Dr. David B. Adams – Psychological Blog

Psychology of Illness, Pain, Anxiety and Depression

The "Sociopath"

Such individuals, whether they be a government official, an incarcerated felon, or even an injured worker, may exhibit a “personality disorder.”

A personality disorder is a developmental defect. It may interfere with occupational or social functioning. It does not imply that the individual cannot differentiate between right and wrong.

1. What the media “experts” call sociopath(ic personality), is, in fact, more accurately called antisocial personality. Such individuals show a remarkable disregard for the welfare of others and display a chronic pattern of lying. The signs include lack of concern regarding society_s rules and expectations, repeated violations of the rights of others, unlawful behavior, lack of regard for the truth, irritability and aggressiveness.

If you put such an individual into treatment, they tend to be very manipulative, lie to cover up personal faults in themselves and have little insight into their behavior patterns. They may exhibit short-term enthusiasm for treatment, particularly after an incident has brought them into contact with the law. However, once their immediate legal concerns are reduced, they frequently drop out of treatment and fall back into the same antisocial behaviors that brought them into treatment.

An Antisocial Personality Disorder is not a medical term for criminality. It describes a long term pervasive personality disorder that is very resistant to change. In the distant past, these individuals were referred to as “glib psychopaths,” smiling at you good naturedly while they spin lies without hesitation. One of the most impressive behaviors to observe is their ability to become tearful and “appear” as though they are contrite. These theatrics are often a matter of great pride for them.

2. Antisocial Personality Disorder is frequently associated with narcissistic personality disorder. Narcissistic personality presents as a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and a lack of empathy. The narcissist basks in the admiration of others, excessively preoccupied with issues of personal adequacy, power and prestige. One telling characteristic of a narcissistic patient is the contrast between injury complaints and the patient’s physical appearance. While complaining of intractable pain, they engage in exquisite care of their clothing, makeup, hair and nails.

Narcissistic personalities are self-centered, self-important, and have fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love. These patients have a sense of entitlement, and like antisocial personality disorder, they are interpersonally exploitative, lack empathy, are envious of others or believe others are envious of them.

The individual with antisocial personality disorder is legally culpable for his criminal behaviors for one specific reason: he knows the difference between right and wrong, but simply feels that such concerns do not apply to him. He is, after all, above the law.

He is not “mentally disabled” or “legally insane.”

The use of “mental incapacity” is designed to remove him from power before he does harm. However, this may be a decidedly poor idea since it may also provide him with his legal defense in the future.”

Comments for this post are closed.

What Does the MMPI Tell Us

The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (currently the MMPI/2) was initially developed almost sixty years ago. It …
Read Blog Post

chronic pain

Psychotherapy Rather than Fusion?

A Norwegian study has shown that patients with chronic lower back pain get as much benefit from behavioural therapy as they …
Read Blog Post

Permanent and Partial Disability

I had a patient who did not work until she was 38 years old. She then had ~20 jobs in the next four years; all were brief …
Read Blog Post