Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Sociopath on drugs

From a reader:

Hi there, 

I literally just now (10 mins ago) discovered your site, and found myself wondering about sociopathy and drug abuse. I'm learning to embrace the term currently, as it seems to be utterly precise in describing myself, but I'm also a highly functional alcoholic. Are these things in conflict, or does it make sense that this would be the case? Poor impulse control, managing this addiction unbeknownst to nearly everyone around me, etc. On the one hand, it seems like (from the descriptions on your blog) a sociopath would be hesitant to engage in things that strip them of control, but given that I feel like alcohol firmly restores my control -- and allows me to more fluidly (pun!) manipulate my environment, the abuse of alcohol doesn't seem to be at odds with sociopathy. 

I am sure you're busy and won't respond to this, but since it is such a profound quandary in my own life, I thought it might help a lot of people to include it in your FAQs section. Many people have a hard time navigating their sense of self amidst drug abuse. What is my brain? vs. What is my brain on drugs?

M.E.: I have heard conflicting things about addictions. I myself don't like the feeling of loss of control that I get from any narcotic type substance. But I have also heard that sociopaths can be very prone to addiction -- maybe because they don't care about the supposed immorality of abusing substances? Should we post what you wrote and see what other people have to say?

98 comments:

  1. In the criminal population substance addiction seems to be common, but among the non-criminal population who knows. I haven't seen any studies on that.

    For me personally, alcohol doesn't do anything. I feel the same way mentally, but eventually will end up with screwy vision and less motor control. Consequently, I don't drink much. Haven't tried any illegal drugs. The way I view it is that you'll pick up an expensive habit while simultaneously dealing a huge blow to your money earning capacity, likely ending in financial disaster. I like my creature comforts too much to do that. However, I'm prone to work addiction. Sometimes I get inordinately focused, and latched onto a project. It's an involuntary dependence on the actions constituting work, not a dependence on the outcome of said work. I think it's chemical addiction, not psychological addiction.

    If you're a socio with the genetic predisposition to addiction, it's probably easier to develop a problem. Like M.E. said, there isn't a mental barrier due to viewing it as immoral. There's also the reward-centric mindset of the sociopath, if you find alcohol rewarding you're more likely to keep doing it than normal people.

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  2. I have been reading the blog for maybe 6months. Never had the urge to comment though. I have ASPD, & also, i am a very high functioning alcoholic. I have dealt with some form of substance abuse since age 13. Addiction is prevalent on one side of my family, and mental illness on the other. Not all sociopaths use drugs\alcohol, of course, but if you read Cleckleys' "The mask of sanity" MOST of his subjects he wrote about had a substance abuse issue. I do not believe this is rare at all in ASPD

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    1. My husband was a very high functioning alcoholic. He quit years ago just like that, all the drugs too. His skin turned yellow and he was sweating brown junk from his pores. His doctor told him, if you don't stop it immediately, you will die. His liver was fucked in danger zone, but he made it. He was a country boy and never heard of those detox programs until someone introduced him to Alcoholic Anonymous later on. That was a long time ago. He's still very work driven and very intensely focussed today. He always tells me that he needs to feel productive at all times. He's 43 years old. I often wonder if he would have continued drinking - if he would still be high functioning in his mind today. His physical body couldn't keep up, I guess. But he could work like a mule, still get up and do his work productively. Still does.

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    2. One thing to note is that the substance abuse tie-in is based on studies conducted on the criminal population, which has a naturally skewed distribution of high substance abuse. So keep that in mind.

      Personally, I stay away from drugs and alcohol. I don't like the loss of control either, high or otherwise. Control and optimal cognitive functioning has priority.

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    3. ..."But I have also heard that sociopaths can be very prone to addiction -- maybe because they don't care about the supposed immorality of abusing substances?"
      Actually, the opposite is true. Sociopaths are narcissistic so they would be hyper-aware of the "moral" judgments others might make and often become the "functioning" addict with the outward appearance of "control". And as far as that word goes: being a recovered addict myself, there is no such thing as control. Any addict - sociopath or not - does not have control. That's an illusion.
      They may be the highest functioning addict ever, but the simple truth is they must function to maintain their addiction. It's really that simple.
      You could view it as an alcoholic gives up 8 hours drinking time every day to go to work. If they didn't, they wouldn't get to drink at all, and 16 hours is WAY better than 0 hours. The alcohol/drug is dictating what the person will do - and that is the absolute minimum necessary - to buy a 5th or a half-gal and pay the rent, so they have a place and "can have a few drinks and relax after work". It sounds circular, but that is where the magic of addiction helps people justify what they're doing.
      Taking a promotion at work is not something they will do if it means working more hours a day. This kind of addict has found the perfect "balance" of how much work pays for the amount of play they can fit in between work shifts.
      Addiction sucks. I'm eternally grateful I got clean, but I'm going to be honest and tell you that even after 12 years, at least once every day for a few seconds, I miss getting high. It was just that it was more fun when I didn't know how much damage it was doing. Once that dawned on me, I can no longer justify it. I have turned down free drugs from other addicts who are in such a pathetic state of mind, they offered it to me. I know what they are doing, though. They want to justify their own use by showing that no one can get away from it. They feel alone if someone isn't getting high alongside them. They are testing if recovery is really possible. If I do it, "just once" in that situation, the using addict in front of me is not even going to try to quit if they see me fail after all these years. Good luck to the functioning alcoholic who wrote in and KUDOS for being honest about your addiction.

