A sociopath is a person who has antisocial personality disorder. The term sociopath is no longer used to describe this disorder. The sociopath is now described as someone with antisocial personality disorder.
The main characteristic of a sociopath is a disregard for the rights of others. Sociopaths are also unable to conform to what society defines as a normal personality. Antisocial tendencies are a big part of the sociopath’s personality. This pattern usually comes into evidence around the age of 15. If it is not treated, it can develop into adulthood.
Visible symptoms include physical aggression and the inability to hold down a steady job. The sociopath also finds it hard to sustain relationships and shows a lack of regret in his or her actions. A major personality behavior trait is the violation of the rights of others. This can appear as a disregard for the physical or sexual wellbeing of another.
Although these symptoms are all present, they may not always be evident. Research has shown that the sociopath is usually a person with an abundance of charm and wit. He or she may appear friendly and considerate, but these attributes are usually superficial. They are used as a way of blinding the other person to the personal agenda behind the sociopath’s behavior.
Many people with antisocial personality disorder frequently indulge in alcohol or drug use. They may use these substances heavily as a way of heightening their antisocial personality. The sociopath sometimes sees the world on his or her own terms, as a place of high drama and risky thrills. The sociopath may suffer from low self esteem, and the use of alcohol and drugs is a way to diminish these feelings.
The causes of antisocial personality disorder are thought to be either genetic or environmental. Children who are influenced by antisocial parents may adopt these tendencies. Similarly, role models such as one's friends or peer group may also influence the behavior pattern of a sociopath. Antisocial behavior is more likely to occur in men than in women. About 1% of women have this disorder, while 3% of men are affected by it.
It is very rare for a person with antisocial personality disorder to seek help of their own accord. Treatment for antisocial personality disorder is usually through group psychotherapy. Sociopaths often find it helpful to talk through and recognize their problems with people they can trust. In a number of cases, this type of personality disorder tends to diminish from the age of 30 onwards.