploit others and get what they want. 

3. Sociopaths are extremely reactive 

Sociopaths are aggressive, hostile, and get into unnecessary fights with others. They are cruel and can become too reactive if things do not work as per their wishes.

Their initial charm can wear off soon and they start showing their true colors pretty soon.

4. They’re impulsive, chaotic, and trouble mongers

Sociopaths are impulsive and never think twice before causing harm to others. As they are emotionally unstable, they may shout, scream, yell, and bad mouth others for no obvious reasons.

Their negative urge to manipulate others can make them real trouble mongers.

5. Lacks goal and direction in life

Most sociopaths do not know what they really want in life. They lack a specific purpose in life. Their goals are short-lived. 

There is no specific direction in life that can help them achieve their goals in a proper way. They may easily get bored.

Distraction is high and they follow the path of immediate gratification of urges.

6. Tends to control others

If you have come across a sociopath, you must have seen that they have an urge to control others by threat and manipulation. 

In certain cases, they might show violence and abuse to get things done. They use their charm and intelligence to manipulate others.  At times they also use lying to control the actions of others.

7. Disregard the rules and conventions of society

Sociopaths are never bothered about the rules and regulations of society. They engage in unethical practices and disregard boundaries and laws. 

Lying, cheating, stealing, breaking laws are quite common behaviors. They may get into legal troubles quite often.

Sometimes you may find them getting in and out of prison for minor or major criminal issues.

8. Lack of empathy

Sociopaths lack empathy and concern for others. They are cold and affectless. Sometimes, sociopaths are also over-critical and ruthless. 

These individuals can never understand the emotions of other people. Being an anti-social type, sociopaths are not concerned about the well-being of anyone.

9. Arrogant and aggressive

People with antisocial personalities are aggressive, abusive, and arrogant. They are fierce liars that can harm people without any consideration. 

Their aggression gets manifested through verbal abuse, physical fights, squabbling with unknown people, etc.

They may insult others; pass negative statements about a person or a group to defame their reputation in the society. They can even insult and humiliate others publicly in front of everyone.

10. Guilt-free 

Sociopaths are guilt-free and tend to justify their wrong actions quite often. They will not take responsibility for their wrong deeds rather try to put blame on others. 

As they show little interest in the well-being of others, they might fight with others to prove themselves right. 

You need to keep in mind that in DSM-5, there is no difference between sociopath and psychopath. The manual uses the diagnostic criteria of antisocial personality disorder to understand the symptoms of the two conditions. These two terms are social constructs and not clinical terms to be used for psychiatric diagnosis.

10 defining traits of psychopaths

There are certain behavioral signs of psychopaths that match with sociopaths. Both are socially irresponsible and aggressive. They tend to disregard and violate the rules and conventions of society.

Both these types are frequent liars and law–breakers. They are also known for their uncaring and manipulative tendencies.

Sociopaths and psychopaths get into recurring problems with civic and criminal law. Pathological lying can make them deceptive and dishonest. 

They may display a charismatic attitude to trap people but their efforts are usually short-lived. Just after the initial spark, people may quickly come to know about their true intentions.

Some of the typical signs of psychopaths are as follows:

1. Unemotional, affectless, and detached

Psychopaths are uncaring and emotionally detached. They can never make long lasting relationships. Most often they appear cold and unemotional, as if they cannot feel anything. 

This is because they have a limited range of emotions and may not know how to express themselves outwardly, apart from being aggressive and arrogant.

They remain aloof emotionally and appear detached and impersonal all the time.

2. Psychopaths are cruel, and has shallow bonding with others

Psychopaths are known for their cruel and sadistic tendencies. They love to harm others and derive pleasure by giving pain to others. These people have shallow relationships because they cannot bond with anyone at deeper levels. 

Since they are mean and ruthless, they never relate with people for the sake of connection.

Behind their sweet words and charming nature lie the hidden face of aggression, deceit, and cheating. Their relationships are based on ulterior motives that is nasty and socially unfit. 

They are emotionally distant, lack empathy and ethics, and are not interested in forming deeper human connections. Their shallow bonds are eyewash to get things done and become successful in harming others.

3. No moral conscience

Psychopaths are devoid of moral values and ethics. They never mind harming others to meet their personal interests.

These people are manipulative and do not have a sense of ‘right or wrong’. Thus they do things that others consider bad, immoral, and wrong.

4. Psychopaths are prone towards physical violence

They engage in physical fights, destructive behavior more than sociopaths. As children, they are aggressive and violent and as such breaking rules can become a part of their nature. 

Psychopaths derive pleasure out of their violent acts. They feel excited about what they are doing. You may also find them showing immense cruelty towards animals.

