While it's common to think of sociopaths as criminals, even killers, such behavior isn't essential to the diagnosis of Antisocial Personality Disorder. The proposed criteria for the upcoming DSM-5 include that the patient must be 18 or older and have shown cerain behaviors consistently over time and circumstances.
Here's a look at the personality traits that psychiatrists consider when diagnosing this condition:
Self functioning that is:
- Egocentric, getting self-esteem from power, personal gain or pleasure; and/or
- Sets goals based on personal gratification, without regard to whether achieving those goals is legal or ethical.
Interpersonal functioning that:
- Lacks empathy - doesn't care about hurting others; and/or
- Can't have true emotionally intimate relationships because relates by exploitation that may be by:
*Control by dominance
*Control by intimidation
- Manipulating others, such as pretending to be deeply interested in someone in order to achieve a goal;
- Being deceitful, such as a man who says he is a decorated war hero when in fact he has never even served in the military;
- Having a callousness that could be shown by not caring about others' feelings, having no remorse when actions harm others, being aggressive, or being sadistic;
- Showing hostility easily. This could be shown by things like:
*Repeated fights or assaults
*Irresponsibility regarding commitments (e.g., financial obligations), agreements and promises.
*Making spur-of-the-moment decisions without thinking about how they might turn out; and/or finding it hard to make or follow plans.
*Taking risks that might result in self-damage for no particular reason, even though the consequences could be self-harming; being easily bored and doing thoughtless and risky things to fight boredom; ignoring personal limitations and denying that activities could be dangerous.
"Antisocial Personality Disorder (Dyssocial Personality Disorder)." APA DSM-5 Development. American Psychiatric Association, 4 2012. Web. 28 Nov 2012.
Mayo Clinic Staff. Antisocial Personality Disorder. Mayo Clinic, 10 October 2010. Web. 28 November 2012.