Psycho Definition

What is the technical difference between a Psychopath
and a Sociopath?

OK, first my credentials. I have a high school diploma. I was crazy once, long ago, and I got better. I know a lot of psychopaths, and even a couple of sociopaths.

Psychosis is an unacceptable level of variation in ones perceptions of reality. It has to do with whether you agree with the rest of the world about what is real, and what is not. It isn’t a cut and dried thing, but it often comes down to whether the person is thought to be in danger of harming himself, or others because of the inability to understand the real nature of the world he lives in. Delusion and hallucinations are often, but not always part of psychosis.

Sociopathy is the absence or severe impairment of the emotional and ethical capacity of an individual, most often associated with severe and protracted trauma. This trauma can be physical or emotional, and most often occurs in early childhood. It can (in fact often does) include psychosis, but that is not universal. Some very capable people are sociopaths, lacking emotions, feeling no guilt, or duty, no love, no hatred. They are effectively isolated from everyone, and cannot be reached by usual attempts at social interaction. Even so, they can function in their jobs, provide for their own care, and live lives that cannot be discerned from any other life.

Because their emotions are suspended, or frozen, sociopaths are not controlled by the perceptions of others, as most of us are. Self-image as well is devoid of emotional aspects. Living up to expectations, caring about others perceptions, remorse, guilt, pride, shame, all these things are simply outside of their perceptions.

Your second definition could apply to either psychopaths or sociopaths, but your first definition describes a
psychotic, not neccesarily a psychopath.

Was this a quiz? Does it count toward our grade?

Those terms are not used by mental therapists any more. DSM-4 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) has only antisocial personality disorder. The essential feature of that disorder is “a pervasive pattern of disregard for, and violation of, the rights of others that begins in childhood or early adolescence and continues into adulthood. This pattern has also been referred to as psychopathy, sociopathy, or dyssocial personality disorder.”

This is not a psychotic disorder. In fact, many argue that it not even a mental disorder at all, but just characteristics of a scumbag.

Incidentally, a psychosis is ALWAYS accompanied by delusions or hallucinations. A psychotic person has lost contact with reality, and that means that he has visual or hearing hallucinations or suffers delusions as to what he sees and interprets. (For example, delusions of grandeur or paranoia.)

BTW, I am not a mental therapist.

Here’s a link with more about Antisocial Personality Disorder:

Thanks Necros for that link. Now I can access mental stuff on the web.