5. They are outwardly charming but deceptive

Psychopaths are master liars. They can deceive you even without any guilt. Their outward appearance is charismatic and they can put you in big trouble without a hint.

You are likely to get attracted to their sweet talks and manipulative tendencies. They are masters of lying and deception and can act out in the best possible way to hide their antisocial tendencies.

6. Indifferent and irresponsible of their actions and behavior

Psychopaths are indifferent towards their misdeeds and wrong actions. They’re calculative and plan their deceptive course of action much ahead of its execution. 

Armed with intelligence, they often plan perfectly without a loophole so that they can never get caught. Thus, they remain indifferent to the possible harm that can occur from their wrong actions.

7. They are fearless and courageous

Psychopaths are bold and fearless because they are not bothered with right and wrong. Moral codes of conduct are never followed and relied upon. 

Thus, they take risks without thinking about the consequences. They do not fear what will happen if they get into criminal acts and prosecuted by law. They may not fear things that most others do.

8. Psychopaths can keep calm under stressful situations

Psychopaths can stay calm and poised under stressful situations. They are fearless and never show signs of tension and agitation. Some signs of mental restlessness may appear if they get stuck or fall in a pit. 

This is because of certain brain abnormalities that do not allow them to differentiate between normal fear and terror. They cannot identify stress triggers early because they are tuned like this.

Psychopaths are also poor in understanding emotions such as guilt, sadness, shame, joy, love, affection, etc.

9. They can play games and play with emotions of others

Psychopaths would love to see others in pain and suffering. They love to play games and win over people easily through manipulation and cheating. 

They are not emotional and lack empathy completely. This also makes them more calculative than the sociopaths. 

Psychopaths can gather wealth, power, positions of pride and glory easily. They use their charm and deceit to make others do things for them.

They have severe forms of antisocial traits but they are usually more successful than the sociopaths.

10. They’re hostile and oppositional by nature

Psychopaths are always hostile and defiant. They defy laws and rules quite easily. They pretend to be kind, helpful, and friendly for a short time only. 

Soon they show their aggressive tendencies and can treat others in unkind ways. They are more argumentative and pick up fights easily than the sociopaths. 

Sociopathy vs. psychopathy in men and women

Scientific evidence has shown that 3% of men and 1% of women suffer from antisocial personality disorders. Overall reports also suggested that men are twice more likely to develop this personality disorder than women.

The results from sex differences in antisocial personality disorders have claimed that the ratio is 3:1, which means that men are three times more prone towards this disorder than women.

  • There are more male psychopaths than female
  • Psychopaths are thrill-seekers and risk-takers. They may end up in a prison for their unlawful activities. About 93% incarcerated people are male.
  • One study found that female psychopaths can flirt, seduce, cheat, and manipulate men physically and emotionally to get their things done. Men are more aggressive.
  • Another research finding published in the Journal of Personality Disorders in 2017 suggests that female psychopaths are more anxious, emotionally unstable, impulsive, seductive, and promiscuous.
  • Psychopaths are more likely to be prosecuted for criminal activities than other people. About 93% of them are male inmates.

Sociopath vs. psychopath – The points of similarities

By now, you are clear that sociopaths and psychopaths have many similar traits. Both refer to people who suffer from antisocial personality disorders. Apart from this, they also share other similar signs:

  • They have little regard for rules and regulations.
  • Both types have a lack of concern for the safety and security of others.
  • They are impulsive, arrogant, and aggressive.
  • Sociopaths and psychopaths are deceitful and dishonest.
  • Both lack guilt and remorse.
  • They are less compassionate and mostly unkind and ruthless
  • Both types are prone toward fighting and violence.
  • Constantly lies and cheats others.
  • Both are law-breakers and flouts social conventions.
  • Sociopaths and psychopaths are irresponsible, and cheat others to meet their financial needs.
  • Poor impulse control and emotional regulation.

Sociopath vs. psychopath – The key Differences

After knowing about the similar traits between the two types, you must be eager to know the subtle differences between sociopaths and psychopaths. 

