Does a sociopath have any real lasting feelings of rationality or does it keep getting worse as time goes by?
Sociopathy is a mental illness misunderstood by most thanks to misinformation from the media. A sociopath is someone who suffers from Anti-social Personality Disorder, which means that they do not feel normal human emotions; they lack remorse, shame or guilt; and their emotions are shallow.
To answer your question, they are extremely rational, but without feeling. If you want someone completely gone, it is rational to kill them, isn't it? Yet it is human empathy which dictates to us that this is wrong. A sociopath is uncontrolled by human emotion, and any appearance of this is a facade with an ulterior motive.
This condition is not curable, as you cannot force someone to
'feel' something, and it is a chronic condition that neither gets
better nor worse. For more information on sociopathy do a web
search. I find google most helpful. www.google.com
If you are a sociopath, you probably are resistant to the idea of change.
Robert Hare, PhD., says that the personality of a sociopath (psychopath) is essentially set in stone, so to speak, by adulthood, and incredibly hard to change.
But some keep trying to help them; giving up is not an option. Sociopaths cause too much trouble.
A good therapist can prevent you from victimizing him/her without victimizing you in the process. And recent studies made by neurosurgeons and other medical experts have finally begun to pinpoint the things that go awry in the brain that are part of what causes sociopathy.
In some cases, such medications as Depakote, Topamax, and even Lithium are being prescribed, and although some individual therapists prescribe Ativan and the like, much more research needs to be done there on ultimate benefit of drug treatment. It is already known that drug treatment must be augmented by a very structured and positive-oriented talk therapy.
Sociopaths can get somewhere in talk therapy if the clinician is self-confident and relaxed, firm but never authoritarian or self-important. It must not ever become an ego-contest.
Once the process gets far enough along so that the sociopath is actually able to feel even a tiny flicker of genuine happiness, that is an impetus that will grow stronger if the process continues to move forward.
But a sociopath seeking this must be warned that at some point quite well along in the process of therapy, there will be an interval in which all the newly developing strength is called upon to endure very deep and long-buried pain. Sticking to it through that takes a very strong will.
The therapist must repeatedly remind the patient that the process will also reward him or her with better and better feelings, ultimately becoming its own reward: that terrible emptiness called 'boredom' or 'static' being replaced by feeling, both painful and joyous.
In cases where brain damage is too severe to permit of this on its own, new developments in technology in the next decades will bring implantable devices that may be able to be used in the brain, along with other means including synthetic replacement neurotransmitters, to carry nerve impulses along paths formerly silent and unused in the sociopath's brain.
Although such devices would have to be used with extreme care to avoid causing violent convulsive seizures, some of the anti-convulsant medications that are already being prescribed to sociopaths in test trials could possibly prevent this unwelcome side-effect.
In the present, therapy is hard to come by for anybody not extremely wealthy, and for sociopaths, many of whom are unable to work, it is even that much harder to find help. But it exists. And, looking at some observations posted at other similar questions by others, one can see that a very popular opinion is that sociopaths, psychopaths, are all "evil" and undeserving of help!
One very important point, therefore, is that, most certainly, no one helps sociopaths by repeatedly calling them 'evil'! That kind of response cannot possibly help anyone.
Yes, of course sociopaths arouse great anger in people; one must take care of oneself and make steps so as not to allow oneself to be victimized. But HATRED is another issue: if hate takes you over, you become that much more like the sociopath.
A sociopath before treatment cannot trust anyone and must learn the fundaments of trust and interaction between people. No one who is persuaded to believe that he or she is just plain bad can sustain any hope for change.
It becomes a vicious cycle: the sociopath, being told he or she is evil and cannot be helped, gives up, and in frustration and anger lashes out again at people, and in response to that, people say that their original point is proven.
The main reason sociopaths don't usually seek help is that they can't trust, rather than that they like being as they are. Plus, they can often sense exactly what sort of a response any call for help on their part is most likely to elicit from professionals and lay folk alike.
Sociopaths are not breezing along in paradise. It isn't all a game. It's a truly miserable existence. And it can be made better.
It may not be "curable" yet, but it most certainly isn't as hopeless as so many people say. There is therefore nothing to be gained and much to be lost when therapists and lay folk try to ostracize sociopaths from the human race entirely! Sensationalism and superstition will only prevent progress.
On the other hand sociopathology doesn't really exist. You might as well be asking if Transformers have "real" feelings. Why? Because both are just things created by human's imaginations. While touted as science, "mental illness" has never been proven to exist. Cancer is an illness. AIDS is an illness. One can objectively test for their presence. There is no objective way to test for mental illness. It can only be diagnosed through subjective means, either by self-diagnosis or through a doctor's subjective evaluation of a patient's own admissions or behavior. Most children could be considered sociopaths given the criteria in the DSM.
So in essence there is no answer to your question. If you want to be sure though, ask someone to answer your question without citing the DSM. By the way do you know the method by which new "mental illnesses" are added into the DSM. A vote. Effectively that is all that is needed. I doubt that the bubonic plague needed to be voted into existence. That's funny though, because if mental illness exists then the sheer number of people ailing from it should qualify as an pandemic of sorts.
Here's something that reads much better than what I just wrote:
The most fundamental criticism of the DSM concerns the construct validity and reliability of its diagnostic categories and criteria. Although increasingly standardized, critics argue that the DSM's claim of an empirical foundation is overstated. A reliance on operational definitions necessitates that intuitive concepts such as depression be operationally defined before they can be used in scientific investigation. Such definitions are used as a follow up to a conceptual definition, in which the specific concept is defined as a measurable occurrence. John Stuart Mill pointed out the dangers of believing anything that could be given a name must refer to a thing and Stephan Jay Gould and others have criticized psychologists for doing just that. A committed operationalist would respond that speculation about the thing in itself, or noumenon, should be resisted as meaningless, and would comment only on phenomena using operationally defined terms and tables of operationally defined measurements. This line of criticism has also appeared in non-specialist venues. In 1997, Harper's Magazine published an essay, ostensibly a book review of the DSM-IV, that criticized the lack of hard science and the proliferation of disorders. The language of the DSM was described as "simultaneously precise and vague", and the manual itself compared to "a militia's Web page, insofar as it constitutes an alternative reality under siege," and a "fertilizer bomb" against hard science.