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  3. I know a few sociopaths with addictive personalities, including myself.

    I know one addicted to alcohol and seducing women.

    I know another addicted to sweets and playing with people.

    James Fallon is addicted to seducing people and thrill seeking.

    ME is (was?) addicted to ruining people and buying optimal loads of grocers at shopping clubs.

    I know a sociopath addicted to driving down the wrong side of the street, for thrills.

    I know another sociopath addicted to shoplifting and petty crime. And seducing women and being a parasite on them.

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    1. Let's not confuse a tendency or desire to do something with an actual addiction. I like seducing people, but I'm not addicted to it.

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    2. Well, have you proven to yourself you can go without seducing anybody for say.. A year? Try it. Think about how much you will miss it. If your life is markedly less enjoyable if you dont do it, then you have some kind of an addiction.

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    3. Also, an addiction is something that usually is detrimental to you (and to people around you) in the long run.

      (In the case of seducing somebody for the sport if it, it is also detrimental to the people who are seduced. It can sour them and wreck their lives temporarily or permanently. I know, you don’t care. Actually, you do, but not in the usual sense. Your version of “…and they lived happily ever after” is “… and s/he lived miserably ever after”.)

      Seducing (and manipulating) can work against you eventually. It is like other addictions in the sense that it seems to work well and help you short term. You feel like you have accomplished something. It makes you feel good and proud of who you are, how smart you are; you have used your expertise and perhaps sharpened it a little along the way, etc. You feel invincible. The seduced people will, for a while, be at your beck and call, very obedient. It is very entertaining. It relieves boredom. Until they wake up, or until you decide it is time to break their heart or to move on.

      Do you understand how vengeful people can be and for how long (i.e. forever), when they have been hurt that way? (Try to relate it to something that makes you angry beyond belief - perhaps an air stewardess controlling your every move in an airplane, does that work for you?, and that lasts for an extended period of time, without any respite.) Of course, they don’t exactly know how to retaliate – they do not know how to make you suffer, plus they would be taking too much risk. They cannot beat you at your own game, you play by different rules that are incomprehensible to them. Plus by that time, they are probably completely out of energy. No fight left in them for a while.

      What can be detrimental to you, though, is that people you burn might compare notes with others. Granted, most people won't talk to others because they feel hurt and ashamed. Not many people yet grasp how differently a sociopath operates, and they will believe it is their own mistake, their own shortcoming, that they could not be loved – you know that and play on it. I remember a few years back reading about sociopaths, and it just did not click with me. People being completely devoid of compassion towards another human being, go figure... and still able to make it look as though they are your best friend, your confident, your lover. Impossible to fully grasp. It is only when you are exposed first hand to a sociopath, and for an extended period of time, that you can truly realize that they operate and think within a completely different frame of reference.

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    4. cont'd ^^^

      However, with the advent of the internet and the fact that people can share stories and information while remaining anonymous, it will become more and more difficult for sociopaths who misbehave to remain anonymous themselves in their real life. It is not a threat. It is a fact. I am not being emotional about it. And it is not wishful thinking either. The sociopath in my life has helped me tremendously and I wish him no harm. I know his limitations – though he would never see them as such – and that is one of the reasons he became dear to me. And I am not being condescending either, please do not take it as such. His limitations is what allows him to be so good at manipulating and seducing, a genius even.

      If you work with a small number of people, for instance, the word of your seducing, manipulating, hurting, disregarding people will spread behind your back. It might take a few years, but it will, and may follow you to your new job depending on what industry you are in. Also, on a larger scale, and just as an example, Jamie just found a web site (under construction, apparently) where people will be able to post who they think is a sociopath. Furthermore, if people that have been burnt understood the deliberate thought process behind the seduction and the manipulation techniques sociopaths commonly use – what I call the “yo-yo” or the feel good/feel bad slooowww technique, they would absolutely see it as calculated emotional abuse, because that is what it actually is to neuro-typical people.

      I am trying to make my friend realize how his behavior can affect him detrimentally in the long run. Personally. Professionally. It already has. I thought I would share my thoughts with you all in the hope that you might see them as helpful. Or you can tell me where my logic breaks down. That would be good too.

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    5. "An addiction is when people become dependent on one thing that makes them feel better than anything else does AND they are afraid of losing or not having that feeling."

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    6. "...The second thing to understand is that people can become addicted to anything. We usually think of addiction in terms of drugs, but that is only one kind. People can be and have been addicted to gambling, work, games, noise, parties, television, texting, eating, dieting, exercise, traveling, criticism, and loads of different things, including other people. The real problem of addiction is not the desire to repeat a pleasurable experience, it is the fear-driven focus on one single way of accomplishing this."

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    7. @oldandwise

      thank you for sharing this.

      So seduction is for some sociopaths or psychopaths like an addiction. Maybe it triggers their intensity of stimulation and they feel some sort of alive and power and control. idk

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    8. Some people do not realize they are addicted and do not get that fear driven focus until they stop, though. A very simple example would be high functioning alcoholism.
      Jeliza Rose, where did you find this definition? I assume it is not yours because you put it in quotes.

