You can’t really talk about one without the other. They’re similar yet different. The real difference: a psychopath is born a psychopath, a sociopath is developed through environmental factors and upbringing. Both conditions lack a lot of information on them compared to depression, anxiety etc. I believe this may be because of the possible variants in each case, their genetic mutations that need further study and investigation, and lack of cooperation from these people during research. Here’s what I could compile.
What makes a psychopath different?
- As I mentioned above, they’re born this way. This is a genetic issue that can skip generations while affecting others.
- They usually have a range of degrees and can be very well educated with a respectable career.
- They’re highly manipulative and can control this aspect.
- They’re unable to form personal relationships, lack of real friends or significant romantic relationships.
- Take very calculated risks that will have a pay off that will only effect them in a positive way.
What makes a sociopath different?
- This is very much developed through environmental factors, upbringing and childhood relationships.
- They’re more likely to be less educated and commonly be unfulfilled in their careers.
- They display erratic behaviour, they can be confrontational, ‘superior’, a history of bullying others etc.
- they’re rather impulsive and don’t take responsibility for their actions or behaviour.
- They have an inflated sense of self worth.
- Only have a relationship or attachment to people that are like them, or show similar traits.
- They can control what they do. They consciously choose to do the things they do.
- They use superficial charm as a method of gaining control over someone else.
- More like to suffer from anxiety.
What do they have in common?
- They both show antisocial behaviour: anything that causes distress in others, makes others uncomfortable, and in general lack consideration for other people.
- They lack empathy, this is because they cannot connect to people on a personal level.
- Displays total disregard in social situations.
- They don’t feel any remorse or guilt for their actions.
- Never take responsibility for anything that they say or do.
- They’re pathological liars.
- They both blame how they treat people on the person they’re harming. (Deflecting)
- Display childlike mindsets.
Diagnosing of the two
There’s no real diagnosing testing for a psychopath, instead there’s a checklist that the person may have to go through in order to locate an idea on their mental state. They can also be subjected to personality tests, and can be diagnosed through other mental disorders they may have such as narcissism, borderline personality disorder etc. a sociopath is diagnosed much the same. They may also be interviewed over possible abuse through childhood.
There’s no real treatment either, both are usually unmotivated to seek help or change, but cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is often an effective method in controlling and possibly changing the behaviour and attitudes of these people.