Psychopaths and sociopaths are thought of as people who cannot be helped and are doomed for life. People generally consider them as serial killers who should be banished from society forever. However, the latest research about these two personality disorders has shown that the above notions are far from true and that both have their characteristic features which differentiate them from each other. The following are the differences which separate the two disorders.
Differences Between Psychopath and Sociopath
Even though there are similarities present in the two disorders and people might find it hard to differentiate one from the other, it does not change the fact that there are differences between the two.
1. Hereditary vs. Environmental
Anti-social behavior is the common thing found in both sociopaths and psychopaths. However, the development of sociopathy or psychopathy in a person stems from factors that differ markedly from each other. While genetics and hereditary causes are the reasons for a person becoming a psychopath, environmental factors are responsible for making a person a sociopath.
2. Temperamental Differences
A sociopath has no difficulty in understanding how to behave in a social setting and mostly is not very temperamental in nature. His problem is more a result of bad company, negligence of the parents, hyper intelligence or poverty than anything else. As opposed to sociopaths, psychopaths usually are unable to understand and cope with the norms of the society because of their impulsive and fearless nature which prompts them to take unnecessary risks. Most of the psychopaths have no control over their temperamental issues because they are born with them.
3. Violent Tendencies
Psychopaths are unable to plan their acts of violence. Because of their impulsive nature, most of their crimes are committed in haste. Catching a psychopath who has been involved in a crime or an act of violence is not that difficult because he is bound to commit a mistake or leave a clue which is going to lead the police directly to him.
Sociopaths are markedly different from psychopaths when it comes to committing crimes or act of violence. They are not impulsive in nature and therefore plan their crimes very meticulously. Unlike psychopaths, sociopaths do not leave behind any clues when they perform a violent act as they act methodically according to a well-laid plan making it difficult for the authorities to catch them.
4. Feel Remorse or Not
Psychopaths do not have a moral code of ethics and therefore are not able to feel empathy or remorse for their fellow beings. They tend to manipulate others and can resort to lying to achieve their goal. Their lifestyle is mostly parasitic and they continue to violate the norms of the society all throughout their lives. In general, psychopaths are found in less number in the world but account for almost one-fourth of the criminals that end up in jail.
Sociopaths are different from psychopaths and feel guilt for their actions. However, their emotional connection is limited to a certain group of people only with whom they can interact and build relationships with. Outside this group, the behavior of a sociopath is similar to that of a psychopath and he will reject the social norms just like him. A sociopath however, does not have a tendency to lie to people or manipulate them especially if they are part of his family or his group of friends instead he has genuine feelings for them and will feel remorse if he ends up hurting them in any way.
5. Social Relations
Psychopaths find it hard to mix with other people of the society. They are unable to form new relationships and cannot even maintain the relationship they share with their family members. Psychopaths are disorganized and usually like to live alone. Sociopaths on the other hand have no difficulty in maintaining relationships, however, most of their relationships are parasitic in which they depend on others. In stark contrast to the psychopaths, sociopaths are very organized and can even be considered by some people as absolute charmers.
Sociopaths are quite capable of finding success in the careers they have chosen and try to make themselves more likable so that other people can interact with them easily. Since sociopaths are capable of understanding human emotions but cannot feel them they can manipulate a person’s feelings with consummate ease. Unlike the sociopaths, psychopaths cannot stay true to a job and are thus, unable to build a career for themselves.
Both sociopaths and psychopaths are not able to contain their boredom. Sociopaths usually relieve their boredom by indulging in dramatic acts and creating conflicts between the people of their group. They seek attention from people and can go to any lengths to get it. Psychopaths usually find something constructive to end their boredom. This is the reason for their high level of creativity and intelligence.
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Similarities Between Psychopath and Sociopath
Psychopathy and sociopathy are treatable medical conditions if they are diagnosed at an earlier stage. With the use of therapy and medication, both sociopaths and psychopaths can start living normal lives. The psychiatrists who treat both types of people never consider their disorders different from each other on behavioral terms. According to them sociopaths are those whose antisocial behavior is a result of the issues they faced as a child while psychopaths are the ones whose ASPD stem from congenital factors.
Fifteen years is the age when the symptoms of both psychopathy and sociopathy begin to emerge. In the beginning, both sociopaths and psychopaths will hurt animals and then later on start to show cruelty to other human beings without feeling any sort of guilt or remorse for the actions they commit. Psychopaths are even unable to form relationships of substance and are known to exhibit extreme reactions when neglected.