For many people, even mental health professionals, the terms sociopath and psychopath are highly interchangeable. The differences between the two are not obvious and even when you look up the sociopath Vs psychopath definition in any medical textbook or dictionary, the descriptions can be extremely ambiguous.
What is the definition of a sociopath?
In modern psychiatry, a sociopath is defined as someone suffering from antisocial personality disorder and who displays a lack of empathy, conscience, and very little regard for authority of the law.
What is the definition of a psychopath?
A psychopath is defined as someone suffering from a mental disorder characterized by antisocial and amoral behavior tendencies, an inability to love or establish meaningful relationships, extreme egocentricity, and a failure to learn from experience.
So, as you can see, on the surface, the two disorders are pretty much the same. But if you look deeper into the intricacies of a sociopath and a psychopath, you will learn that there are some subtle differences and the two disorders are not completely the same.
What are the differences between a sociopath and a psychopath and what is the sociopath Vs psychopath definition?
Many experts in the field of mental health firmly believe that a psychopath is born, whereas a sociopath is made. Research has shown that the number of psychopaths in the population at any given time is always a stable component. Conversely, sociopaths are a product of negative environmental experiences that have led to the development of physiological responses similar to those of a psychopath.
One of the similarities between a sociopath and a psychopath is a lack of empathy for the feelings of others and neither sociopaths nor psychopaths feel shame or remorse after committing crimes or acts of violence. But whereas a psychopath does not form normal relationships, a sociopath is more likely to develop an emotional attachment to another person, so while the sociopath will have no problem hurting a stranger, he is less likely to harm somebody he cares about. A psychopath on the other hand is just as likely to commit a crime against a member of his family as he is against a stranger, and still feel no guilt whatsoever.
A sociopath is also less organized than a psychopath. Psychopaths are often better educated than sociopaths because they are more focused on their goals whereas a sociopath tends to be less attentive.
These traits also extend to crimes committed. Sociopaths are impulsive and often explode into acts of violence on a whim, but a psychopath will spend a great deal of time planning the perfect crime, which makes them far harder to catch. Psychopaths typically display a huge amount of control and will remain emotionally unaffected, even under the most horrific of circumstances.
Sociopaths and psychopaths both lie and manipulate the people around them, but a sociopath is more likely to have a semi normal temperament and have a regular lifestyle, including holding down a job, getting married and having children. A psychopath will not form the same attachments, and although they can display great charm, they are cold, callous and extremely cunning at all times.