Sociopathy (Psychopathy)

Are there any physical symptoms for a sociopath?

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2010-09-19 13:14:47

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"Physical_Symptoms_of_a_Sociopath">Physical Symptoms of a


As for PHYSICAL manifestations, they may include any of the

following, according to the newest research and the information

available on the incredibly numerous websites out there on the


Bizarre brain waves from some parts of the brain and none from

some other parts; epileptic seizures (usually grand mal); speech

impediments caused by a chaotic way of storing information in the

brain; low blood-pressure (hypo tension); bradycardia (low heart

rate); pseudoneurolepsy (falling asleep suddenly); a type of

night-blindness caused by constriction of the pupils; sleep apnea;

sleepwalking (somnambulism); other sleep disturbances; migraine or

cluster-headaches with visual 'auras'; varying degrees of

incontinence; lethargy OR wild excitement; unexpected sexual

arousal; loss of sense of taste or smell; trouble with depth

perception; inability to recognize facial expressions; inability to

concentrate on more than one thing at a time; occasional inability

to concentrate on anything at all; certain types of muscle

spasticity or non responsive reflexes associated with a peripheral

neuropathy if present.

Disorganized Episodic Aggression: (psychopath-born)

Organized Sociopathic Hatred:(sociopath-made)Ritualistic

behaviorSuperficial charm and "good" intelligenceAttempts to

conceal mental instabilityAbsence of delusions and other signs of

irrational behaviorCompulsivityAbsence of "nervousness" or

psychoneurotic manifestationsPeriodic search for

helpunreliabilitySevere memory disorders and an inability to tell

the truthuntruthfulness and insinceritySuicidal tendencieslack of

remorse or shameHistory of committing assaultinadequately

motivatedantisocial behaviorHypersexuality and abnormal sexual

behaviorpoor judgment and failure to learn by experienceHead

injuries; injuries suffered at birthpathological egocentricity and

incapacity for loveHistory of chronic drug or alcohol abusegeneral

poverty in major affective reactionsParents with history of chronic

drug or alcohol abusespecific loss of insightVictim of childhood

physical or mental abuseunresponsiveness in general interpersonal

relationsResult of an unwanted pregnancyfantastic and uninviting

behavior with and sometimes without drinkProduct of a difficult

gestation for mothersuicide rarely carried outUnhappiness in

childhood resulted in inability to find happinesssex life

impersonal, trivial, and poorly integratedExtraordinary cruelty to

animalsfailure to follow any life planAttraction to arson without

homicidal interestSymptoms of neurological impairmentEvidence of

genetic disorderBiochemical symptomsFeelings of powerlessness and


Many people without ASPD can have any of these problems; without

the key psychiatric markers for ASPD, these physical manifestations

alone CANNOT be used as evidence of the diagnosis. (For example,

Borderline Personality Disorder, which is in most ways the opposite

of ASPD, can cause hyper alertness and very fast talking, behavior

that also resembles that of a sociopath in a temporary state of


The general rule is that the autonomic nervous system of people

with some Axis II personality disorders does not respond normally;

in BPD the sympathetic nervous system (Fight-or-Flight) is over

reactive; in ASPD it is usually (though not always) underreactive.

Most of the physical problems a sociopath exhibits are

neurologically based.

Beware of persons such as this because they can become

psychopathic (cruelty to others, injury to another person or even

murder.) They have no fear, and no conscience.

People who cannot contain their urges to harm (or kill) people

repeatedly for no apparent reason are assumed to suffer from some

mental illness. However, they may be more cruel than crazy, they

may be choosing not to control their urges, they know right from

wrong, they know exactly what they're doing, and they are

definitely NOT insane, at least according to the consensus of most

scholars (Samenow 2004). In such cases, they usually fall into one

of three types that are typically considered aggravating

circumstances in addition to their legal guilt -- antisocial

personality disorder (APD), sociopath, or psychopath -- none of

which are the same as insanity or psychosis. APD is the most common

type, afflicting about 4% of the general population. Sociopaths are

the second most common type, with the American Psychiatric

Association estimating that 3% of all males in our society are

sociopaths and Stout (2005) estimating 4% of the population.

Psychopaths are rare, found in perhaps 1% of the population.

Antisocial Personality Disorder (APD) is practically synonymous

with criminal behavior, but as with all distributions of a disease

or whatever in a population, it is probable that the majority of

people with this particular affliction are law-abiding. Aging, over

involvements, and/or relationships might hold sway over the control

(or lack of control) in these kind of people, and although

approaching the study of offenders from a relationship &

personality disorders point of view may or may not be productive,

Dr. Drew is probably an adequate source of information on such

matters. Dr. Drew's theory (and one with wide ramifications since

he pretty much defines an antisocial tendency as thinking about

one's self first) is that women with certain kinds of disorders,

like borderline personality disorders, tend to be attracted to and

hook up with men who manifest symptoms of psychopathic personality

disorder (see Lecture on BPD & OCD) and that such match-ups may

or may not be dysfunctional. On the other hand, the field of

criminology tends to treat APD as so synonymous, in fact, with

criminal behavior that practically all convicted criminals (65-75%)

have it, with criminologists often referring to it as a

"wastebasket" category. Antisocials come is all shapes and sizes,

and psychologists consider the juvenile version of it to be a

juvenile conduct disorder. The main characteristic of it is a

complete and utter disregard for the rights of others and the rules

of society. They seldom show anxiety and don't feel guilt. Although

many people would hope that there's an effective treatment, there's

really no effective treatment for them other than locking them up

in a secure facility with such rigid rules that they cannot talk

their way out. A full list of APD traits would include:

List of Antisocial Personality Disorder Traits

Sense of entitlement; Unremorseful; Apathetic to others;

Unconscionable behavior; Blame of others; Manipulative and conning;

Affectively cold; Disparate understanding; Socially irresponsible;

Disregardful of obligations; Nonconforming to norms; Irresponsible

whereas the DSM-IV "clinical" features of Antisocial Personality

Disorder (with a person having at least three of these

characteristics) are:

Clinical Symptoms for an Antisocial Personality Disorder


1. Failure to conform to social norms; 2. Deceitfulness,

manipulativeness; 3. Impulsivity, failure to plan ahead; 4.

