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Forum Name: Psychiatric Topics

Question: Do I have sociopathic tendencies?


 someoneoutthere - Mon Jul 26, 2010 3:46 am

I read a lot of psychology and sociology books for school, and a lot on sociopathy in general. I notice I have a lot of the 'symptoms' that sociopaths contain, but I don't feel as if I am fully sociopathic, perhaps just slightly in the middle. I experience some emotion, mostly anger, frustration, and some happiness. I feel any happiness that is obtained is short lived like a placebo, and nothing more. I have little or no remorse for things that happen to people, any remorse feeling occurs for only people of my trusted circle. I am constantly bored with life, I find it hard to find something that can stimulate me on a daily basis. I only lie if I know the situation is going to annoy me or sometimes just for amusement. Most of my life I have felt depressed, but not in terms of sadness, more like empty, frustrated, and angry. I question myself of how I act around people, if I'm just putting on a subconscious act or I'm really being someone. I feel that I have some emotion, but very little.
 Faye Lang, RN, MSW - Mon Jul 26, 2010 1:00 pm

Hello someoneoutthere,

Since you've been reading about mental disorders, you've probably seen the criteria for the diagnosis of Antisocial Personality Disorder, which is the current term for sociopathic disorder. A brief review of the DSM IV-TR (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual according to the American Psychiatric Association) criteria include not following social norms and having repeated illegal behaviors, deceitfulness such as lying and using aliases, impulsivity, irritability and aggressiveness with repeated fights and/or assaults, reckless disregard for the safety of self and others, consistent irresponsibility including failure to sustain work or honoring debts, and total lack of remorse. The diagnosis is made when there has been evidence of a conduct disorder before the age of 15, a pervasive pattern of disregard and violation of the rights of others since the age 15 as evidenced by at least 3 of the attributes listed above, and the person is at least age 18.

Many persons have traits of various mental disorders without meeting the criteria for a specific diagnosis. It's also quite common that when studying within medical or psychological areas, the person identifies symptoms in themselves and worries that they may have the disease or condition. Most often, their traits are mild and not pathological or indicative of disease.

What you describe seems more like pervasive unhappiness. Although you don't feel sad, most of the symptoms you describe also would fit within the diagnostic criteria for Major Depression, as well as Adjustment Disorder, among others. The only way to determine the nature and severity of any psychological condition is to have an evaluation and psychological interview with a psychologist or psychiatrist. Other therapists can recognize and assign provisional diagnoses, which would be confirmed or refuted by a psychiatrist or psychologist. Many times a person's regular doctor can be very helpful in identifying the problem. I encourage you to see your doctor and/or a psychologist or psychiatrist and tell them in detail exactly what you have described in this forum. It's likely that an anti-depressant will be recommended, and within a few weeks your symptoms will begin to resolve. I don't believe that what you describe is sufficient for a diagnosis of Anti-Social Personality Disorder, but that your problems have started to overwhelm you and that you would definitely benefit from treatment.

I wish you the best of luck.

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