What Are the Treatments for a Sociopath?
Sociopathy is categorized as a personality disorder characteristic under the broader diagnosis of anti-social personality disorder 1. Sociopathy is not currently recognized as a distinct disorder on its own; however, many clinicians recognize that the traits of sociopathy are different and more severe than antisocial personality disorder 1. Sociopaths represent a small percentage of the total population, and there is currently no cure for sociopathic traits 2. When a person displaying sociopathy seeks professional help, it is typically for residual symptoms of a co-occurring disorder or due to legal problems mandating treatment.
The typical treatment used for sociopathy is geared toward the antisocial personality disorder symptoms 1. Psychotherapy focusing on behavior change and skill-building is prominent with this disorder. Because sociopaths lack emotional depth, are unable to create genuine connections with others and often engage in criminal acts for personal gain, psychotherapy treatment tends to focus on teaching behaviors that are pro-social, using a combination of behavior therapy, cognitive-behavior therapy and personality reconstruction techniques. The Mayo Clinic recommends psychotherapy as the primary treatment mode for improving sociopathic symptoms 2.
The accredited healthcare organization ACCG reports that use of medications in the treatment of sociopathy is minimally effective. However, due to the co-occurrence of additional disorders such as paranoia, anxiety, depression and substance abuse, medications are useful in reducing these additional problem symptoms as a supplement to psychotherapy. Sociopathic.net indicates that the violent nature of the sociopath often requires anti-psychotic medications in low doses to further control aggressive behavior symptoms 2. In addition to anti-psychotics, mood stabilizers, anti-anxiety and antidepressant medications are also used in the treatment of sociopathy.
Anger Management Treatment
According to the Mayo Clinic, violence, irritability, aggression and anger are often present in the sociopath 4. Although the sociopath has minimal connection to his emotional state, he can respond to simple reward and punishment skill building. The American Psychological Association indicates that anger management programs offer a means for identifying the connection between emotional states with behaviors through teaching consequences of actions 34. This form of treatment targets violence reduction in order to prevent the violation of rights of others as well as help the sociopath recognize her role in contributing to society effectively versus in a criminal manner.
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