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Can A Sociopath Be Bipolar

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An Interview with a Sociopath (Antisocial Personality Disorder and Bipolar)

It took approximately one year for the divorce to be final, during which time all hell broke loose. Jason returned to Atlanta from his parents house in Pennsylvania and continued to stalk me, breaking into my apartment, stripping my car, and hurting me however and whenever he could. To make matters worse, the court awarded visitation to him.

We continued to try to make the best of the situation for the next nine years, following the rules and trying to help Katy relate to her biological father, who thought of her as his property rather than his cherished progeny.

However, finally, he lost parental rights when Katy turned eleven and the court finally witnessed his verbal and physical abuse firsthand. My second husband, Kris, Katys daddy since she was three-and-a-half, adopted her.

Since that time, I can look back and say that I was able to stop the cycle of violence in my family. I have never experienced any verbal or physical abuse in my second marriage, and my daughter is a healthy and happy college student on the Deans List.

I continue to counsel battered women, write articles and speak out against domestic violence.

Anyone that knows me now would never imagine that I would tolerate any disrespect, much less verbal abuse, cruelty, and violence. I grew up in an upper-middle-class family, well-respected and well-educated.

They Have A Huge Discard Pile

Narcissistic sociopaths are known to discard people and things that are no longer useful to them. Over time, their discard pile stacks up and may include former friends, lovers, colleagues, and mentors who they betrayed, abandoned, or abused. Their discard pile may also include expensive material things they got bored or tired of, as well as roles or activities that served a purpose at one time, but are no longer useful to them.4

Relationship Between The Illnesses

ASPD and bipolar disorder each have a prevalence of approximately 3%, so if they were independent, noninteracting conditions, one would expect the combination to be quite rare . The prevalence of combined disorders appears much higher than that. Potential explanations are listed in the sections below.

The disorders are mechanistically or genetically related

  • For: early age of onset, overlapping early clinical manifestations, evidence for familial associations including coexistence of antisocial and mood disorder characteristics in family and twin studies, similar clinical problems including substance-use disorders and suicidality approximately 10% of individuals with bipolar disorder have ASPD, which is approximately three-times the expected rate.
  • Against: relationships between impulsivity and transmitter function, and reported transmitter abnormalities, differ between ASPD and bipolar disorder similar clinical symptoms could be produced by different mechanisms.

Similar characteristics in the two disorders have different mechanisms

  • For: evidence that impulsivity in bipolar disorder is related to increased catecholaminergic function, while in ASPD it is related to reduced serotonergic function family study data suggest that CD and bipolar disorder are separate disorders .
  • Against: substantial proportions of individuals with ASPD or bipolar disorder appear to have both disorders.

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They Have No Moral Boundaries

There are no lines a narcissistic sociopath wont cross to get what they want. Their moral compass is non-existent, leaving them without the sense of right and wrong that most people have. After doing something harmful, illegal, or sadistic, they wont feel remorse, regret, or guilt. In fact, they may even feel a sense of satisfaction knowing they were able to deceive, emotionally manipulate, or hurt someone.1,3,4

When & How A Therapist Can Help

You may feel broken but you CAN heal.

Therapy can help you overcome a range of issues, including helping you recover from narcissistic abuse, but it cannot change the narcissistic sociopath in your life. People with this combination of personality disorders are usually unable to empathize and arent motivated by the same drives as others. Instead, theyre driven by self-interest, power, impulses, and in some cases, a sick need to hurt or control.1,3,4

If you want therapy to heal from abuse from a narcissistic sociopath, seek out a therapist who is knowledgeable about NPD, APD, and narcissistic abuse. Finding a therapist who is trauma-informed is also recommended. They can help you overcome common impacts of narcissistic abuse including shame, guilt, self-doubt, and codependence. Begin your search on a free online therapist directory.

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Impulsivity & The Course Of Aspd

Onset of illness

Current diagnostic criteria for ASPD require early onset . Some individuals have CD that does not persist into adulthood, while others have antisocial behavior with adult onset, potentially secondary to substance abuse . Severe anti-social behavior is generally related to childhood onset of impulsivity on average, psychopathy in adolescence persists into adulthood .

Anxiety and sociopathy would appear to be mutually exclusive but are shared characteristics in ASPD associated with impulsive aggression . The combination of ASPD, anxiety, mood disorders and alcohol dependence may be familial .

Relationship with comorbid substance-use disorders

As noted above, two studies showed increased reward-delay impulsivity in addictive disorders if ASPD was present, but the lack of ASPD-only groups precluded studying of the effect of addictive disorder on ASPD . Aggressive responding on a human laboratory test and reward-delay impulsivity were not related to cocaine use when presence of ASPD was factored out, although elevated BIS-11 scores persisted. Therefore, comorbid ASPD is an important source of impulsivity in addictive disorders.

Suicidal behavior in ASPD

Ask Dr Leedom: What Is The Difference Between Bipolar Disorder And Sociopathy

A Lovefraud reader sent the following question:

I have friend who is diagnosed as manic depressive. He displays or exhibits some of the traits of a sociopath, but I read that being manic depressives clouds whether someone is a sociopath. I dont want to believe he is a sociopath, but I also do not want to be a fool. Suggestions or thoughts? I have one person telling me hes a sociopath and I need to run away from him as fast as possible. That seems like the cowardly thing to do though. If we approached all people with problems that way, where would our society be?

