Aug 4, 2017

Psychopath vs. Sociopath

The terms “psychopath” and “sociopath” often get used interchangeably, but they are not exactly the same. It is believed that psychopathy is the largely the result of genetics, while sociopathy is more likely the result of the environment. However, it is not completely nature or nurture, but a complex combination of genetics, neurology, and environment. They are both classified as Antisocial Personality Disorders. They both show a disregard for laws and social mores, a disregard for the rights of others, a failure to feel remorse or guilt, and a tendency to display violent behavior.

Psychopathy is related to a physiological defect that results in the underdevelopment of the part of the brain responsible for impulse control and emotions. Psychopaths are unable to form emotional attachments or feel real empathy with others. Traits include a total freedom from fear, anxiety, or guilt. They can be charming, outgoing, and charismatic. They thrive on power and control and are self centered and impulsive.

Sociopathy is likely the product of childhood trauma and physical/emotional abuse. Sociopathy can also be acquired, such as by dementia or a head injury. Sociopaths have a less severe form of lack of empathy and lack of guilt. Sociopaths may be able to form some deep bonds while a psychopath cannot. A sociopath would feel no guilt about hurting a stranger, but may feel guilt and remorse over hurting someone with which they share a bond. A sociopath is less organized in demeanor and might be nervous, easily agitated, and quick to display anger. Sociopaths are often crusaders or martyrs for a perceived cause and may see their wild acts as necessary.

Psychopaths are confident, social, and dominant, but sociopaths are reserved and inhibited, sometimes loners.

Psychopaths are exempt from negative emotion, but sociopaths do experience anxiety and rejection.

Psychopaths have no morals, but sociopaths have a sense of morality and a conscience however, it is skewed.

Bottom line, all psychopaths are sociopaths, but not all sociopaths are psychopaths.