Stop Using “Psychopath” as an Insult


Image by John Hain from Pixabay

Not every person with Antisocial Personality Disorder disobeys the law and that should be fully understood.

Psychopathy and sociopathy, otherwise known by the professional term of antisocial personality disorder (ASPD), is often used as an insult when one does an act of poor judgment or something harmful to themself and/or others. However, calling someone a “psycho” is quite rude and some may not even understand what the informal term refers to in the mental health world.

According to the National Library of Medicine, Antisocial Personality Disorder is a personality disorder that can include deception, the inability to hold a stable occupation, and the manipulation of others for personal gain. Other symptoms may include disregard for the law, as well as potentially being unable to hold sustained and steady relationships with others. WebMD further elaborates that one may not feel remorse when their actions harm another and a disregard for their own and others’ safety. WebMD also explained that although both psychopathy and sociopathy are ASPD, psychopaths are more calculating, charming, and imitate emotions and empathy. Sociopaths, however, are more impulsive and easy to irritate, but they are more able to form bonds with others.

Many people think of psychopaths and sociopaths as only criminals and not “properly functioning” human beings. This stereotype for one, is not indefinitely true, but it is also very harmful to those dealing with the disorder. According to Science Daily, many dealing with ASPD are actually very successful people with their qualities. As reported by, many with ASPD are efficient and highly skilled CEOs, lawyers, salespeople, and more.  Although it is a fact that there is a higher chance of someone dealing with ASPD to commit crimes due to their ways of thinking, it does not mean everyone will do so. This stereotype should be wiped away, and we should view anyone who has this illness simply as people.

Those dealing with ASPD can be a danger to themselves and/or others with potential recklessness, impulsivity, and/or disregard of the law, but this does not mean they are always such or cannot improve. They simply need the proper support, skills/coping mechanisms, to overcome their more destructive behaviors and ensure they are a secure person for their own well-being and the rest of society.

Once again, calling someone a psychopath is disrespectful and one should fully comprehend what “psychopathy” or ASPD truly is and how it affects one’s thinking and behaviours. Additionally, those dealing with ASPD are simply complex people with different ways of thinking and that they are able to function perfectly normally and exceptionally in society— sometimes they may need support in doing so.