Sociopath Psychopath
Sociopaths can form strong attachments with very few close people. Sometimes they may have trouble maintaining those relationships for too long.There is complete inability to form deeper relationships and emotional bonds with others
Sociopaths are more impulsive and erratic in their behavior and actions.Psychopaths are calculated, thoughtful, and slow killers. They cheat others with tact and patience.
Sociopaths are least interested about how others might feel about their actions. They make it clear that they are aloof from the wishes of others.Psychopaths pretend that they are caring and concerned about others just to win the confidence of others. They actually try hard to make their manipulative tendencies easygoing and worthy.
Not all relationships are fake for a sociopath.Relationships are all shallow and fake because there is no emotional attachment
Sociopaths are also insensitive to a great extent but at times they may still have little empathy left in them. Inability to show empathy to others. They are insensitive, unkind, and socially indifferent.
They are aware of their wrong actions and misdeeds but tend to rationalize them by lying and cheating.They maintain a low-key normal life to cover up their criminal intentions and acts. Psychopaths are not bothered to understand right and wrong. They just  do not care about their wrong actions.
They are hot-headed.They are cold-hearted.
Sociopaths are driven by emotions such as fear, anger, rage, hatred, etc.Psychopaths are driven by thoughts and have an innate need to control others.
They usually have a lower level of education and upbringing.Psychopaths can be intelligent, educated, and well-informed.
Sociopaths usually come from lower socio-economic backgrounds.Psychopaths can come from any socioeconomic and demographic background.
Sociopaths are a concern for sociologists.They are a concern for psychiatrists.
These people are highly aggressive and impulsive in times of emotional distress.Psychopaths are composed, poised, calm, and calculated in times of distress.
Poor self-control.High level of self-control.
Their involvement in criminal actions can come out easily because of their impulsive behavior.They will prefer to hide their involvement in criminal actions.
Sociopaths vs. Psychopaths

Sociopath vs. psychopath vs. Narcissist

When you come across difficult personalities who show signs of maladjustment and appear aggressive and arrogant, you must have felt the need to understand whether you are dealing with a narcissist or an antisocial type.

Both these personality disorders have many common traits and thus putting one apart from the other appears difficult at times.

Many people can suffer from the two conditions together but to varying degrees.

Individuals with antisocial personality disorders and narcissism can be exploitative and lack empathy.

However, narcissists (narcissistic personality disorder) or NPD are usually less aggressive, impulsive, and may not have any criminal background. 

The antisocial types (sociopaths and psychopaths) do not require the admiration of others. They are guilt-free and lack moral values.

The table mentioned below shows the subtle differences between sociopaths, psychopaths, and narcissists.

All sociopaths are to a certain extent narcissists.Psychopaths can be narcissistsAll narcissists do not qualify as sociopaths or psychopaths.
Sociopaths are dishonest, cunning, and manipulativePsychopaths are aggressive, arrogant, and manipulative. They can trick people with their sweet words and charming natureNarcissists prefer self importance. Their inflated sense of self can make them manipulate others for personal gain.
Sociopaths deceive people for personal gain without guilt and conscience.Psychopaths can steal, swindle, or harm others without feeling guilty of their actions.Narcissists want success and fame but may harm the interests of others on the way.
Sociopaths commit their crimes under cover. They do not want any unnecessary social attentionThey do not feel any shame or guilt for their actions. Thus, they are not at all bothered about their social image.They are concerned about their social image.
Sociopaths also do not need the admiration and approval of others.Least concerned about what others think and feel about themThey need admiration from others
Sociopaths are unkind but they have a thin line of empathy still left in them.Psychopaths are cold and affectless. Their arrogance makes them ruthless and unkind. Thus, they cannot feel the subtle emotions at all.Narcissists can feel greed, shame, jealousy, guilt, and regret only to a certain extent
Sociopaths are liars too. They cheat and deceive people without any guilt.Their superficial charm and manipulative tendencies also makes them pathological liars.Narcissists may or may not lie. But they are not bothered about how others feel. They will always do what they want.
Sociopaths vs. Psychopaths vs. Narcissists

Diagnosing sociopaths and psychopaths

Sociopath and psychopath are not clinical terms. Thus they do not have separate diagnostic criteria in DSM-5. Clinicians use the diagnostic criteria of antisocial personality disorder to diagnose the conditions.

The diagnosis or treatment is done by a trained therapist. A detailed interview helps to understand the symptoms and causal influences in a better way.

During the session, the therapist will ask questions about the symptoms, the range of suffering, criminal records, etc.

Many psychopaths and sociopaths also suffer from other disorders like substance abuse, conduct disorders, and Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

The differential diagnosis is done by the therapist by assessing the person’s mental health condition closely through the use of psychological tests.

Types of sociopaths and psychopaths

When we hear the words sociopath or psychopath, we always think of someone with a criminal intent. But in reality it is not always the truth. These two antisocial personalities can be present in a person without any criminal history.

Craig Neumann, an eminent professor of psychology at the University of North Texas pointed out that all psychopaths and most of the sociopaths have certain distinct traits:

  • They’re dishonest and deceitful, manipulative and to some extent narcissists
  • Most of them are either arrogant or aggressive with or without criminal behavior
  • They are callous law-breakers, having no guilt for their wrong actions.
  • Sociopaths and psychopaths are impulsive and feel good about hurting others.

