Is there someone in your life who seems to have no concept of social norms, no conscience, or no empathy? You may be tempted to classify such a person as a psychopath or a sociopath.

Before you label the individual, discover the difference between these terms and learn about better ways to refer to this kind of disorder. An article published on WebMD offers a succinct, clear explanation of the differences between psychopaths and sociopaths.

The Psychopath

Most people have a conscience, a small voice inside that tells them when something is right or wrong. A psychopath has no conscience. He may seem charming and intelligent on the surface, but he wouldn’t feel any remorse about stepping on you to climb the corporate ladder, or stealing your money to make himself richer. According to L. Michael Tompkins, a psychologist at the Sacramento County Mental Health Treatment Center, psychopaths are “skilled actors whose sole mission is to manipulate people for personal gain.”

The Sociopath

A sociopath is more rash and hot-headed, often acting cruelly or selfishly and then making excuses for the behaviour later on. The sociopath has a conscience, but it’s so weak that it has no effect on his behaviour. Both the sociopath and the psychopath suffer from a lack of empathy. They cannot sense or imagine how their actions might make others feel.

The Fear Factor

Should you be afraid of someone in your life who lacks a conscience or empathy? If you watch TV and movies, you have probably seen many villains depicted as sociopaths or psychopaths, ready to hurt or kill someone at the slightest provocation.

According to WebMD, most real-life psychopaths and sociopaths are not violent. However, they can be ruthlessly manipulative, reckless, and calculating, ready to use anyone or anything to achieve their end goals. For some, that may be receiving a promotion, gaining a coveted reward or possession, or achieving power over someone. In some cases, violence can become a factor; but it isn’t the go-to option for most individuals with this disorder. You’re more likely to be hurt by the fact that the sociopath or the psychopath in your life really doesn’t care about you as a person— only what he or she can get from you.

The Preferred Terminology

You probably won’t hear a psychiatrist in Singapore call someone a sociopath or a psychopath. Instead, the official diagnosis would likely be “antisocial personality disorder.” It’s a milder, less fear-inducing term to refer to someone with an under-developed sense of right and wrong. Be very careful before calling someone a psychopath or a sociopath. You could damage relationships, incite that person’s anger, or cause harm in other ways.

No Case Too Hard for Hope

At Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic, you’ll find some of the top psychiatrists in Singapore. Our team is dedicated to the rehabilitation of even the most troubled individuals, along with their eventual reintegration into society as healthy citizens. We believe that treatment, medication, and therapy can help reduce the symptoms of mild, moderate, or severe mental illnesses.

If you believe that someone in your life needs to be monitored and treated for a mental health condition, please contact Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic immediately. Our Singapore psychiatrist and his team will evaluate your friend or loved one’s case and develop a plan for treatment and medication as needed. With professional intervention, your loved one may have a much brighter future than you anticipated.

News Feed from Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic

Source: WebMD, 24 August, 2014