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    9. Jeliza Rose, so true about the different types of addiction. I actually know somebody who died because he was too fit. In his early forties. True story.

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    10. I think of an addiction as something that has a physiological basis. Certain drugs, alcohol, nicotine, etc do something to the body that creates reliance. That's not the same thing as doing something that is pleasurable for pleasure's sake.

      I don't manipulate or seduce people frequently enough that it is a problem. Typically I wait for opportunities to present themselves. I would analogize it as something akin to a vacation. Could I stop taking vacations? I guess so, but why? I'm not taking so many vacations that it is interrupting my life, but I take the opportunity to do so when possible.

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    11. Hieronymous,
      That's an accurate and easy-to-understand explanation of addiction. You should be writing educational material.

      OldandWise,
      Did the too fit 40 something happen to run marathons?

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    12. That's funny, because I thought "does something to the body" was pretty vague. I don't know enough about biology to explain how that works.

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    13. It's vague yes, but most people wouldn't understand the biology anyway. A lot of people still think that addiction is solely a moral failing, and if only that selfish shitbag had enough willpower and consideration for other people, they'd stop being an addict, damn't! That there is a biological component and that the addict isn't happy, is news to them. Your explanation would be great in an informational pamphlet for a lay audience.

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    14. Dev, yes he was a marathon runner, besides playing other sports. He died on a treadmill. Why so you ask?

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    15. Running marathons is hard on your heart, a lot of people seem to kick the bucket because of them.

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  4. Venator of VerumJuly 22, 2014 at 7:17 PM

    Any ideas as to why people with developmental disorders abuse narcotic substances in order to deal with their disorders? Or is it perhaps that people with predispositions for using narcotic substances are prone to behave as though they have developmental disorders?
    Or perhaps the people who see and comprehend the animosity that surrounds them try to contain their grief within a box obfuscated by walls of an easily attainable substance that devours their existence?
    Or perhaps...?
    There is no easily attainable truth when it comes to understanding the human psyche.
    The closest we can relate to is the condition of being a god that learns what it means to have a conscience.
    Up yours!!!

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  5. I'm pretty sure I'm addicted to sweets. I can't go more than a few days without buying myself a crap load of candy, if it isn't candy it's extremely sweet fruits. My doctor says based on the amount of sugar I consume, I should be diabetic and really sick by now. But every time I go in for an analysis, my sugar levels are perfectly healthy, or in some cases even too low. Anyways, if I could express love to anything it would be to sugar.

    As for drugs, alcohol I drink from time to time depending on who I'm with and the ambiance. Don't particularly have a taste for it except for good Caribbean rum, and wine. But I rarely drink, and rarely try to get drunk (I seem to be pretty resistant to it). I do smoke, I like the feeling and it's pretty relaxing. But I wouldn't call it an addiction though (don't think people can get addicted to it), I pick it up and drop it as I want. I can go days or months without smoking or even thinking about it.

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    1. Interestingly, low fasting blood sugar is common among criminals. I used to have problems with getting hypoglycemic in the morning, until I started eating a lot more protein. If it ever gets to be a regular problem, try low-carbing.

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    2. Noted. Although I like my explanation for it better, it also gets people a bit annoyed, especially when they don't have enough knowledge on the matter to actually make a valid rebuttal. My demigod symptoms had me interpret it a different way. 60% of the glucose (a sugar, if anyone was wondering) in the body is used by the brain. 60-75% is used for nerve impulse. I like to believe that my overactive, ever thinking, and ever-functioning brain (of course my brain is more powerful and works more than other's) uses an excessive amount of glucose, and so drains any bit and any type of sugar that goes into my system. This also serves to explains why I always want sweets. If my inflated ego is wrong and I end up sick when I'm older, well will deal with it then. If I die, well then there's nothing to worry about, since I won't need to take care of my health anymore. :D

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    3. Funny, I jokingly tell people I stay skinny because I use the calories with my brain when they ask me how I do it. That pisses them off. I am somewhat addicted to sugar as well. My blood work is always incredibly perfect, that is what my doctor is telling me. Not a good example for my kids...

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    4. Hah! Maybe I'm not too wrong after all.

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  6. I read somewhere that addicts, whether drug or alcohol addicts, ACT like sociopaths.
    Meaning that addicts could rape, steal, kill,act without remorse to feed their addiction.
    That is why a lot of therapists want people to get clean before starting therapy or getting a diagnosis.

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    1. It isn't that hard to see.

      A crackhead thinks (and believes) "I need crack to be happy".

      Rather than thinking of himself as a guy with some symptoms of physical addiction, some intrusive thoughts related to crack, and thoughts of being a crackhead, he believes his thoughts and thinks of himself as something like Gollum from LOTR. He acts as if the crack will make him happy.

      The delusion of being a crackhead leads to a whole chain of delusion. "Money" becomes what you need to get crack. "Stealing" is what you do to get "money" so that you can buy crack. When he sees a guy walking down the street, he sees his money walking down the street. The mind invents reasons why it is OK to steal from that guy ("he's an asshole"). Having stolen, our friend is likely to repeat the cycle of conditioned thinking and action. In that way he is a crackhead. Of course, in the beginning, he's a guy with some physical addictions, some intrusive thoughts about crack and thoughts like, "I need crack to be happy."