People with bipolar disorder have sociopathic traits only while manic

Thank you for writing in with this important question. Many people with bipolar disorder develop exaggerated sociopathic traits while in the manic state. I first learned of this as a psychiatry resident. I had an outpatient I had followed for several months. He was a high functioning kind, compassionate, person. However, he stopped his medication and was admitted in a manic state. I did not know of his admission until the weekend, while on call, I was called up to an emergency on the inpatient unit. The emergency was the patient I thought I knew so well. He was agitated, aggressive and behaved in a very manipulative way. He was also disconnected from the treatment bond he had formed with me. He was clearly NOT the same man I had seen the previous month in my office!

Sociopaths often have manic moods

  • Increased energy
  • Poor impulse control
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    They Have A Limited Range Of Emotions

    Malignant narcissists dont experience feelings of love and affection, or more vulnerable emotions like guilt, shame, or sadness. The only strong emotion they seem to be able to access is anger, which will show up as outrage when theyre slighted, offended, or not granted something they feel they deserve.4

    Their stunted emotional range also keeps them from being able to have empathy for other people, and may also lead them to destructive behaviors that allow them to feel something.1,3

    Could It Be A Different Condition

    Narcissism? Borderline Personality Disorder? This May Imitate Both…

    Other mental health conditions can involve symptoms similar to ASPD:

    • Intermittent explosive disorder involves extreme and repeated verbal or physical outbursts. These outbursts, driven by impulse or anger, can be directed toward people, property, or animals. IED commonly begins in adolescence and usually before the age of 40. On its own, it doesnt involve low empathy or lack of remorse.
    • Conduct disorder involves antisocial behavior that typically begins by the age of 16. Experts consider this condition a major risk factor for ASPD. Adults must show signs of conduct disorder in childhood to be diagnosed with ASPD. Someone who doesnt meet full ASPD criteria might be diagnosed with conduct disorder.
    • Schizophrenia often involves trouble recognizing facial emotions, a trait also associated with ASPD. The condition may involve aggressive or antisocial behavior but not always. It also involves psychosis, while ASPD does not. Experts wont diagnose ASPD before treating schizophrenia.
    • Bipolar I disorder. Episodes of mania can involve impulsivity, aggression and irritability, and increased thoughts of suicide symptoms also linked to ASPD. Experts wont diagnose ASPD during an episode of mania.

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    Why Bpd Gets Confused With Other Mental Illnesses

    All types of mental illness can be difficult to diagnose, particularly because theres no medical or blood test available to screen for disorders. Although brain imaging is being used to help us better understand psychiatric disorders, they are not currently being utilized for diagnostic purposes, says Colleen Cullen, PsyD, a psychologist at ColumbiaDoctors and the clinical director of the faculty practice organization at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City.

    Another factor is that many of the same symptoms can overlap in several disorders. For example, people who have depression or an anxiety disorder can have problems concentrating.

    Just as a fever, for instance, can be a symptom of many diagnoses, lack of interest can be one symptom of several psychiatric disorders. The key is to understand the context in which the symptom occurs and identify the other symptoms as well, experts say.

    Symptoms can also vary between individuals. For example, to be diagnosed with BPD, someone must have five out of nine total symptoms listed in the DSM-5, the standard classification and tool clinicians use to diagnose mental illness. Depending on how many symptoms, which symptoms, and the severity and duration of symptoms that an individual person has, the diagnosis can look very different across unique individuals, Dr. Cullen says.

    The Relationship Between Sociopathy/psychopathy And Bipolar Disorder

    The subject of the overlap between bipolar disorder and sociopathy is important to me personally and professionally. One of the reasons I did not understand my husband was that I saw him as a bit on the manic side. In some of the letters he sent me from prison, he declared himself to be bipolar rather than psychopathic/sociopathic. My experience is not unique, in our survey of Women Who Love Psychopaths, Sandra L. Brown, M.A. and I asked about manic symptoms in male partners. Over half of the women attested to the presence of these symptoms in their men.

    I first wrote about the connection between bipolar disorder and sociopathy in March, 2007. For more background please read ASK Dr. LEEDOM: What is the difference between bipolar disorder and sociopathy?

    The above results suggest that the manic mood problems that are associated with bipolar disorder interfere with personality development. The earlier the manic mood problems start, the more personality is affected. I have had the privilege of teaching child adolescent and adult development many times now. It is well established that our personalities do not stop developing at 18 that is why mood problems at any age can affect personality.

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    Sociopaths: The Most Dangerous Criminal Type

    Entertainment media and true crime spotlights have painted a grim picture of antisocial personality disorder.

    Fictional antagonists and most-wanted criminals are readily labeled sociopaths. This misconception has contributed to a sense of stigma and stereotype about what it means to live with an antisocial personality.

    According to Dr. David Tzall, a psychologist from Brooklyn, New York, ASPD exists on a spectrum and not everyone should be labeled dangerous.

