Warning Signs of a Sociopath

Sociopaths have no regard for whether their behavior is right or wrong, which can have disastrous results. According to the Mayo Clinic, sociopaths have a severe form of antisocial personality disorder that may result in violent behavior, criminal acts, lies and deceit without remorse. Recognizing the warning signs of this personality disorder may help identify whether someone in your life could be a sociopath, and avoid a possibly dangerous situation.

Risk Factors

Like other mental health problems, the beginnings of sociopathic personality disorder can be traced to childhood. A traumatic or unstable family life seems to increase the risk of sociopathy, as well as a family history of antisocial personality disorder or other mental illnesses. Being diagnosed with conduct disorders as a child is also a possible indicator of future sociopathic behavior, especially when harming other children or animals is involved. Like many other disorders, sociopathic personality disorder seems to be caused by a mixture of genetic and environmental factors.


There are many warning signs of sociopathic behavior, and these symptoms often peak when people get into their 20s. Sometimes the severity decreases as the sociopath ages and the symptoms begin to taper off. Common symptoms of sociopathic personality disorder include:

Charming others to manipulate them.

Acting impulsively.

Constant lying.

Trouble with the law.

Abusive relationships.

Aggressive behavior.

Unable to hold down a job.

Intimidating others.

Those with sociopathic personality disorder are extremely unlikely to seek help or describe their symptoms accurately to a doctor. A hospitalization generally will occur only if the sociopath is putting himself or others in immediate danger. If you suspect someone in your life is a sociopath, but the person is not acting violently, seek the help of a psychiatrist or other professional for advice on what to do.

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