      A sociopath has a similar series of thoughts, antisocial habits and delusions about what s/he is.

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    2. Drugs are for people who are too afraid to commit suicide.

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  7. Sociopaths do NOT fear intoxication. It's just another form of risk
    taking. Sociopaths want thrills. And if they have a chronic physical
    condition, will do ANYTHING to numb physical pain, or the emotional
    pain of boredom.
    Sex has always been a chief staple for the sociopath. It is a poor man's
    drug. Sex is also a power trip. Many incarcerated sociopath's still manage to obtain sex behind bars. It's almost as though they are a
    sex magnet. Many people working at prisons chose the job because of
    attraction to sociopaths. In some prisons the inmates actually run the
    prison with the assistance of the female guards.

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  8. Think "control" is the thing that prevents most psychos from being addicts. Many like highs now & then, but so do most average folks too. Many psychos probably are completely dry. The condition itself somehow is an "up" substance.

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  9. I haven't done drugs since college. I like to drink, but I rarely get drunk and I'm certainly not addicted.

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  10. According to Cleckley Alcoholics Anonymous may be one of the only successful treatments for sociopaths. Specifically sociopaths that are alcoholics and/or addicts. The 12 Steps present a way of life that can benefit so many people with personality disorders and addictions. But the person has to want it for themselves, or it doesn't work.

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    1. Cleckley's research is significantly out of date, and the comment he made about AA was that it is effective in treating *alcoholism* in not just neurotypical people, but also those with disorders.

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    2. Carefully read The Mask of Sanity, it covers this issue in detail. His research is pertinent and relevant today. Addiction and personality disorders have been with us since the beginning of time. AA is one of the only effective treatments for alcoholics and addicts. This isn't speculation, this is fact.

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    3. Actually it's not. Cleckley's research, by virtue of him being dead for 30 years, means it is outdated. While his contribution is noteworthy, in particular for early research in the field, it does not hold very well to recent research. Cleckley's research does not properly recognize the multitude of factors associated with the disorder. Hare himself, while acknowledging Cleckley's work, notes this. His work has issues with social and cultural biases, with a lack of supporting evidence to some of his beliefs.

      I understand that you admire his work, however it is important to note that with his passing, Cleckley's research stopped progressing. While AA is relevant to alcoholism, Cleckley states in the book that:

      "Some patients whose behavior and emotional attitudes definitely suggested the psychopath's disorder have to my knowledge not only avoided for years the disabling effects of their former drunkenness but also other unrewarding and antisocial activities. Whether or not these were psychopaths in the full and deepest sense is not a question that can be answered confidently."

      "In their relations with Alcoholics Anonymous, psychopaths sometimes show at first what seems extraordinary zeal, sincerity, and promise, only to reveal after varying intervals that the whole matter was only a sort of prank or lightly taken adventure in versatile careers of self-ruin."

      As colorful and slanted as that was, Cleckley states right there the *lack* of reformation despite the promise of AA's therapeutic design, and even notes the inability to even say there were actual psychopaths in his brief monologue about AA.

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    4. "Cleckley's research, by virtue of him being dead for 30 years, means it is outdated", "however it is important to note that with his passing, Cleckley's research stopped progressing", your understated sarcasm makes me chuckle.

      I doubt AA would be very effective with psychopaths, since a lot of the design of the program is based around developing and maintaining an emotionally based desire to change. Antabuse or another drug treatment would probably be more effective.

      "Whether or not these were psychopaths in the full and deepest sense is not a question that can be answered confidently." This is a very relevant point. Anecdotally, a lot of addicts can behave in ways that appear psychopathic, but if you knew them when they were clean, they weren't like that at all. Anon, consider that addicts you thought had personality disorders might have been normal people struggling with addiction.

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  11. Anyone remember Zhawq? The guy who supposedly commented a lot on here?

    There was some upheaval about him being a girl, who has aspergers or something?

    There's a comment on this website under the name Zhawq.

    http://dietpinner.com/blog/2014/04/23/real-girl-thinspo-happy-upbeat-8/

    "He" says: I like how some of the girls seem to have gotten their hands on some of my
    wardrobe. The gray & black vertical striped one, I don’t know how many
    years back it was that I bought two that looks exactly like that, and I
    still wear them from time to time. Some clothes don’t ever get out of
    fashion.


    Now, really? Any opinion on this? I hope somebody remembers him.
    The whole thing seems really funny.

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  12. I don't care about the supposed morality of abusing substances, I think that might be a big part of it.

    But I care about the supposed morality of abusing animals (so I don't eat animals or eggs and I try to avoid milk).

    I believe we all have the right to consume what we want, and so I have the right to consume any drug I want and that is really no one else's business but mine. I think abuse or misuse of drugs is unhealthy and I would advise one to always try to maintain a healthy state of mind and body.

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    1. I don't think any one of us is in control, I think that is illusory. We all have the ability to direct attention though, and some people are better at it than others.

