Talkspace Offers Advice On Antisocial Personality Disorder

antisocial personality disorder talkspace coping sociopath

The online therapy website Talkspace recently published an article titled "Sociopath Test: How to Tell if Someone Has Antisocial Disorder". Although no such test can be administered online, the author provides some useful information on this disorder, typical behaviors exhibited diagnostic criteria, and advice on coping with those who have it. 

Description Of The Disorder 

The article points out that whereas the terms "sociopath" and "psychopath" are often used in conversation, these terms do not have a clinical definition. Rather, "Antisocial Personality Disorder" is the name of the disorder as described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). 

People with Antisocial Personality Disorder generally lack empathy and behave in ways that are harmful to others. They may be aggressive, abusive, or bullying, and have no compunction about lying, or breaking rules or behavioral norms. Importantly, they have no ability to admit that they've done anything wrong or express remorse for their problematic behavior. 

Causes Of Antisocial Personality Disorder 

Talkspace points out that the causes of the disorder are not clear, and may include both "nature" (genetics) and "nurture" (environment). The environmental factors at play include growing up in dysfunctional or abusive family situations. 

Types Of Personality Disorders 

Antisocial Personality Disorder is one of ten recognized personality disorders. According to the Mayo Clinic, it is a member of "Cluster B" which includes narcissistic personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, and histrionic personality disorder. This cluster of disorders is characterized by "dramatic, overly emotional or unpredictable thinking or behavior." 

Behaviors indicative of the disorder 

The key behavioral symptoms of this disorder, according to Talkspace and WebMD, include (but are not limited to) 

● Lying and deceit 
● Aggression 
● Lack of remorse for harm done 
● Impulsive or rash behavior 
● Disregard for the well-being of others 

Process And Criteria For Diagnosing Antisocial Personality Disorder 

Whereas it is tempting to label someone as a sociopath because he/she has exhibited some of the above behaviors, only a trained medical doctor (including psychiatrists) can diagnose a person as having this disorder. The diagnostic process relies on a full medical history as well as an assessment of the person's thoughts and attitudes. 

Outlook And Treatment 

Unfortunately, due to the nature of the disorder, those with antisocial personality disorder usually refuse treatment because they do not see that they have a disorder. For those whose relationships or daily life has been disrupted enough to seek treatment, therapy is the more common option. If the person also suffers from depression or anxiety, treating these issues with therapy or medication may help. 

Advice On Coping With A "Sociopath" 

Talkspace provides sound advice on coping with someone with antisocial personality disorder: set clear boundaries for your interactions (where and how long). It is important to protect your own mental health while living in such a situation.

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