The term sociopath is used to refer to a person who has Antisocial Personality Disorder. Basically, sociopaths display a persistent pattern of behaviors which suggest disregard for other people’s feelings and rights.
Although many people associate the term with killers or other types of criminals, this kind of behavior is not a requirement for a person to be diagnosed as having Antisocial Personality Disorder. Some of the main personality traits that psychiatrists look into when diagnosing a person include, egocentrism and lack of empathy. Sociopaths tend to be egocentric and their self-esteem is obtained from power, personal pleasure, or gain. They also set their goals based on their desires and personal satisfaction, and do not care whether their means towards achieving their goals are legal or within the bounds of ethics.
Another distinctive characteristic of sociopaths is their lack of empathy. They simply do not care whether their actions can hurt others, and they also cannot develop an emotionally intimate relationship with another person. Sociopaths tend to engage in deception and exercise their control through intimidation and dominance.
Aside from these, people who suffer from this condition also display traits such as being deceitful, aggressive, manipulative, callous, and sadistic. They may also become hostile and display behaviors such as engaging in fights repeatedly, making decisions at the spur of the moment, and being irresponsible when it comes to obligations, agreements, and commitments. They also get bored easily, deny the fact that certain activities are harmful, and tend to ignore their limitations. Furthermore, sociopaths are more likely to take risks for no apparent reason, even if these may cause harm to themselves.
Sociopathy is believed to result from both environmental and genetic factors. This simply means that a person may be born with a susceptibility to this mental condition, and his experiences at different points in his life may serve as the trigger for the onset of this disorder .