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Mental Illness Not Usually Linked to Crime; Sociopaths are Not Mentally Ill

Mental Illness Not Usually Linked to Crime; Sociopaths are Not Mentally Ill

There is a very clear distinction between those who suffer from mental illness such as bipolar disorders, major depression, or schizophrenia disorders and those who have an antisocial personality disorders called psychopaths or sociopaths (used interchangeably).  Yet they’re often unfairly and incorrectly lumped into the same category.

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According to the American Psychological Association, a new study confirms what many of us have known, in crimes committed by people with serious mental disorders only 7.5 percent were directly related to symptoms of mental illness.  Broken down even further:

Researchers analyzed 429 crimes committed by 143 offenders with three major types of mental illness and found that 3 percent of their crimes were directly related to symptoms of major depression, 4 percent to symptoms of schizophrenia disorders and 10 percent to symptoms of bipolar disorder.

“When we hear about crimes committed by people with mental illness, they tend to be big headline-making crimes so they get stuck in people’s heads,” said lead researcher Jillian Peterson, PhD. “The vast majority of people with mental illness are not violent, not criminal and not dangerous.”

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The same cannot be said for sociopaths.  It’s important to be able to identify someone with an antisocial personality disorder and if you choose to remove from your life.  It is challenging because we are capable of sympathy and empathy and we tend to mistakenly use the emotions that govern our actions to judge a sociopath’s ability or desire to change when there is none. Masters at manipulation, sociopaths play on emotions in order to repeat the same often unethical and or illegal behavior.

DSM-IV Definition 

Antisocial personality disorder is characterized by a lack of regard for the moral or legal standards in the local culture. There is a marked inability to get along with others or abide by societal rules.

1. Since the age of fifteen there has been a disregard for and violation of the right’s of others, those right’s considered normal by the local culture, as indicated by at least three of the following:
A. Repeated acts that could lead to arrest.
B. Conning for pleasure or profit, repeated lying, or the use of aliases.
C. Failure to plan ahead or being impulsive.
D. Repeated assaults on others.
E. Reckless when it comes to their or others safety.
F. Poor work behavior or failure to honor financial obligations.
G. Rationalizing the pain they inflict on others.

2. At least eighteen years in age.

3. Evidence of a Conduct Disorder, with its onset before the age of fifteen.

4. Symptoms not due to another mental disorder.

There currently is no form of psychotherapy that works with those with antisocial personality disorder, as those with this disorder have no desire to change themselves, which is a prerequisite. No medication is available either. The only treatment is the prevention of the disorder in the early stages, when a child first begins to show the symptoms of conduct disorder.

So now we’ve identified who commits roughly 93% of all white collar fraud and capital crimes and it has nothing to do with mental illness but it also has nothing to do with rehabilitation either because there is no desire for change.  I recognize it’s not just that easy though.

We identified a pattern on this site which recognizes that big business and big government are personifying the characteristics of a sociopath where those in charge act like corrupt Kings and demand that employees act as loyal subjects and do as they’re told even if illegal (especially if illegal) or they risk being fired (or hearing off with their heads!)

Again one of the goals of this site is to provide tools that will also help prevent future crimes.  While employees often commit crimes as directed by their employers (Christie Aids, IRS Scandal, Medicare Fraud, GM)  the employees were  used as manipulative tools and thought of as accomplices who eventually became victims. I recognize it’s tough to feel sympathy for someone who was complicit with a crime but keep in mind most people do not recognize they’re being manipulated when it’s happening.

Is there a danger or concern calling those who do the high level manipulating which leads to federal criminal and civil charges sociopaths? It’s a dangerous word for dangerous people, yet we have no problem calling someone a convicted felon.  The problem is the DOJ does not always get the conviction, pleads the offender out and releases them back into society.

We have a grading system for stocks, which show the US Government’s Credit Rating fell from AAA to AA and only four companies have AAAA rating


Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ)

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT)

Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM).


As a society we’re often blinded by someone’s ability to produce millions or billions for shareholders and board members and overlook the dangers of the antisocial personality disorder that’s been encouraged, replicated and rewarded to the detriment of an ethical business or governmental model. Perhaps we need to start rating our executives and politicians.


If you have questions about mental health please see a qualified professional in the mental health industry.

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