Sociopathy, also called anti-social personality disorder, is treated in different ways although the effects of those therapies are not clear. Therefore, this mental disorder is hard to treat, but combined therapies give promising results. Person who suffers from anti-social personality disorder is not aware that he or she needs a treatment. The first impression about them is usually very positive, because of their manipulative nature. They have extremely high self-esteem and think that they are superior to any other person. These persons do not seek help unless someone forces them to.
Sociopaths can’t establish close relationship with others, which also limits the treatment because of the relation with the doctors. It may seem that they accepted a doctor and have built a relation with the therapist, but it can just be a manipulation, because usually they know what to say in order to prove they are getting better.
There is no only one treatment for these patients which is effective. The treatment depends on the person, general health, age, and other disorders a person might have. Sociopathy can be combined with other illnesses like alcohol abuse, depression or psychotic disorders. It is very common that these persons are aggressive and violent. They usually become criminals and even serial killers. Because it is extremely hard to treat them, some facilities don’t want to accept these patients, but there are clinics which work with them and are specialized in sociopathy.
Psychotherapies that are effective in the treatment are behavioral and cognitive therapies. More therapies should be used in order to get positive results. Behavioral therapy is trying to change the anti-social behaviors that were probably learnt in the early ages. The behavioral change includes learning new, more constructive ways of behavior. Behavioral therapy uses different types of learning such as classical conditioning and operant learning, and both are very effective. There is also training in social skills, where they learn how to properly respond to some frustrating situations. The change of dysfunctional beliefs is conducted by cognitive therapy. When wrong beliefs are changed the behavior is changing as well. Psychotherapy demands from the therapist to enter into sociopaths feelings and understand them. That way therapist will be able to help the patient.
Neuroleptics are used sometimes to calm violent and aggressive individuals and to help them with psychotherapy. If there are other psychological conditions present, other medications such as antidepressants, lithium or antiepileptics can also be used. Shock therapy is used also, and it showed good results in the treatment, while neurosurgery is only used in rare cases when there is malformation in the brain.
Prevention is the best treatment for sociopathy. If a child shows antisocial behavior, react immediately because it is easier to treat and change that behavior during childhood.