Usually psychopaths are of various types. There are several undercover varieties of antisocial personalities that you may come across. A few of them are as follows:

The bad guy type

This is the easiest one to spot. You must have come across a bad guy psychopath in your daily life. Their typical nature would involve impulsivity, deceitfulness, and manipulation.

You may find them getting into frequent criminal activities. They have the most unstable life because even if they have a job, they will hardly show up there. 

They will suffer financial crunch and may deceit others of money and property. Moreover, the bad guy psychopath is either an alcoholic or a substance abuser.

Most of them do not have any stable family life.

If you know someone like them, you must have noticed that these people are extremely demanding and aggressive. They break rules just like that and remain guilt-free of their misdeeds.

The lady charmer type

This type of a sociopath or psychopath spends their life fooling and flirting behind women. They are compulsive liars and typical frauds who love to cheat women in varied ways. 

You may find them bombing women with overwhelming love and emotional flirting. This type is harmful because they will slowly poison their lady love with false trust and intimacy.

They use their charm to cover up their antisocial tendencies. 

The primary psychopath

This type of psychopath is absolute guilt-free and can do anything to give pain to others. They derive pleasure by hurting others. The scariest part is, they are liars and can manipulate people in various ways.

The primary psychopath appears unemotional, aggressive, and callous. And has no fear for their wrong actions.

They defy law and go against society rules. Having poor emotional sensitivity makes them unkind and brutal.

The secondary psychopath

These secondary psychopaths behave more like sociopaths. They are emotionally insensitive, impulsive, harsh, and destructive.  Getting involved in various risky behaviors gives them joy and satisfaction.

Being liars, they can cheat people just like anything. The secondary psychopath is remorseless and lacks empathy. 

The egocentric psychopath

This type is the most impulsive one. They rebel against society’s rules. Manipulating others for personal gain is their first love. 

They think that the world is a hostile place to thrive and thus they need to be really bad to sustain and thrive in it. 

In this way, they tend to rationalize their wrong actions. As well as justify all their misdeeds as worthy and correct.

They prefer to blame others for their failures and feel good by giving pain to others.

Myths and facts about sociopaths and psychopaths

People suffering from antisocial personality disorder are informally known as either sociopath or psychopath.

As these two terms do not relate to any official diagnosis, there are various myths associated with them.

Some of the myths and facts about sociopaths and psychopaths are as follows:

Myth 1: Sociopathy and psychopathy (antisocial personality disorder) is not treatable

Fact: The treatment of antisocial personality disorder may be difficult but not impossible. It can be effectively treated if done at the right time in an appropriate way.

There are various treatment options available to reduce symptoms. Thereby, helping the person get back to the mainstream of the society. 

The doctor prescribes medicines that can lower the symptoms of anger and arrogance. Sometimes mood stabilizers are used to reduce the symptom of impulsiveness. 

The therapies for sociopaths and psychopaths include the following:

  • Cognitive behavior therapy
  • Behavior therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Support groups

Myth 2: People with psychopathy and sociopathy are always violent

Fact: sociopaths and psychopaths are aggressive and impulsive but may not always be violent.

Sociopaths and psychopaths are more likely to be violent than others but not in every case.

Research findings have shown that certain types of psychopaths were able to inhibit their violent tendencies. They have achieved greater success in life. 

Myth 3: All psychopaths are criminals

Fact: All psychopaths and sociopaths are not criminals. The symptoms of antisocial personality disorder may exist with or without criminal intent.

People with psychopathic traits are more likely to engage in criminal offenses than others. It doesn’t mean that all psychopaths are serial killers. 

It has been found that only 20% of people in North America were prosecuted by law and can be put behind the bars.

Myth 4: All sociopaths and psychopaths have bad character

Fact: The fact is not all sociopaths and psychopaths have bad character. The condition is caused by some definite biological and psychological factors.

Researcher findings suggest that people suffering from antisocial personality disorder have brain functioning that works differently than others. 

There are parts of the brain that appear smaller or have a different shape than those who do not suffer from this condition.

The brain structure and heredity factors play a part in the causation of this condition. Studies have found that 38 to 69 percent of people with sociopathy or psychopathy have one or both parents suffering from the same condition. This finding shows that antisocial personality disorder runs in families.

Thus, the bad character traits that these people manifest in their day-to-day life is actually because of varied brain functioning and genetic tendencies.

What makes someone a sociopath or a psychopath? (The causal factors)

There are certain risk factors and probable triggers that may increase the chances of developing antisocial personality disorder. 

