Oakton Outlook

What it means to be a sociopath

An in-depth article debunking the stigma surrounding sociopathy

Sally Park, Staff Writer

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On September 16, Shane Dawson, a popular Youtuber with almost 18 million subscribers, released a new documentary series featuring Jake Paul, a controversial Youtuber. This documentary series revolved around the possibility that Jake Paul may be a sociopath due to a series of past problematic events which occurred. After the release of the new documentary, it immediately caught both negative and positive attention from many including those who have the condition itself as well as professionals who work in such fields relative to mental disorders. Intrigued viewers began to question whether or not they are a sociopath whereas some apprehended Dawson for the questionable video that portrayed sociopaths as ‘disgusting’ and scary. But what exactly does it mean to be a sociopath? And why is there such a stigma surrounding this mental disorder?

Sociopathy is a mental disorder characterized by a disregard for other people also known as ASPD (Antisocial Personality Disorder). Some symptoms that go along with ASPD includes being manipulative, aggression, impulsivity, lack of restraint as well as antisocial behavior. Those with ASPD will often make impulsive decisions without feeling any guilt for the things they committed.  Psychopathy is a personality disorder characterized by impaired empathy and remorse, egotistical traits, and antisocial behavior. Due to the similar traits both sociopaths and psychopaths share, one may be underneath the impression that a sociopath is equivalent to being a psychopath. And, through many popular movies in the film industry, psychopaths are often portrayed as serial murderers, therefore, giving many the impression that many sociopaths are dangerous criminals. Although psychopathy can be interpreted as a more severe form of sociopathy, not all sociopaths are psychopaths. Psychopathy can be thought of as a more severe form of sociopathy with more symptoms. Therefore, all psychopaths are sociopaths but sociopaths are not necessarily psychopaths.

So did Shane Dawson’s new series on sociopaths gave viewers the wrong impression about this mental disorder? When asked about the way Dawson’s new series portrayed sociopaths, Autumn Brown (10) said, “They portrayed sociopaths as these creepy people. And the whole ‘I could know two sociopaths,’ thing reminded me of the Cold War and 1984 thing of, ‘your enemy could be right there!’” In addition to this, Dawson publicly apologized for the over the top scary editing which made it seem like sociopathy is merely just a fragment of a horror movie. The psychologist introduced in the series also faced much backlash about how she called sociopaths ‘disgusting’ as she described sociopathy. In contrary to how the series portrayed sociopaths, many sociopaths are not dangerous people. Despite their mental disorder, they are able to live ordinary lives through treatment such as therapy.

According to Nursing Times, the stigma around mental disorders can cause those who have such disorders to face social discrimination in their community. This can include physical and verbal abuse, vandalized property, etc. So despite the wrong impression of sociopathy the series produced, it’s important to realize the full picture of this mental disorder. Those who are diagnosed with sociopathy are not dangerous people, and for us to realize this help fight against the different forms of discrimination those with mental disorders go against every day.


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About the Writer
Sally Park, Staff Writer

My name is Sally Park and this is my second year as a staff writer for the Oakton Outlook. Writing has always been an outlet for me, so I’m ecstatic to have a platform to express my thoughts and viewpoints through opinionated articles.

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What it means to be a sociopath