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    2. For instance we have the directing mind. My job is to direct my subconscious. If I don't direct my subconscious, my subconscious will rely on habit and direct me, or someone else will.

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    3. Are u a socio?

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    4. Odd coincidence. I do have an old friend I known for about a decade. He's a diagnosed sociopath, but when coming to aspects of morality, he holds the upper standards for animals, other than eating which he does seldom. I found it peculiar, since animal abuse (at least in younger ages) is a criteria in diagnose. He was out of control in many other aspects in the past (including substance abuse), but never harmed animals, seems to enjoy their company more than that of people (can't blame him). How common is that?

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    5. I am, yes. In my experience with substances, whenever I have WANTed to stop using something, it has been easy. I don't like needing things. The less stuff I am dependent on to feel the way I want, the better. The more I am able to make myself feel that way by choice, (instead of relying on something physical) the better.

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    6. As a kid, I can't say that I never abused animals. Though they were mostly small ones like lizards, frogs and insects. I used to have a BB gun and use lizards for target practice (then dig into them once they were dead to get the bullets back) and burn the bodies (was a bit of a pyro as a kid, I do a better job restraining myself now). As for frogs I poured salt on them, and for insects I just burned them. In some way it was to show other kids how bad ass I was compared to them, and also bevause I never really look at those animals as life. I never tortured them alive though, and never did things like that to bigger animals (which tend to be domestic).

      Now that I'm older, I find humans extremely narrow minded and hypocritcal, and they've become a bit disgusting to me. While I don't particularly care for people at least I have a sense of loyalty towards those I call friends. I've found myself feeling more comfortable around animal than humans. I try to keep my diet as vegetarian as possible, but I haven't forces myself into any commitments.

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    7. Why do you have friends? What do they bring to you?

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    8. Tii, when I was a kid I used to behave similarly, typically with frogs, lizards, crawfish, and some insects. The stuff you would find in the creek behind our house. I would pull the limbs off of crawfish, and occasionally I would do the same to frogs. I liked to dangle the lizards by their tail, until the tail popped off and they would scurry away. I don't recall ever abusing anything larger than that. I actually quite like animals. I have a dog that I am very fond of.

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    9. Old - I have to admit this seems like a strange question to me. What does anyone get out of friends? Some stuff is more fun with other people. Drinking with friends at a bar is more fun that drinking alone. Fucking is more fun than jerking off. Even misery loves company.

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    10. Hieronymous, yes I guess my question is strange. It was prompted by the fact that Tii said humans have become a bit disgusting to him though he has a sense of loyalty towards those he calls friends. He also mentioned that he feels more comfortable around animals than humans. One interpretation I had from this was that he did not particularly enjoy any human companionship. Hence the question.

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    11. It's not that I enjoy the company of humans. My friends are pretty sincere in the sense that they don't care to sugar coat things, and are comfortable enough to just act how they feel, which is one reason why around them I mostly am myself. We share some of the same interest and hobbies, and when we're together we usually just sit around get a few sips, take a few hits and talk. We talk about anything from science to the arts or philosophy, and we try to keep away from gossip. I enjoy these types of conversations because we can make interesting rational logical arguments instead of talking about who likes whom, who cheated on whom with whom, and who just got dumped. We sometimes tell jokes and share stories, but we try to keep off the bullshit. My friends are pretty loyal too, which is part of the reason why I feel I owe it to them to be loyal. Some of them have insisted on taking the blame for me multiples times, or have taken the whole blame for things we did together. If I am in a situation where I need money right away they'll land it to me and pretend to have forgotten about it until I repay them (unless they also walk into a similar situation). They are pretty reasonable, and I might not trust anyone but, they've proven to be reliable on many occasions. A friendship like that I find valuable, so I do my best to also be there for them. As for other people I've seen friends go from friends to enemies because one got caught for cheating and caused the other to be exposed, because one couldn't land money to the other, or because they like the same person. I find no use to such people, and they hold no value, and are just worthless extras in this stage that is the world (look at me being all Shakespeare, anyways).
      Animals on the other hand they don't bother me asking for emotions, just attention. Plus the lack of problems caused by idiocy is significantly less then the dumbassery cause by humans. If everyone could just be a cat. Cats are the perfect animals to me, I might as well be a cat. Fuck the world, let me sleep as much as I want, feed me when I'm hungry, pet me when I need it, and don't expect me to love you.

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    12. It's not that I never enjoy*

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  13. This is stupidity. Sociopaths are no more or less likely to be addicts/alcoholics than anyone else. ANYONE can become addicted. I really wish you guys were more intelligent. I find this utterly disappointing. Your opinions are worthless.

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    1. Dopamine pathways are 4x more active in people with ASPD, which makes you them more prone to addiction to dopamine-modulating drugs like amphetamines or opiates. Maybe next time know what you're talking about before you insult people.

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    2. David is absolutely correct. Aside from the dopamine issue, some people have a genetic predisposition for addiction. Whether that's more common in ASPD than the general population, I don't know.

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  14. Animals, in the wild, get high intentionally.

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    1. No they don't.

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    2. They do. Look up as to why there's an elephant on the Amarula liquor bottle. ;)

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    3. Not very convincing.

