I am 17 years old, and I have been called rather a sociopath from the perspective of other people. Since I was a child, I have been in and out of trouble (being kicked out of school for illegal drugs, fighting, etc.) but I always seem to talk myself out of serious trouble, never have even been to court for my illegal doings because of my way with words. I have always been very well at reading people better than they could read themselves, being able to get anyone to do anything I want just by my way with words (my teachers at school agree). I am also a pathological liar, in which I use this to my advantage to become more convincing. I don’t not feel guilt or remorse for anything I say or do (its not my problem if the other person gets offended), and I have always been that way. I do not believe in apologies because at that moment, what you are apologizing for is also what you wanted, you know? I am a light drug addict and have been since I was about 11. I do have a sort of anger issue but that’s not the problem here. I am very intelligent, but also change my interests very often because well I get too bored. Anyways, the question is, do I sound like I am a psychopath? And if so, do I need help?

A. Though I cannot say with certainty that you are a psychopath, you described yourself as someone who possess some of the characteristics consistent with psychopathy.

Yes, you should seek professional help. The problems you have described are unhealthy and can lead to major detrimental effects on your life. For instance, you have yet to be in serious, legal trouble but it might only be a matter of time before that changes. You might be able to “smooth talk” your teachers but don’t expect this to work with law enforcement. Jails are filled with people who foolishly thought they could outsmart the authorities.

Your drug use is also a major concern. It’s illegal and dangerous. Illicit drug use is particularly dangerous because street drugs can be laced with any number of poisons. You might think that it is an exaggeration but there is strong evidence that illicit drugs can cause permanent brain damage, even after just one use.

Drugs can also alter your brain chemistry. New research suggests that adolescent brains are not fully developed until the age of 25. The use of drugs and alcohol on the developing brain can have long-term, negative implications.

By ignoring your problems, you are taking a big risk with your life. It would also be a sign of irresponsibility.

If you know that a problem exists, get help for it. If you seek help now, genuinely try to change your behavior and learned the proper respect for others, you could positively alter the course of your life. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle