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  • Writer's pictureAgustya Hariharan

What Is APD?

Psychologically speaking, a sociopath is known as a person diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder or APD. So what are they? You may have heard of a few fictional ones such as Patrick Bateman and Harley Quinn amongst others. These are just a few extreme cases of sociopaths that would go to great lengths to reach a goal, or even just fulfil a desire of theirs. But note that to some people, these wants feel like needs. Sociopaths are not born but they are made. This means that everything could affect the making of a sociopath, their surroundings (including people around them), their quality of life and especially their need for love and care and the fulfilment of it, or in this case, the lack. A sociopath will always show antisocial manners and behaviour. They will be recluses, and maybe even bullied sometimes but will also have an almost scary ability to fit in with others. They have no problems with lying, cheating, hurting, betraying and as such, have no remorse for their actions. This may seem weird, or inhumane to you, but the way that they were raised and the way they are treated can really harm them neurologically. They manipulate with great ease and have been known to have a certain charm around them that draws people towards them. Sometimes, they may not even know they’re hurting you when they do. Most people that are clinically diagnosed with APD tend to ignore their violent thoughts (though some may not have them) and occasional outlashes. These occur due to them acting on their increased impulses to harm others. But it's very important you know that the term ‘sociopath’ is very vague and has a misleading connotation, in that it sounds worse than it is. You can have APD but still live your life mostly normally. When we hear the word sociopath, our minds go straight to pictures that have been painted for us by the media and Hollywood, and as you can guess, these aren’t very accurate. Your day to day sociopath is nothing like the Joker, or Harley Quinn, Patrick Bateman or even Jeffrey Dahmer. These people are known as psychotic sociopaths. Along with this, the terms ‘sociopath’ and ‘psychopath’ are thrown around in conversation interchangeably, when they are quite different in nature.

Socio V/S Psycho

Although not many, there are strong differences between sociopaths and psychopaths. Differences that allow us to diagnose them differently. For this explanation, it's easier to think of sociopaths as foxes (cunning, manipulative, sneaky) and for psychopaths as any cold-blooded animal (quite literally). Sociopaths likely know that their actions are wrong, and that they are hurting people, but their weak moral compasses don’t allow them to feel for the people they hurt. Experiments show that psychopaths, on the other hand, may not have a conscience at all. They will have trouble forming relationships, they will be more violent. But psychopathy is considered, to any extent, treatable. That is what is considered the major difference between socio and psychopathy. Although APD can be controlled, it cannot be treated. Now you can put it up for debate what is worse, but neither party should be judged by their covers.

The ship of Theseus is a thought experiment that asks people to think about whether an object remains fundamentally the same when all its components have been replaced and changed. Most psychotic sociopaths lived hard lives and childhoods, there may not have been anything inherently wrong with them but their circumstances were those that were undesirable, they were and still are abused, unloved, bullied as children. Not unlike the ship of Theseus, it is left to be debated whether the people born were the same people that died after their lives. In short, psychotic sociopaths are the product of what happens when you severely mistreat a child so much that at some point, there is no more humanity left.

Everyone has a breaking point, these people found theirs.

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