Dawn Pisturino's Blog

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Sociopath vs. Psychopath: What’s the Difference?

on October 4, 2021

This explanation of sociopath vs. psychopath comes from a class I took. “Psychopath” is a term used mostly in criminal justice. Many people have fallen prey to sociopaths and psychopaths, which is why it is important to recognize that these types of people exist in society.

Sociopath vs. Psychopath:

“The fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), released by the American Psychiatric Association in 2013, lists both sociopathy and psychopathy under the heading of Antisocial Personality Disorders (ASPD). These disorders share many common behavioral traits which lead to the confusion between them. Key traits that sociopaths and psychopaths share include: 

  • A disregard for laws and social mores
  • A disregard for the rights of others
  • A failure to feel remorse or guilt
  • A tendency to display violent behavior”

Sociopaths

“Sociopaths tend to be nervous and easily agitated. They are volatile and prone to emotional outbursts, including fits of rage. They are likely to be uneducated and live on the fringes of society, unable to hold down a steady job or stay in one place for very long. It is difficult but not impossible for sociopaths to form attachments with others.  In the eyes of others, sociopaths will appear to be very disturbed. Any crimes committed by a sociopath, including murder, will tend to be haphazard, disorganized and spontaneous rather than planned.”

Example: O. J. Simpson

Psychopaths

“Psychopaths are unable to form emotional attachments or feel real empathy with others, although they often have disarming or even charming personalities. Psychopaths are very manipulative and can easily gain people’s trust. They learn to mimic emotions, despite their inability to actually feel them, and will appear normal to unsuspecting people. Psychopaths are often well educated and hold steady jobs. Some are so good at manipulation and mimicry that they have families and other long-term relationships without those around them ever suspecting their true nature.”

Example: Ted Bundy, Charles Manson

NOTE: There is no cure for these disorders, and medication does not work.

Dawn Pisturino, RN

September 21, 2021


9 responses to “Sociopath vs. Psychopath: What’s the Difference?

  1. The definition of sociopaths seems to envelop other conditions too, I think?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, those categories of the human varieties, some describe them as genetic mutations, they can even be found among the chimpanzees. The first types are occupying a large percentage of our prison cells.
    Societies supply of the second group is primarily ending up as dictators past and present, and as leaders in the cooperate hierarchy.
    Just to mention Stalin, one of the greatest mass murderers of all times and also a great admirer of the arts and architecture. Or today’s Robert Murdock, who has dedicated his empire to discredit all environmental initiatives. I guess the list is endless so much for the human condition.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is well said. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

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