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Sociopaths & Psychopaths

Hotheaded sociopaths & coldhearted psychopaths


The terms sociopath and psychopath are used informally to describe people with certain traits and behaviors, even though they are not considered official diagnoses.

The terms sociopathy and psychopathy have a complex history.

The term sociopathy was first used in the late 19th century to describe individuals with a marked disregard for societal norms and rules. The term psychopathy was introduced in the early 20th century. It was used to describe individuals with a similar pattern of behavior but with a focus on the psychological and emotional dimensions of the disorder.


Over time, the definitions and usage of these terms have evolved and changed. They are generally considered outdated and replaced by the more formal diagnoses of Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD) or Dissocial Personality Disorder (DPD). Both refer to the same condition, which includes a disregard for the rights of others, a tendency to violate social norms and laws, and a lack of remorse or guilt for their actions. 

Variability in symptoms and diagnosis accuracy

While ASPD is estimated to impact around 1-3% of men and 1% of women in the general population, its prevalence can differ based on the studied population and the diagnostic criteria used.

The disorder exists on a spectrum, with some individuals displaying milder symptoms while others may have more severe symptoms or traits. 

Psychopathy and antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) are related but distinct concepts.

Psychopathy refers to specific traits and characteristics, while antisocial personality disorder is a formal diagnosis.  Psychopathy is a personality disorder characterized by a lack of empathy and remorse with a tendency towards impulsive and irresponsible behavior.

Diagnostic terms commonly associated with psychopathy.

An antisocial personality disorder diagnosed in the DSM-5 is similar in some ways diagnosed as "dissociality" in the ICD-10.


The ICD-11 adopts a dimensional approach to diagnosing personality disorders, including three severity levels used mild, moderate, and severe. In addition, the five trait domains used as qualifiers are negative affectivity, detachment, dissociality, disinhibition, and anankastia.

The "severe personality disorder with prominent antisocial traits" diagnosis does not require specific behaviors or actions associated with violence or criminality. In contrast, the diagnosis of "severe personality disorder with antisocial or violent behavior" requires the presence of specific behaviors or actions associated with violence or criminality.

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