What is a sociopath and how is it different from a psychopath?

The sociopath is made and the psychopath is born? The differences between one personality disorder and the other are not easy to determine. But in this article we are going to try to shed some light on it.

Last update: June 23, 2022

Sociopathy and psychopathy are sometimes used synonymously. Nevertheless, Both terms refer to two different conditions. Very briefly, we could say that the sociopath is made, while the psychopath is born. Therefore, it is convenient to treat each of these two concepts separately, because they are not as equal as we think.

What both diagnoses do coincide in is that they are included in antisocial personality disorder (APD). The MSD Manual defines it as follows: “a pervasive pattern of disregard for consequences and the rights of others”. These are people who act in a particular way for the reasons that we will see below.

Broken childhoods and sociopathy

Let’s start by understanding the mind of a person who is a sociopath. To do this, we are going to review the real case of a girl: Beth Thomas.

Several studies and investigations have been carried out in this regard. It is that this girl, along with her brother, suffered sexual abuse by her father. Beth she ended up with adoptive parents, with whom she began to show very strange attitudes.

The girl hurt animals and her own brother (especially on the genitals). She was almost always defiant and masturbated in public.

Beth was just a girl, whose childhood had been shattered by her father’s violence against her from a very young age. This is the video about an interview that they did with her and that is very revealing.

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But could Beth Thomas have a normal life? The truth is that if.

As we mentioned at the beginning, sociopathy is done and can be treated. Currently, Beth is a nurse and leads a normal life. She has had to go to therapy to learn how to manage the challenging attitudes and behaviors that she had with other people.

A sociopath is still a person who has a mental health problem, about which he can receive treatment to live in society without difficulties. All these behavioral problems, if treated from the outset, do not have to be present in adult life.

Therapy is essential and being aware that you are a sociopath too.

What is a sociopath like?

After this, we can explain that a sociopath is an emotionally unstable person acting on impulse. She has nothing planned; or harm another person or an animal.

Most sociopaths are sociopaths because of traumatic childhood experiences, like Beth Thomas. Therefore, this shows how important childhood is in the development of every human being.

Psychopathy: when the brain is different

We have already talked about what a sociopath is like, but what happens in the case of psychopaths? In this situations we meet people who have a different brain.

Some research and studies, such as the one by Brain asymmetries in psychopathyexplain that there are failures in the functioning of the left hemisphere and difficulties in processing language.

There are also failures in the prefrontal cortex, what makes the brain different from the first moment a human being is born. Therefore, we would say that the psychopath is born; he does not need to live a traumatic childhood, since it is his brain that has certain characteristics.

This is the main difference between a sociopath and a psychopath.

Magnetic resonance images from different studies have certified that the brain of psychopaths is different in structure and function.

How is a psychopath?

Now that we know all this, we can determine that a psychopath is a person who has a marked lack of empathy. Therefore, He uses others for his own benefits.

He is unable to establish real friendship relationships. Also, he plans every step he takes. There is no cure, although cognitive behavioral therapy may be effective to some extent.

Is a sociopath and a psychopath a murderer?

Due to ignorance, sociopathy and psychopathy are often confused with people who are capable of committing murder. Nevertheless, being diagnosed with these disorders does not mean being someone who can kill another human being. However, this does not mean that there are not cases in which it can happen.

Consider the impulsiveness of the sociopath and the lack of empathy of the psychopath. This can lead them to kill under certain circumstances, but not all sociopaths and psychopaths are murderers; not all murderers have either of these two disorders.

Sociopaths and psychopaths should not scare us. There are people who do not have either of these two disorders and also manipulate, have very little empathy, are impulsive or harm animals and people.

Knowing this type of antisocial personality disorder helps us understand why there are those who act in a certain way.

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