The term sociopath is often used in a flippant manner in modern times, thrown around where it often does not apply. This is largely due to popular television shows and other media, which have popularised the word.
The result is that many misunderstand what a real sociopath is, and will even brand others as having sociopathic tendencies, without justification.
So it helps to take the time to understand what defines a real sociopath in medical journals, and according to the established definition.
Antisocial Personality Disorder
The term sociopath refers to antisocial personality disorder, or ASPD. ASPD refers to a person who struggles to identify, understand, or relate to the emotions and feelings of others. This can manifest in a number of ways, but is most commonly associated with extremely manipulative behaviour. Those who suffer from ASPD are known to trick, or even control others, persuading friends and family with mind games, and generally causing disruptive environments.
Though, those with ASPD will also often act in seemingly irrational, irresponsible, or impulsive ways, with little to no regard for the consequences. Actions will be taken that hurt, or even devastate others, with the ASPD sufferer expressing little to no remorse. The sufferer may play bingo in Australia online one moment, seeming peaceful, and decide to head off on a cross country drive the next, thinking nothing of leaving friends and family abandoned.
Most interesting is that sufferers are often never diagnosed, and may well go their entire lives without realising that they have so called sociopathic tendencies. It is common for those with ASPD to even land up in highly successful careers, and never know that their behaviour is disruptive to those around them. These are the common symptoms, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
No Respect For Society
Sufferers break laws regularly, and disregard expected behaviour, regardless of where they are.
Lies And Deceit
Sufferers often claim false identities, and lie as a standard form of communication.
No Long Term Plans
Little to no thought is put into long term goals, and no thought is given to consequences.
Sufferers often get into fights, and will harm others physically.
No concern For Safety
No concern is given to their own safety, or those around them.
Sufferers will never show any remorse for having cause disruptions, or harm to others. Though, some may express remorse, but only as a means of manipulation.
Sociopath And Psychopath
Many are not aware that there is no difference, as far as medical journals are concerned, between a psychopath and sociopath. The two terms are, in fact, used interchangeably. The assumptions are that a distinction exists between the two, normally due to the influence of popular media.
Anyone over the age of 18 can be diagnosed, though those as young as 15 have been strongly suggested to have symptoms of ASPD. Diagnosis is possible at most medical facilities, with treatments also being offered. Importantly, those who have been diagnosed can still live healthy and productive lives.