The current rate for anorexic-type eating disorders in the UK is estimated at approximately 3.43%.
According to some charities, this number is viewed as being near epidemic proportions, but this figure is only marginally lower than the rate for a condition known as ‘Antisocial Personality’ Disorder.
More recognisable conditions, such as schizophrenia for example, occur in only about 1% of the population, almost a quarter of the rate of those who have an antisocial personality.
Put into perspective, the rates of certain cancers, considered “alarmingly high” by Doctors, is still one hundred times lower than those estimated to have an ‘Antisocial’ Personality.
So why should this be a cause of concern?
Because these worryingly high incidences of Sociopathy in human society, has had a profound effect on the rest of those who have had to share this planet with them.
This 4%, have drained our lives, our relationships, our bank accounts, our best accomplishments, our self-esteem and even threaten our very existence on earth.
Yet surprisingly, many people know next to nothing about this disorder, or if they do, they think of it only in terms of the Hollywood vision of violent Psychopathy; murderers, serial killers, spree killers and so on….
Most people are not therefore aware of, nor can they easily identify, the large number of non-violent sociopaths who walk among them, as they are not often obvious lawbreakers, and against whom our legal system provides little or no defence.
Most people could not imagine any similarity between planning and executing an act of genocide, and lying to one’s boss about taking a sick day for example.
In simple terms, those two acts, separate as they would appear to normal people, are on an equal level when seen through the eyes of a sociopath.
Inasmuch as they feel nothing in either case.
The total absence of the inner mechanism that pulls normal people back, emotionally speaking, when they make a choice they view as immoral, illegal, unethical, neglectful, selfish or in some extreme cases, completely inhuman.
The vast majority of people feel mildly guilty if they drank the last of the milk in the house, so imagine what they would feel if they intentionally and methodically planned to hurt or even kill another human being.
What distinguishes these people from the rest of humananity is an empty hole in the psyche, where the very thing that makes one human, resides.
Those who have no empathy or no measurable conscience, are among this group, whether they be homicidal tyrants, career politicians, heads of large corporations or banks or merely trolls or stalkers on social networks.
This absence of empathy and conscience is what sets them apart from the rest of humankind, and is arguably more significant than intelligence, social status, race, or even gender.
What differentiates a sociopath who feeds off the misery he/she creates among others, from one who occasionally shoplifts, or from one who is a modern day Jack the Ripper?
Or what makes the difference between an ordinary online bully and a cold blooded murderer?
Usually nothing more than social status, drive, intellect, curiosity, or more worryingly, an opportunity.