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What main mental disorders present as non-empathetic?

What main mental disorders present...

What main mental disorders present as non-empathetic?

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Answered in 2 hours by:
2/27/2013
Alicia_MSW
Alicia_MSW, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 794
Experience: Specializing in mental health counseling
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Hello, I'm Alicia. Thanks for your question, I'm happy to help you today.
There are several mental health - or psychiatric - disorders that fit into the "non-empathetic" category, meaning that people with these diagnoses have an inability to show empathy or concern for others. Personality disorders like Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder and Anti-social Personality Disorder (see here for more information: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/stop-walking-eggshells/201201/lack-empathy-the-most-telling-narcissistic-trait) are the main disorders that would match this criteria. People with Bipolar Disorder (a mood, not personality disorder) also often demonstrate an inability to display empathy, especially during a manic phase. See here: http://www.bipolarcentral.com/documents/Bipolar-Disorder-Symptoms/Narcissism-vs-Bipolar-Disorder.php
Unfortunately, while possible, treatment for people with these disorders is sometimes difficult and not always successful.
You might also find this article interesting:
http://edition.cnn.com/2008/LIVING/personal/06/18/o.empathy/index.html
I hope that helps, please let me know if you have any further questions. Best wishes.
Alicia_MSW
Alicia_MSW, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 794
Experience: Specializing in mental health counseling
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

Thank you for your detailed answer. Can you clarify for me the difference in personality disorders versus psychopath label? Or are all personality disorders considered under the general umbrella heading of sociopath or psychopath due to the nature of the disease?

I recently (within the past year) realized i was having a relationship with what I researched as a sociopath or psychopath which from what I read is only a difference in semantics.

Of course In trying to understand the disease (he is no longer in my life... I realized there is no treatment for this except to escape) I feel I am lumping everyone who shows signs of non-empathy into that category.

That is the reason for my original question. In other words am I being too broad with my definition?

Thank you for your time! Kp

I'm certainly happy to assist you and provide additional information.
Personality disorders (such as the ones I described earlier) are a class of psychiatric disorders (as opposed to mood disorders, like depression or bipolar disorder, for example.) So, for example, a sociopath is someone who has been diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder. Thus, the term "sociopath" falls under the umbrella of "personality disorder," and not the other way around. A psychopath is essentially the same as a sociopath, but it's a bit more of a complex term because it includes many different symptoms that fall into a variety of categories. To make it a bit easier to understand, I'm attaching two links that I hope you will find useful:
http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/news/releases/psychopathy-a-misunderstood-personality-disorder.html
http://www.mentalhealth.com/dis/p20-pe04.html
I am very sorry to hear about your experience, but I am glad that you've managed to get yourself out of that dysfunctional relationship. Not everyone is so smart or perceptive, because, as I am sure you know, people with these disorders are manipulative and can appear very charming. May times, people then end up "stuck" in relationships that can become quite dangerous.
I can understand why you might have the tendency to be skeptical or wary of people you come across who seem like they are not capable of showing empathy, but that could simply be because of your experience, so your "radar" is on high alert and is just a bit oversensitive right now. That's nothing to worry about, and if you think it might be helpful and necessary, you might want to discuss it or your experience with a mental health professional in person.
And of course, keep in mind that a lack of empathy is only one symptom of a personality disorder.
I hope that helps. Please let me know if I can be of further assistance. Best wishes :)
Alicia_MSW
Alicia_MSW, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 794
Experience: Specializing in mental health counseling
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Alicia_MSW
Alicia_MSW
Alicia_MSW, Psychotherapist
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