      The fruit is simply a source of food, which happens to ferment on warmer days, causing the animals to get drunk when they eat of it.

      Besides, an animal wouldn't knowingly compromise its own chances of survival like that.

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    4. They do. There is a BBC TV show called Horizon, and one of the episodes was all about animals that intentionally get high. It started with cats in a catnip garden, it followed monkeys that steal alcohol and get drunk. It followed a lemur that eats a certain type of centipede that secretes a deliriant... it goes on.

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    5. Here is the whole episode. It is BBC TV show.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fkVWl4hiRZc

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    6. Again, animals are motivated by the need for survival.

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    7. Aren't most humans too?

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  15. Speaking as someone with Anti-Social Personality Disorder and as someone that works professionally treating drug addicts, it is not unheard of to see addicted sociopaths (I would put this at about .5-1% of my population). Most however, are more appropriately fit into the schizotypal range, or are borderline personality,possibly narcissistic personality disorders with features that would lead one to speculate about an ASPD dx.

    When (in my experience) ASPD people get addicted they tend to run wholly into it without reserve and typically only end up seeking help when forced by the courts or families or they simply die from overdose.

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    1. Is that stat just a guess, or from an actual study? It's strange how people with bpd often abuse drugs and/or alcohol. It's never really been my thing. Working in the field of mental health, do you ever worry about anyone finding out about your diagnosis?

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  16. My employers are aware of my dx, it doesn't prevent me from doing my job; in fact it makes me more efficient. As for the numbers listed, it is informal, a reckoning taken from the representative number of cases I see ( I interview and assess all prospective patients before they enter treatment). The number could be slightly higher in terms of some of our long term population (i.e. cases extant before I came to be employed there) but on average the number is fairly low.

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    1. So you told your employers? That's interesting. Were there any negative reactions? I think the same topic came up a few days ago on the comments, and I didn't think mental health professionals would really be that bothered by someone implementing therapy who had aspd.

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    2. The few times I have forgotten to wear my mask it was very obvious (I'm told) and yes, my boss had some reservations about me at first, but understood that my sole motivation was to make money not cause harm so it became a non-issue.

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    3. Yeah somehow I find that hard to believe.

      "Hi, I'm a diagnosed psychopath."
      "Okie dokie."

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    4. Ok, Dr g and Finn. This is coming from a lay person, but I truly believe my sociopath friend has been and is very therapeutic to me. Not that I think I have any disorder, but you know, I am human... He made me confront my own "shadow". The things I did not like about myself or was hiding to myself. That made me stronger. Also I can pretty much say anything to him and he can usually take it.
      I remember MachiavellianEmpath a while back saying something to the effect that sociopaths give you the gift of letting go of neurosis.
      It would make sense for sociopaths to be in the psy* field. Not only do they have the gift of seeing through people, but they can also take the crap without much emotional suffering.

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    5. I can relate to that. Must be why people around me have designated me as THE shoulder to cry on -.-

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    6. well it's either my training or I'm just really jaded at this point. Probably part of the reason I don't think someone with aspd would be seen as being a big deal working as a therapist is because to me all psychologists are a bit sociopathic, so yea I agree sociopaths a lot of times make a good fit for this profession. That's not to say all situations will be good of course because some therapists, sociopath or not, will engage in unethical behaviors.

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    7. Within the mental health field, at least in my experience there is oversight and as a therapist I am required to submit for supervision regularly. My diagnosis may be more toward an extreme end of the spectrum, but people working in the mental health field are still people and all have varying degrees of dysfunction.

      However, this is not to say someone with ASPD is not a "big deal" or problematic, but in my case I am no worse than others I work with. We all are required to see therapists ourselves which I think alleviates some of the concerns my employers may have had.

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  17. Random and a bit of topic, but something just occured to me. Ever since I figured that I must be a sociopath (have yet to be formally diagnosed, though all signs point towards that) I realized that some of my thoughts have changed. I find it similar to embracing who I am. Before when people got hurt, or something emotional (good or bad) happened I use to fake the emotions while thinkig "Shouldn't I care or something? Isn't this supposed to make me feel a certain way like others" when people were excited and all giddy about stuff I used to think "Why don't I feel the way they do? Why does it seem so stupid to me while other are all crazy about it,". Now, I realized that lately I think along the lines of "Why should I care? It's not like it's got anything to do with me." Or "Wow, those idiots are actually squirming with joy. Sure takes very little to entertain morons." Am I the only one whose had these changes in thoughts since I found out?

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    1. I think I have embraced it more. I find myself less willing to fake my way through certain interactions.

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    2. Yes, I've also noticed that in myself. While before I used to fake my way to be "normal" and bee seen as such, now I sort of have this fuck it I'm not normal so why should I pretend mentality. I still fake as easily as before (if not better), but now it feels like a drag. While before I felt like I was the only one that way and tried not to be seen as "damaged" or just plain "evil asshole" (not that it would bother if it didn't cause me to be shunned aside), now I feel like well it's how I am and I'm not the only one. Instead of feeling like I have lost something because I have a "disorder", I feel like I've gained something over others.

