In the guide, we will talk about the relation between sociopaths and depression, how one affects the other, and the interrelation between them.
A lot of mental illnesses can at times coexist together. In case a person is suffering from a mental illness for a long time it can give way for other mental illnesses to also develop. Especially in the case of depression, it can be seen that people with prolonged serious medical illnesses, including both physical and mental illnesses, can at times suffer from depression too. Having to be in pain and struggle a lot to stay healthy all the time can cause constant sadness and despair in an individual.
Sociopaths and Depression
Sociopaths are individuals who have no regard for the morals of society and are unable to differentiate between what is right and what is wrong. Because of this, they tend to manipulate and trick people into doing the thinking for them or engaging in illegal activities. They do not feel guilty or have any remorse for their wrongdoings.
But this does not mean that they do not feel sad and alone. Sociopaths tend to stay aloof from others as they find it very hard to fit into society and follow its norms. They have trouble forming social support systems and end up on the bad side of the law.
Therefore many individuals who are sociopaths struggle with depression. They have trouble coping up with the expectations of society and understanding the norms set by it. They feel lost and like no one understands them. They feel worthless and helpless because they do not get into trouble or cause pain to others on purpose. They are unable to understand the world and its workings.
A person can be a sociopath and have depression too. They may find it difficult to adjust to the world and make real connections with others.
Who are sociopaths?
Sociopaths, officially called individuals with an antisocial personality disorder, are individuals with a mental disorder where the individual consistently has no regard for what is right or wrong and completely ignores the rights or feelings of other individuals in their surroundings. Individuals who have antisocial personality disorder are likely to engage in activities where they antagonize, manipulate, or treat others harshly or with callous indifference. They do not show any guilt or remorse for their actions and behaviors.
Individuals who have an antisocial personality disorder are seen as more likely to violate the law and become criminals. They tend to lie, behave violently, impulsively, and might have additional problems with drug or/and alcohol use. Because of these traits, people with antisocial personality disorder are unable to fulfill their social responsibilities when it comes to family, work, or school.
Signs and symptoms of sociopaths
Antisocial personality disorder signs and symptoms may include:
- Having a disregard for what is right and wrong
- A persistent trait of lying and deceiving others
- Being callous, cynical, and disrespectful of others
- Using charm or wit to manipulate others for personal gain or personal pleasure
- Arrogance, a sense of superiority, and being extremely opinionated
- Recurring problems with the law, including criminal behavior
- Repeatedly violating the rights of others through intimidation and dishonesty
- Impulsiveness or failure to plan ahead
- Hostility, significant irritability, agitation, aggression, or violence
- Lack of empathy for others and lack of remorse about harming others
- Unnecessary risk-taking or dangerous behavior with no regard for the safety of self or others
- Are a part of poor or abusive relationships
- Failure to consider the negative consequences of behavior or learn from them
- Being consistently irresponsible and repeatedly failing to fulfill work or financial obligations
- Repeated engaging in antisocial actions. These might be actions that are grounds for an arrest in the person’s society, such as harassment, theft, or illegal occupation.
- Deceitful behavior for personal gain that involves repeatedly lying or assuming false identities.
- Impulsive behavior that can lead to sudden changes in jobs, housing, or relationships.
- Irritability and aggressive behavior: This might include frequent physical fights or assaults.
- A disregard for personal safety or the safety of others. It might include speeding, driving while intoxicated, having multiple accidents, or neglecting a child.
- Irresponsible actions that might affect work or financial commitments.
- A lack of remorse felt by the person, for example, rationalize or appear indifferent to the harm that they cause.
- Repeatedly performing unlawful acts and getting into trouble with the law from a young age
- Lying or conning others for profit or pleasure without having any moral or understanding of what they are doing
- Lack of remorse when mistreating others and providing no apologizes for it
What is depression?
Everybody feels miserable or low now and again, however these feelings generally pass with a little time. Depression which is also called “clinical depression” or a “depressive disorder” is a mood disorder that causes distressing symptoms that influence how you feel, think, and handle everyday exercises, for example, resting, eating, or working. To be diagnosed with depression, symptoms must be available the greater part of the day, nearly every day for at least 2 weeks.
