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Antisocial personality difficult to pin down

How can someone with Antisocial Personality Disorder be identified?

QUESTION:

Can someone be partly a sociopath?

If a person demonstrates no conscience or remorse sometimes, but appears to have feelings and behave ethically on other matters, how is this explained?

Are they untreatable, unable to change?

ANSWER:

Although common in popular culture, “sociopath” is more correctly referred to as Antisocial Personality Disorder. A long-standing pattern of disregard for other people’s rights and feelings is a defining characteristic.

Individuals frequently lack empathy and tend to be callous and cynical.

They can also be charming and self-assured, although they find this difficult to maintain for extended periods. The behaviour will almost certainly cease once they have attained their goals and could turn into aggression if their aims are frustrated.

Attempts to diagnose by “symptom checklists” are not helpful or accurate. Diagnosis and treatment is performed by a mental health professional.

Medication is usually only helpful for related but distinct conditions such as depression or anxiety that often occur along with Antisocial Personality Disorder. The treatment of choice is usually long-term psychotherapy and support.

The condition cannot be diagnosed in people younger than 18. This is because a child or adolescent is still developing and personality can change as a person matures.

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