    It is best to think of personality disorders on spectrums rather than binary, he says. We all have ASPD traits, but some of us have them more than others.

    • withholding affection
    • lack of guidance or support

    Sociopathy may also have genetic and hereditary contributing factors. However, the combination of inherent and environmental factors the development of the condition.

    Bipolar Disorder & Criminal Behavior


    Bipolar disorder is characterized by an increased risk for arrest and incarceration , with higher prevalence among incarcerated individuals than in the community . Characteristics of bipolar disorder associated with criminal conviction are summarized in Table 3. Psychiatric diagnoses could directly cause increased criminal behavior, or could predispose to it indirectly as a result of comorbid conditions or environmental factors . Over 55% of adolescents with bipolar disorder had juvenile antisocial behavior before their diagnosis . A 13-year prospective study found increased arrests in a nonclinical sample of adolescents with high hypomania scores .

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    How Is Someone Diagnosed With Sociopathy

    Again, keep in mind that the DSM-5 makes no distinction between sociopathy and psychopathy, or any separate subtypes of ASPD.

    Mental health professionals use DSM-established criteria to diagnose ASPD. This diagnosis can apply to someone whose behavior aligns with the accepted definition of either sociopathy or psychopathy.

    A diagnosis of ASPD requires at least three of the seven signs listed above, plus a few additional criteria:

    • These behaviors appear across multiple areas of life.
    • The person is at least 18 years old.
    • They had some symptoms of conduct disorder before the age of 15. This helps distinguish ASPD from lawbreaking behavior that begins in adulthood.
    • Antisocial traits and behaviors dont relate to schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.

    To make a diagnosis, a therapist or psychologist might:

    • ask questions about a persons feelings, thoughts, behavior, and personal relationships
    • ask family members and romantic partners about their behaviors
    • evaluate their medical history for signs of other conditions

    Keep in mind that personality disorders, including APSD, involve traits that are beyond the persons control. These characteristics go beyond a desire for personal gain and tend to remain fixed over time, causing distress.

    I Was Married To A Bipolar Sociopath Who Tried To Kill Me How I Finally Escaped

    By Lora Lucinda Written on May 18, 2022

    I was standing outside the back of the office building where I worked in Buckhead, Atlanta. I was waiting for him to pick me up from work. He had my car it was our only car left after the other one had been repossessed. I had lost everything, including but not limited to my self-esteem. That had gone long ago.

    Yes, it was the day I would end a seven-year relationship filled with lies, betrayal, deceit, and verbal and physical violence. It was also the day I ended the long cycle of domestic abuse in my family.

    As I stood just outside the back of the building, the short ledge from many stories above protected me from the pouring rain. The sun was shining giving me hope for a bright future and I remember wanting to cry but I had to maintain an even keel and a pleasant disposition to be able to facilitate the plan to get away. Otherwise, my life and my daughters life was at risk.

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    The rain somehow comforted me. It was like God had empathy for me He knew what I needed to do and gave me the strength to finally say enough is enough.

    The last two nights were hell. After asking for a divorce and blindly assuming it could be agreeable and amicable, Jason kept me from sleep, threatening that if I closed my eyes, he would kill me and my daughter.

    The days just before a full moon were the worst. I thought to myself, No wonder they call a crazy person a lunatic.

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    Characteristics Of A Narcissistic Sociopath

    A narcissistic sociopath is a person who displays both narcissistic and antisocial personality traits. NPD is characterized as a grandiose sense of self-importance, attitude of entitlement or arrogance, and an excessive need for external validation. The symptoms of ASD include impulsivity, aggression, and a total disregard for rules, laws, and social norms.5

    A narcissistic sociopath has both disorders and is considered one of the most dangerous and psychologically disturbed kinds of people.1,2,3 Their complete lack of empathy or regard for the feelings or needs of other people makes them much more likely to act out behaviors that most people would consider wrong, bad, or even evil.4

    Unlike classic narcissists, sociopathic narcissists are not only driven by their own self-interest. Some experts believe that narcissistic sociopaths are sadistic, and derive pleasure or satisfaction from the suffering of other people.1,2 This makes them less predictable and also more dangerous than classic narcissists, as they may deceive, exploit, or harm someone even when there is nothing for them to gain from doing so.

    How To Deal With A Narcissistic Sociopath

    My Friend with Borderline Personality Disorder

    While no person is beyond hope, a person with narcissistic and antisocial personality disorder is unlikely to change. Narcissistic sociopaths can be dangerous, abusive, or violent, and should be avoided if possible. Theyre most likely to become dangerous when you upset them, offend them, or fail to meet an expectation they have, but they can also be unpredictable and impulsive.1

    The question Are narcissists dangerous? can be a legitimate concern, so appropriate caution should be considered. Some narcissistic sociopaths are even sadistic and enjoy inflicting pain, which displays a level of brokenness that even therapy may not be able to correct.1,3,4 For these reasons, most experts recommend that you not get into a relationship with someone who has these traits, and to leave a relationship if you see these signs. If thats not an option, start by learning how to deal with a narcissist, protect yourself, and behave in ways that are less likely to make you their target.

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