Analyzing the mind of a sociopath has been one of the most important tasks that psychoanalysts face today. The more they know and understand the complexities of the disturbed, the more they hope to find treatments and eventually a cure for the illness that they believe can cause the ultimate violent criminal.
Perhaps Dostoevsky himself wanted to weigh in on the mind of the sociopath and the journey toward their violent lives. Due to his vivid description of Raskolnikov, Dostoevsky shows his readers first hand what a sociopath is like. First one must understand that there is no such affliction as sociopath. The technical name is antisocial personality disorder and there are certain criteria a person must meet in order to receive this diagnosis. It is reserved for the most violent criminal minds and therefore is taken very seriously by the psychiatric community. In order to be diagnosed, one must have been previously diagnosed as having a conduct disorder by the age of fifteen. This is what many refer to as the child version of antisocial personality disorder. “Along with depression and anxiety, the individual also exhibits an increase in antisocial behavior, aggression, destruction of property, and deceitfulness or theft” (Strickland). They may also act out against smaller things that they can control, such as smaller siblings and/or animals.
Once a person with conduct disorder turns eighteen and is considered to be a legal adult, they are re-evaluated and then diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder. The Gale Encyclopedia of Psychology, 2nd Edition lists the criteria that psychologists use to base their diagnosis. They must meet three of the following.
1. fails to conform to social norms, as indicated by frequently performing illegal acts, and pursuing illegal occupations
2. is deceitful and manipulative of others often in order to obtain money, sex, or drugs
3. is impulsive, holding a succession of jobs or residences
4. is irritable or aggressive, engaging in physical fights
5. exhibits reckless disregard for safety of self or others, misusing motor vehicles or playing with fire
6. is constantly irresponsible, failing to find or sustain work or to pay bills and debts
7. demonstrates lack of remorse for the harm his or her behavior causes others
With this disorder comes an inflated sense of self worth and superficial charm. The Encyclopedia of Crime and Punishment Volume III goes on to list the profile of a mass murderer. Many known sociopaths have gone onto to be mass murderers. Timothy McVeigh is an example of this.
There are three underlying causes that can lead to the actions of the antisocial personality.
1. predisposers- long-term and stable preconditions that become incorporated into the personality of the murderer. There is often frustration and an externalization of blame “it’s not my fault.” This can be caused by child abuse, illnesses, accidents, poverty, and/or isolation.