Sociopath Vs Psychopath: They’re Not The Same

We come across various terms every day. Do we know their exact meaning? No. Very few are familiar to the facts. Likewise, the terms sociopath and psychopath often creates confusion that they serve for the same. 

Mostly, you must have used these terms interchangeably when someone acts weird or creepy, saying, “what a sociopath” or “He’s a total psychopath”. It is very commonly referred to those who are rude, hurtful and do not care about the other person’s feelings. Both “sociopath” and “psychopath” come under the types of Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD) with few distinguishing characteristics. 

Let’s know the real meaning of them.

At least three of the following traits are important to notice ASPD in a person :

  • Breaking laws and social norms can be a habit of them 
  • Cheating and lying to others and thinking of their profit by manipulating ways 
  • Mostly they do not have any plans
  • They do not think of the consequences of sudden actions
  • Fighting and aggressive is their inbuilt character
  • Safety of others or themselves is not really a matter of concern to them
  • They do not take financial or any other kind of responsibilities 
  • They do not feel the guilt of harming others 

What is Sociopath? 

According to research, a sociopath is the outcome of many environmental factors which are included in the upbringing of the child, like – staying in a negative household where he or she might have faced abuse, both physically or emotionally and any kind of childhood trauma. 

Such people cannot understand others feelings. Breaking rules and making insensible decisions are their nature without feeling guilty for their actions and the impact of those actions. 

What is a Psychopath?

Researchers believe that psychopathy can be a product of environmental factors but mostly it is a genetic influence. Generally, they have difficulty in sharing real emotional attachments with people. As a coping mechanism, they create an artificial circle of emotions to manipulate others in a way that ultimately it would be beneficial to the psychopath. They are hard to find as they can be seen to have normal jobs being trustworthy and charming. 

They do not care if they hurt someone and are mostly impulsive, abusive and lack remorse. It is a chronic condition of mental health which deteriorates with age. After the age of 18, it gradually worsens during the twenties. Psychopaths do not believe that they have any problem which causes difficulties as they do not seek any treatment.

Sociopath vs Psychopath 

A sociopath is not an official diagnosis. Hence it comes under the shadow of psychopath diagnosis. People tend to judge both of them based on absolutely wrong severity. The severe form of a sociopath is a psychopath is not a truly diagnosed statement. Both the terms are different in their characteristics and described under the ASPD diagnosis with a different structure.

They show that they do not care for others. They are often hot-headed and impulsive. Anger and rage are their habits. Recognize and rationalize their behaviour. It is hard to maintain work and family life. Forming emotional attachments is difficult for them.They are manipulative. They are cold-hearted. Fails to recognize others feelings and stress. Engage in relationships that are fake and shallow. Act to have a normal life to cover their criminal activities. A failure in forming genuine emotional attachments. They love people in their own ways.

Self-functioning characteristics 

Some of the characteristics that can help you realise what a person is  like from their behaviour, they are:

  1. When the person is achieving confidence from personal gain, power or pleasure.
  2. Self – centred or ego is their primary friend 
  3. Striving goals that are based on personal enjoyment by breaking the laws or hurting someone.

What is the difference between sociopath and psychopath?


Conscience is that voice inside us that lets us know if we are doing anything right or not. A psychopath does not have a conscience. For example, if he wants to steal from you, he may pretend like he is ethical but that’s not the reality. He never feels moral values. they are good at observing others and act the way they do so that he is not “found out”.

A sociopath on the opposite, at some level, may feel bad that stealing your money is not right but they also do not stop themselves. That means – they have a conscience but it’s weak. 

In simple words, both lack empathy and the ability to care for others. But psychopaths become the winner to show less regard for others. Such personalities take others as objects for their own benefit. 

Approach to violence 

Not every detail of the movies we watch is true. Cinemas have that potential to provide an extraordinary character of any disorder. In the case of sociopaths, violence is not always a tool for them. They might go to the highest extent to achieve what they want. They can be a fraud, liar, manipulative and many more. 

Psychopaths often seem to be violent when they are socially isolated, sad or alone. They mostly hurt others. You can take the example of the Netflix original – Mrs Serial Killer and the character of Manoj Bajpai. He loved his wife unconditionally but portrayed himself as a decent doctor which he was not.


Apart from seeking knowledge about the difference between sociopath and psychopath, you should not forget that they are also human beings with a few strange features. Even after knowing someone’s condition, it is inappropriate to act harmfully towards them. There are many cases where such people suffering from mental disorders are isolated and considered to be criminals. 

Such actions create more difficult circumstances which are dangerous for them as well as you. In such cases, being a good human and asking your friend, relative or colleague to visit a doctor is the real duty. People with such disorders do not realise what they are going through.

If you feel you have ASPD, then remember you can still have a normal life and loved relationships. The main step is to seek treatment. With the advanced studies, there are numerous ways to cure yourself of many diseases. One of those is an antisocial personality disorder with treatments such as – psychotherapy, cognitive behavioural therapy, and medication. You can be cured if you have the hunger to lead a normal life with true and genuine relationships with others.

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