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    3. Tii,
      Regarding getting formally diagnosed, I wouldn't if it's avoidable. You run the risk of closing some doors of opportunity if you do. If you live in the states, the only official diagnosis they can give you is ASPD which is a bit of a different construct than sociopathy. Sociopathy is no longer recognized as a diagnosis by the DSM. If you're curious, here's a summary of the DSM-IV criteria for ASPD:

      A. Disregard for the rights of others occurring since age 15, indicated by three or more of the following:
      1) failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behavior
      2) deceitfulness
      3) impulsivity or failure to plan ahead
      4) irritability and aggressiveness
      5) reckless disregard for safety of self or others
      6) consistent irresponsibility
      7) lack of remorse

      B. The individual is at least 18 years of age

      C. There is evidence of Conduct Disorder with onset before 15 years

      D. The occurrence of antisocial behavior is not exclusively during the course of schizophrenia or a manic episode

      DSM-IV criteria for Conduct Disorder:
      A. A repetitive and persistent pattern of behavior in which the basic rights of others or major age-appropriate societal norms or rules are violated, as manifested by the presence of three (or more) of the following criteria in the past 12 months, with at least one criterion present in the past 6 months:

      Aggression to people and animals

      (1) often bullies, threatens, or intimidates others
      (2) often initiates physical fights
      (3) has used a weapon that can cause serious physical harm to others (e.g., abat, brick, broken bottle, knife, gun)
      (4) has been physically cruel to people
      (5) has been physically cruel to animals
      (6) has stolen while confronting a victim (e.g., mugging, purse snatching, extortion, armed robbery)
      (7) has forced someone into sexual activity

      Destruction of property

      (8) has deliberately engaged in fire setting with the intention of causing serious damage
      (9) has deliberately destroyed others' property (other than by fire setting)

      Deceitfulness or theft

      (10) has broken into someone else's house, building, or car
      (11) often lies to obtain goods or favors or to avoid obligations (i.e., "cons" others)
      (12) has stolen items of nontrivial value without confronting a victim (e.g., shoplifting, but without breaking and entering; forgery)

      Serious violations of rules

      (13) often stays out at night despite parental prohibitions, beginning before age 13 years
      (14) has run away from home overnight at least twice while living in parental or parental surrogate home (or once without returning for a lengthy period)
      (15) is often truant from school, beginning before age 13 years

      B. The disturbance in behavior causes clinically significant impairment in social, academic, or occupational functioning.

      C. If the individual is age 18 years or older, criteria are not met for Conduct Disorder.

      Reading that, I think you can figure out if you have ASPD or not on your own. Keep in mind these are from DSM-IV, which is the last version so these are a little out of date, but I doubt that the criteria have changed significantly. Perhaps Dr. G will have some input on that matter.

      If you're interested in sociopathy than you could do either (or both), the Hare or Levenson self-report questionnaires. If you insist on getting a professional diagnosis, than the Psychopathy Checklist Screening Version is the one you want.

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    4. How have things changed since figuring out what I am? Well, I became aware of some things I did unconsciously that ran the risk of people wondering about my mental state. I wasn't always doing the best job of hiding the fact that I don't care about other people, and don't experience the emotions that they do. If I were a man this stuff wouldn't be so noticeable, but it's extremely incongruous with my gender. I actually do more faking than I used to, and I construct my facade more consciously and carefully than before.

      It also explained some physiological abnormalities I had been wondering about.

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    5. Tii,
      I too noticed a similar thing re: what I am really thinking when I'm interacting with people. I also noticed that being social takes a lot more out of me than what it used to. Except for close friends who are aware that I'm a sociopath/do not care that I'm a jerk sometimes, it is increasingly more difficult and boring to deal with people. I also tend not to censor my own thoughts anymore. I was pretty invested in being a good person before everything finally clicked, so I used to immediately discard any cruel/mean things that crossed my mind and replace them with the 'nice' thing to say. Now I'm surprised at how comfortable I am with myself. I haven't stopped being nice or diplomatic, though.

      Been a reader for a few months, never commented before. Nice to meet you all.

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    6. Dev,
      Thanks, I've checked out the summary you put up. For Conduct Disorder, I check positive for very few, while for the ASPD one I checked most of them. I'll see what i get in the two other tests you mentioned.

      As for getting a formal diagnosis, I have no intentions. It's too much trouble, and most likely, too much money too. Plus I'd rather not be tagged with any labels, and I don't know what happens after I get a diagnosis (meaning if I will be required to do anything). But lately I have considered discussing it with my parents, I feel like more freedom will come from it, and it will exempt me from having to fulfill some expectations.

      VooDoo,
      Yah exactly what I mean, it's like "well I'm not average, so why should I bother acting like it".

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    7. Tii,
      Keep in mind that the severity of the items in the ASPD criteria are on par with the severity of the Conduct Disorder criteria. If you're not getting many hits on the CD criteria, you most likely don't have ASPD. They use words differently than their colloquial meaning, so "irritability and aggressiveness" doesn't mean moody and rebellious/argumentative/competitive, it's more like do you have a problem with assault and battery. From observations of my own family, assuming the shrink is somewhat competent, your behavior needs to be pretty severe before you'll get an ASPD diagnosis.