Signs and symptoms of depression
Sadness is only a small part of the depression, with it being just one symptom that too in some people with depression may not have symptoms of sadness at all. Different people experience different symptoms. Some of the symptoms of depression include:
- Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood- individuals report not finding happiness in anything
- Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism- they feel that the future is not going to get better and they will always be sad
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness- they feel like everything is their fault and they do not have any worth
- Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies or activities- no activity makes them happy
- Decreased energy, fatigue, or being “slowed down”- the constant feeling of tiredness is experienced
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions- especially in school and during work
- Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping- cause a messed up schedule
- Appetite and/or weight changes- trouble finding the motivation to eat or stop eating
- Thoughts of death or suicide or suicide attempts- indulge in acts of self-harm in the beginning that may build up to suicide attempts
- Restlessness or irritability- in performing any task or while interacting with others
- Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause and/or that do not ease even with treatment
- Insomnia, fatigue, headache, stomachache, dizziness
- Apathy, social withdrawal, unintended weight loss
- Drug abuse or alcohol abuse
- A drop in school performance because of trouble in concentrating in class
- Isolation from family and friends- by not talking to them or not going out to meet them
- Lowered sex drive
- Feelings of agitation and irritability all the time
Diagnosis and Treatment
Treatment for people who are sociopaths or have antisocial personality disorder is aimed to help the person manage their feelings of anger, distress, anxiety, and depression. The goal of treatment is to try to reduce and manage the manifestation of antisocial behaviors and actions, intending to benefit the individual as well as others around them.
The scientific evidence for these treatments is currently growing, with the current information being limited. Managing the symptoms in sociopaths can be quite challenging, as there is a relatively high rate of people stopping their treatment early.
People with an antisocial personality disorder often benefit from treatment that addresses co-occurring conditions, such as depression, anxiety, and substance misuse.
Drug or alcohol use is likely to increase the risk of aggression and impulsivity. Treating any substance misuse can, therefore, have significant benefits.
In treating antisocial personality disorder, the following therapy approaches can be used:
- Psychotherapy can help a person work around disruptive thought patterns, behaviors, and ways of relating to others.
- Group-based therapy can help address impulsive actions, antisocial behavior, and challenges in relating to others. This may occur within community-based or institutional care.
- Mood stabilizers or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, known as SSRIs, may help with impulsive and aggressive behavior, and antipsychotic medications may address any paranoia.
However, no medication is currently specifically designed for antisocial personality disorder.
Friends, family members, and healthcare providers can find it very challenging to care for people with an antisocial personality disorder.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness offers advice for family members and caregivers about how to support someone with a mental health condition while looking after oneself.
We need to understand that antisocial personality disorder is a lifelong condition. A doctor can diagnose it starting at age 18, though its characteristics may become clear a few years earlier.
The severity of symptoms and associated crime tends to be highest in a person’s late teens, and it reduces with age, with a mean remitted age of 35 years old.
Research into the effectiveness of treatment for an antisocial personality disorder is currently very limited, and what works for one person might not work for another. However, treatments may help a person manage their symptoms and relieve co-occurring conditions, such as substance misuse and depression.
Working with a caring therapist and being committed to making meaningful changes to behavior may increase the success of treatment.
As research continues, doctors are gaining a better understanding of this complex mental health condition and the most effective ways to care for the people who have it.
Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.
Self-care for Depression
AS it can be seen that antisocial personality disorder is a lifelong condition but depression, anxiety, or substance misuse can be taken care of and helped deal with. A person can work on improving their mood and reducing depression by following some self-help techniques.
In case you are seeking professional treatment, you may start to feel better gradually. While taking an antidepressant remember that it may take 2 to 4 weeks to start working. Try to do things that you used to enjoy. Go easy on yourself. Other things that may help include:
- Trying to be active and exercise
- Breaking up large tasks into small ones, set priorities, and do what you can as you can
- Spending time with other people and confide in a trusted friend or relative
- Postponing important life decisions until you feel better. Discuss decisions with others who know you well
- Avoiding self-medication with alcohol or with drugs not prescribed for you
- Have a proper schedule set in place and sleep and wake up according to it
- Ensure that you have proper and healthy diets
- Adopting a pet while having depression can help you come out of it
These are some of the things that you can do yourself to feel better and have a speedy recovery.
In the guide, we talked about the relation between sociopaths and depression, how one affects the other, and the interrelation between them.
What we recommend for personality disorders
- If you are suffering from a personality disorder then ongoing professional counselling may be your ideal first point of call. Counselling will utilize theories such as Cognitive behavioural therapy which will help you live a more fulfilling life.