Antisocial personality disorders are popular in pop psychology these days, and with most things relating to psychology, it’s poorly understood. People treat “psychopath” an “sociopath” as interchangeable terms, but that’s not the case at all.
Both disorders fall under the umbrella of Antisocial Personality Disorders. Psychopaths and sociopaths do have some traits in common. They tend to disregard social norms and laws, they disregard the rights of others, they lack the feeling of guilt, and have a tendency to be violent.
Psychopaths tend to be the cold, calculating and manipulative person that comes to mind. They often do anything they can to succeed no matter what. Sociopaths on the other hand don’t blend in nearly so well. They don’t care if they succeed or not. They don’t care if anyone likes them. They tend to be introverted and don’t do well forming attachments to others or conforming to social norms.
Psychopaths do great in the professional world. They often rise to the top, trampling others in the process. Sociopaths have a harder time being a part of society, and that includes holding down a job.
Something psychologists aren’t totally clear on is where this personality disorder stems from. Psychopaths, they think, are born with it. Sociopaths are created by their environment.
In the case of psychopaths, they have little conscience. They know factually that stealing is illegal but they’ll do it anyway. Psychopaths and sociopaths to some extent fail to understand that taking $100 out of your wallet means that you can’t pay your rent on time.
Martha Stout, author of “The Sociopath Next Door,” thinks that about 1 in 25 people suffers from some form of APD. She thinks one in 25 are totally ruthless and sadistic.