  • People brought up in disturbed homes where one or both parents are suffering from ASPD are more likely to develop this condition. Thus, genetic factors hint towards a causal influence.
  • Diagnosis of conduct disorder or impulse control disorder during childhood can increase the chances of becoming a sociopath or a psychopath in adult life.
  • Broken home, parental arrogance and aggression can be picked up by the growing child. So observing the behavior of others can also lead to these conditions.
  • Being abused physically or mentally during childhood, torture or trauma.
  • Poor socioeconomic background with financial troubles that may force someone to take up unlawful activities.
  • Chaotic and unstable family life and overly demanding parents.

Who is worse – sociopath or psychopath?

Both sociopaths and psychopaths are risky for healthy social living. Most often they try to live a healthy life while trying to cope with their aggressive symptoms.

 Psychopaths are more dangerous because they are arrogant. They never feel guilty of their tyrant actions. As they can dissociate from their actions, they are more cold-hearted, unkind, and hostile. 

Their emotional involvement is poor and thus it is easier for them to see others in pain and suffering. They derive a pleasure out of it.

On the other hand most sociopaths are born and brought up in places of poor socio-economic conditions. 

Their poor lifestyle had forced them to act in unlawful ways. Researchers believe that sociopaths are born out of environmental influence.

Several study findings have shown that childhood trauma, low family income, unstable parenting, low socio-economic living conditions may build up a sociopath. 

Though sociopaths are compulsive liars and impulsive in nature, they are a little more empathic than a psychopath.

About violence it can be said that sociopaths can pick up verbal fights easily. But they are physically less harmful than a psychopath. They may use other tricks to manipulate and harm people.

Sociopaths can use gaslighting, emotional abuse to harm and deceit others. They are not sadistic yet they find it exciting to cause drama and chaos in the lives of others.

Violence is not a necessary trait to be diagnosed for ASPD, but it is a common one present always in some form or the other.

A psychopath is believed to be more dangerous because they are not at all concerned about right and wrong. 

They commit their crime boldly and without guilt. Psychopaths tend to remain aloof from all social niceties. They are just not bothered about being wrong, as if taking pride in what they did.

Sometimes psychopaths may get involved in some serious crimes that are punishable by law. Study estimates have shown that about 1% of the total population is psychopaths. 

But they account for about 20 to 30% of people behind the bars for unlawful crimes in the United States.

The reason for committing crimes is different for sociopaths and psychopaths. Sociopaths may commit crimes out of jealousy, revenge, hatred, or anger. 

Psychopaths are cold and affectless. The motive behind their criminal activities is hard to understand. They may commit crimes just to give others more pain and suffering. They feel good about it. 

So, it is obvious that both sociopaths and psychopaths can be dangerous in varying degrees. Their maladaptive behavior can cause harm to others beyond recovery. 

A snapshot of treatment options for sociopath and psychopath

There is no magic wand to cure antisocial personality disorder completely. People can manage their condition by taking medical advice and going for psychotherapy sessions.

Medication and therapy can help them cope up with certain problem behavior that they manifest. It helps to lower the intensity of the symptoms to a great extent.

Therapy can help to reduce the following things:

  • Aggression
  • Mood swings
  • Self harming tendencies
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Violent behavior
  • Frequently breaking rules
  • Tendency to harm others

Medications help to manage changes in mood and affect. Sometimes antipsychotic drugs are given to control violent behavior. This helps the patient to cope with anger and impulsivity.

The best therapy used for treating antisocial personality disorder is cognitive behavior therapy. It focuses on changing the person’s way of thinking.

By altering mind states, patients are able to perceive and feel about a particular situation in a different way.

Sometimes group therapy and family therapy is also used.  It helps patients cope up with their symptoms and learn better ways of functioning.

The video link given below shows the difference between sociopath and psychopath. Do check out.

Summing Up from ‘ThePleasantMind’

Sociopath and psychopath are informal terms used for people suffering from antisocial personality disorder. According to research reports, the conditions exist more in men than women.

Sociopaths are compulsive liars. They are erratic and impulsive, to some extent rage-prone. Contrary to this, we have psychopaths, who are aggressive, violent, and manipulative. They are cold and affectless. 

Others may find them charming and appealing because of their falsely painted appearance and attitude.

Most sociopaths work in the spur of the moment. But the psychopaths are calculative, shrewd, and scheming when it comes to manipulating and harming others.

Thus, both these conditions can actually make the lives of others miserable and unhappy. The timely treatment can always help in managing the symptoms.

The patients will be able to learn better ways of coping with the condition.

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