Psychiatrist Questions Mental Disorders

My son displays sociopathic behavior. Can anything be done to help him?

My 15 year old son has tendencies and behavior that seem to be sociopathic. He has a complete lack of empathy, and we aren't sure what to do. Can anything be done to help him and correct his behavior?

10 Answers

This is a tough question. I would take him to both a psychiatrist and a therapist with training in this area. At least he is a minor now and you have some control-- as his parent, over him. When he turns 18, you cannot do a thing. He will technically be an adult. The sooner he gets help the better.
Psychotherapy could help him but he may refuse to go.
Have a question aboutMental Disorders?Ask a doctor now
Yes. Take him to a good psychotherapist, usually a psychologist, who can make connections with these youngsters. Prior to my retirement I worked with many teen-agers like your son with good results.
You asked a very difficult question. My immediate thought concerns social relationships. You would be well advised to find out about his friends with whom he spends time to determine whether they are positive or negative influence. Empathy develops over the years; however, as a parent, you may have the appropriate intuition. I also would consult the school to determine if his behavior's the same at that "age-appropriate workplace."
A very structured special school might help his outward behavior. Some people without empathy still can be citizens and function in society. They will always be somewhat cold.
Apply appropriate consequences for his negative behaviors each and every time. Do not let him get away with anything, and by all means, do not encourage or perpetuate the negative behaviors.
This type of behavior you describe at his age is called a conduct disorder. Extensive and intensive psychological and psychiatric treatments are needed if there is to be some modification in his personality. Many adolescents with a conduct disorder grow to be antisocial, sociopathic adults. If he develops and antisocial personality, then there is no treatment that he can respond to. The moment to act is now. There are other possibilities that need to be examined. He might be depressed or have a serious mood disorder. As I don't have all the facts with me, this is as far as I can advise. 
He should have a psychiatric evaluation to assess for an underlying disorder
It is hard to assess your son from the info in your question. His behavior may be just transient teenager anger or rebellious acting out. More serious, he could have conduct disorder that, if not resolved, can become antisocial personality disorder when 18 y/o. Conduct disorder is characterized by a lack of empathy, cruelty towards animals, stealing, skipping school, running away from home, lying, physical fighting, drugs, abusing alcohol, and others. Medications have little effect. The preferred treatment is therapy. Intensive 1 on 1 counseling the sooner the better. Often, high-discipline settings are very beneficial similar to military camps.
He needs professional help; either a psychiatrist or a psychologist. If he is unwilling, even the best professional would be unlikely to help. As another option, group therapy might break through his defenses.