Sociopath vs. Psychopath: What's the Difference?

Key Difference

Psychopath and sociopath are mentally disordered persons.  A Psychopath is a person with the severe mental disorder with violent social behavior. While sociopath is an antisocial personality disorder that is caused because of social and environmental factors of early life.

Comparison Chart

Psychopath Sociopath
Definition Incapable of empathy, sense of morality and developing friendly relations. Antisocial disorder because of brain injury or social factors
Impulsivity Low High
Causes of Illness Genetic Environmental
Behaviour Controlled Erratic
Criminal Behaviour Participate in organized scheme of crimes and leave no evidence React on impulse and leave clue of crime
Physician Psychiatrists and criminologists Psychiatrists
Treatment Psychotherapy/medication Psychotherapy/medication
Diagnosis Time Fifteen years of age At the age of 18 or above
Dangerous More dangerous for people Less hazardous to people
Traits Lack of guilt, empathy, intense emotional bonds, narcissism, superficial charm, dishonesty, manipulation and reckless risk taking. Repeated violations of laws, pervasive deception, physical aggressiveness, reckless disregard for safety of self or others, irresponsibility in work and family relations and lack of remorse.
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What is Psychopath?

It is not easy to spot a psychopath person because such people are mostly intelligent and of charming personality. They pretend to be interested in other people and show affiliation, but in reality, they are not interested in making emotional bond. Psychopath don’t feel guilt after hurting people because they don’t have a conscience and moral compass. This is the reason that mostly psychopaths are involved in criminal activities. According to one report, approximately 93% of psychopaths are participating in illegal activities. They make their illegal plans very meticulously and can’t be detected easily. Instead of making violent crimes, they get advantages of other people without doing illegal activities. Psychopath understand human nature and make people like and trust them so make successful careers. Although women psychopaths do exist, psychopathy is less prevalent in females and females show less severe psychopathy signs and symptoms. Treatment of psychopaths starts on the diagnosis of illness which is possible on adultness only and is very expensive treatment. Treatment of juvenile psychopaths is called decompression treatment. In history, some famous psychopaths have passed who used to kill and sexually assault children and adults. John Wayne Gacy in 1972 to 1978 sexually assaulted and murdered 33 boys and men. Joel Rifkin convicted of 17 murders and dismembered the dead bodies for easy disposal. Gary Ridgway, Richard Ramirez and Albert Desalvo were some other famous psychopath who committed criminal activities. No country for old men (2007), M (1931), Henry: Portrait of a serial killer (1991) are some famous movies of Hollywood based on psychopathy. Although all characteristics of psychopaths of these movies were not realistic, some were near to be real.

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What is Sociopath?

Physicians and neuroscientists refer sociopathy as acquired sociopathy because it is acquired in brain injury and dementia in the frontal lobe. Sociopath persons don’t play with emotions of other people because of belief on the social world. They show clear attitude to others that they are not interested in them and love to live alone. But sometimes they make attachments with some people and groups. So it is easy to spot sociopath people. Sociopath usually doesn’t play with the emotions of other people and feel guilt and empathy if this happens unintentionally.  A Sociopath is generally erratic and impulsive in nature so show violent behavior. All these characteristics make tough for a sociopath to maintain a steady job and home. John Gacy, Ted Bundy, Jeffrey MacDonald and Jeffrey Dahmer were some famous sociopaths in history. Ho was a serial killer while Jack Henry Abbott and Joey Buttafuoco were not a serial killer sociopath. Sociopathy is usually rare in women. Diane Downs and DeidreHunt were famous  female sociopath. Sweeney Todd, Buffalo bill-silence of the Lambs, The joker-the dark knight, Alex-A clockwork orange are some famous movies based on sociopathy.

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Sociopath vs. Psychopath

  • Psychopath and sociopath are usually used
  • All psychopaths can be sociopaths, but sociopaths are not necessarily psychopaths.
  • Sometimes physicians can not differentiate between psychopath and sociopath. They determine the case based on the cause of illness.
  • Although psychopathy results from genetic predisposition and sociopathy arise from environmental factors but sometimes both result from a combination of genetic and ecological
  • Psychopaths lack empathy and sense of morality.
  • Sociopaths are indicative of having a sense of morality.
  • Both psychopath and sociopath can be treated if diagnosed correctly.
  • Both psychopath and sociopath are capable of forming
  • Treatment of both antisocial behaviors is psychotherapy and sometimes medication.

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