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How do you tell if someone is a sociopath?

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Quick Answer

Characteristics of sociopathy include disorganization, antisocial behaviors, lying, and lacking remorse or guilt, states Psychology Today. Sociopathy isn't a clinically recognized personality disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, however many psychologists believe it is a subset of antisocial personality disorder.

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Full Answer

While sociopaths and psychopaths both possess similar traits, the conditions are not the same mental illness, according to Psychology Today. Psychologists generally classify both as types of antisocial personality disorder, but some classify them as distinct in a few ways.

Sociopaths are often more prone to rage, outbursts and volatile behavior, as explained by Psychology Today. They often disregard the rules of society, are easily agitated, and commit crimes and transgressions in a disorganized fashion. It is relatively easy to tell that a sociopath is disturbed.

Psychopaths, however, are very organized and meticulous in their proceedings. They seem charming, pleasant and functional, and they are able to hide their mental illness from those around them, according to Psychology Today. However, psychopaths are unable to feel empathy or emotions in general, and they express their antisocial traits in more clever ways.

Some psychologists don't differentiate between sociopathy, psychopathy and antisocial personality disorder, according to Wikipedia. By that assessment, sociopaths may also exhibit the behavior of psychopaths and some symptoms of antisocial personality disorder, which are found in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). To diagnose sociopathy, psychological testing must be performed by a mental health professional.

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