      If you get diagnosed of your own volition, nothing would happen. Now if you get diagnosed because you got tangled up in some legal problems, then you might be required to do something. The biggest issue is there would be some government, and probably other jobs, you wouldn't be able to get due to a diagnosis. Getting out of parental expectations, I like it.

      And greetings to VooDoo.

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    8. VooDooPork, nice to meet you too

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    9. Dev? Physiological abnormalities? What do you mean?

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    10. My entire family is prone to abnormally high fasting blood sugars and high cholesterol. I on the other hand have abnormally low fasting blood sugar, to the point I used to have a problem with waking up hypoglycemic even as an adult, I also have abnormally low total cholesterol, and a low resting heart rate. I got genetically tested for a different reason, but now I know definitively that I have the same abyssmal genes for blood sugar and cholesterol as all my relatives. Criminal psychopaths usually have abnormally low fasting blood sugar, cholesterol, and resting heart rate in conjunction with an increasing sense of calm from situations that most people would find stressful. This is why some of them physically abuse others, it's relaxing to them. Some researchers think it's caused by the vagus nerve, but the generally accepted hypothesis now is that it's due to low vasopressin production.

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    11. So, in other words, pretty much only criminals get diagnosed as sociopaths...

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    12. For an official diagnosis, yes. ASPD, not surprisingly, is mostly about antisocial behavior. The DSM used to recognize Psychopathic Personality Disorder, but it was replaced with ASPD which has very little to do with personality. Psychopathy/sociopathy no longer exists as a diagnosable disorder. Unless you end up in jail, then they can diagnose you as a psychopath even though it doesn't exist in the DSM. Makes all kinds of sense, no?

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    13. Psychopathy has been sort of merged into ASPD, where they have separated it into multi-factor variants (primary and secondary for two-factor, and three/four-factor variants). There is no consensus in the literature as to how many factors and their categories. It is however fairly consistent that the anti-social/criminal aspect is separated as its own factor, with psychopathy as its own (ie. primary is psychopath, secondary is anti-social, etc.).

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    14. Oh, did they change that in DSM-V? I only have criteria for DSM-IV.

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  18. When I was knee high to a grasshopper, there was a T.V. show called
    "Lassie." It was about the adventures of a female Collie dog.
    Everybody loved "Lassie." She had the noble heroic traits that we all
    aspire to. She lived on a farm and was loved and cared for by series
    of farm boys. When one farm boy out grew the role, he was replaced by
    the next farm boy. Eventually they changed the formula, and Lassie was
    given to a Forest Ranger. The man grew tired of the role and was written
    out of the series. In an eposide poigantly entitled "Somethings You Never
    Get Used To," Lassie's master was caught in the middle of a Forest fire.
    He was burned horribly and bandaged from head to toe. It was a very
    heart stirring scene to see Lassie approaching his hospital bed and
    nozzeling his palm with her nose. She emitted that "dog cry" sound.
    Lassie was given to a revolving group of "masters." The theme didn't
    work, and Lassie was taken off the air.
    But just suppose that Lassie didn't have the benefit of a loving home.
    Suppose that Lassie was an "inner city" dog that had to battle to survive.
    Could she have done all the wonderful things she did? It was her loving
    enviorment that brought out the best in her.
    Casey Anthony is our "Lassie." She is reviled, hated, and unloved. It
    needn't be that way. Like Lassie, Casey can also do wonderful heroic
    things. She needs our care and protection. Can you imagine how
    wonderful it would be if we were kind and loving towards Casey and helped her make the most of her life?
    I'm just asking you to make donations to Casey to keep her off the streets. I want you to take money from your pocket and just give it to
    Casey. As with Lassie, we can bring out the best in a person's potential.

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    1. Did you really tell a story like that to a group of sociopaths to stir their emotions so that they could donate money... Sorry if I'm not a sensotive as I should but that attempt made me laugh.

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    2. Wow Tii, you actually read that whole thing? I didn't even notice they were begging for money. My brain shut off and I stopped reading a couple sentences in when it became obvious this was just bullshit emotional babbling.

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    3. I thought something useful was going to come out at the end. So, I kept reading and was only disappointed that its a charity box being passed around for Casey Anthony.

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    4. This weirdo has some strange fixation on M.E. And Casey Anthony. Best to just ignore them

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    5. My sentiments exactly. Though the charity drive this time is a bit funny.

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    6. Sociopathy and drug abuse are two peas in a pod. I have much less sympathy for druggies looking at it that way. There's people who just don't care, and these people are more likely to abuse drugs. I find people having trouble completely writing others off, and they have a lack of comprehension of the sociopathic state. Even the hard ons for rehabilition, no prisoner left behind, opposition of the death penalty; there's not enough consideration of this type of person in the liberal view.

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  19. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  20. What's fun about doing drugs and alcohol is not the loss of control, per se, but how far you can take it BEFORE you lose control. also, look at the different types of drugs... My favorite was always cocaine on account of it being somewhat of a focus drug. It gave me the same rush as driving 110 mph down the highway and watching others look at me in horror.

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  21. Nose candy.
    Tried it.
    Tried it again.
    Was bored af.
    About the only thing its useful for is a pick up.

    Drug addicts are lame.
    But drug abuse by coworkers, bosses? Great fodder material.
    Now *other* people on drugs? Thats an exciting prospect.

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