Irritability, aggressiveness; 5. Reckless disregard for the safety

of self or others; 6. Consistent irresponsibility; 7. Lack of

remorse after having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another


Sociopathy is chiefly characterized by something wrong with the

person's conscience. They either don't have one, it's full of holes

like Swiss cheese, or they are somehow able to completely

neutralize or negate any sense of conscience or future time

perspective. Sociopaths only care about fulfilling their own needs

and desires - selfishness and egocentricity to the extreme.

Everything and everybody else is mentally twisted around in their

minds as objects to be used in fulfilling their own needs and

desires. They often believe they are doing something good for

society, or at least nothing that bad. The term "sociopath" is

frequently used by psychologists and sociologists alike in

referring to persons whose unsocialized character is due primarily

to parental failures (usually fatherless) rather than an inherent

feature of temperament. Lykken (1995), for example, clearly

distinguishes between the sociopath (who is socialized into

becoming a psychopath) and a "true" psychopath (who is born that

way). However, this may only describe the "common sociopath", as

there are at least four (4) different subtypes -- common,

alienated, aggressive, and dissociate. Commons are characterized

mostly by their lack of conscience; the alienated by their

inability to love or be loved; aggressive by a consistent sadistic

streak; and dissociate by an ability to abide by gang rules, as

long as those rules are the wrong rules. As Stout (2005) indicates,

it only takes three of the following to be defined as a sociopath,

and some common sociopathic traits include:

List of Common Sociopathic Traits

Egocentricity; Callousness; Impulsivness; Conscience defect;

Exaggerated sexuality; Excessive boasting; Risk taking; Inability

to resist temptation; Antagonistic, deprecating attitude toward the

opposite sex; Lack of interest in bonding with a mate

Psychopathy is a concept subject to much debate, but is

usually defined as a constellation of affective, interpersonal, and

behavioral characteristics including egocentricity; impulsivness;

irresponsibility; shallow emotions; lack of empathy, guilt, or

remorse; pathological lying; manipulativeness; and the persistent

violation of social norms and expectations (Cleckley 1976; Hare

1993). The crimes of psychopaths are usually stone-cold,

remorseless killings for no apparent reason. They cold-bloodily

take what they want and do as they please without the slightest

sense of guilt or regret. In many ways, they are natural-born

species/ predators who satisfy their lust for power and control by

charm, manipulation, intimidation, and violence. While almost all

societies would regard them as criminals (the exception being

frontier or warlike societies where they might become heroes,

patriots, or leaders), it's important to distinguish their behavior

from criminal behavior. As a common axiom goes in psychology,

most psychopaths are antisocial persinalities, but not all

antisocial personalities are psychopaths. This is because APD

is defined mainly by behaviors (Factor 2 antisocial behaviors) and

doesn't tap the affective/interpersonal dimensions (Factor 1 core

psychopathic features, narcissism) of psychopathy. Further,

criminals and APDs tend to "age out" of crime; psychopaths do not,

and are at high risk of recidivism. Psychopaths love to

intellectualize in treatment with their half-baked understanding of

rules. Like the Star Trek character, Spock, their reasoning cannot

handle any mix of cognition and emotion. They are calculating

predators who, when trapped, will attempt escape, create a nuisance

and danger to staff, be a disruptive influence on other patients or

inmates, and fake symptoms to get transferred, bouncing back and

forth between institutions. The common features of psychopathic

traits (the PCL-R items) are:

List of Common Psychopathic Traits

Glib and superficial charm; Grandiose sense of self-worth; Need

for stimulation; Pathological lying; Conning and manipulating; Lack

of remorse or guilt; Shallow affect; Callousness and lack of

empathy; Parasitic lifestyle; Poor behavioral controls; Promiscuous

sexual behavior; Early behavior problems; Lack of realistic,

long-term goals; Impulsiveness; Irresponsibility; Failure to accept

responsibility for own actions; Many short-term marital

relationships; Juvenile delinquency; Revocation of conditional

release; Criminal versatility

In addition to these most well-known types, there have been

criminologists who have put forward additional constructs. They are

only mentioned here because of their relevance to serial criminals,

and the interesting similarity in the way they compare to the FBI's

"disorganized - organized" typology.

As for PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS, the original question: Hare (see his

book, "Without Conscience") worked with existing EEG and brain-scan

(PET scan?) technology to show that sociopaths do not process

emotional information the way other people do. It is believed that

in childhood, a born sociopath learns to direct such input through

other routes in the cerebral cortex, but as of yet no one knows

what blocks the impulses and signals from following their normal

route. Cortical under arousal, under active sympathetic division of

the autonomic nervous system, and brain waves while awake (on EEG)

that resemble the alpha-waves of light sleep, are all common or

universal symptoms of primary psychopaths. In addition, more and

more research shows that psychopaths lack the neurotransmitter

Oxytocin (secreted by the pituitary gland) and often have only half

as much Vasopressin (anti diuretic hormone) as most people do.

Abnormalities are thus not confined to the cerebral cortex; they

can be found in the cingulate gyrus and the entire limbic system as



child's brain develops exponentially after birth, and early

development requires physical contact and stimulation in order to

form the basis for interpersonal bonding; secondary psychopaths are

thought to have lacked this; refers to Reactive Attachment Disorder


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