Sadism, medically termed as Sadistic Personality Disorder, is a psychiatric diagnosis characterized by a behavioral disorder, featuring an enduring, pervasive maladaptive pattern of ruthless, humiliating, and violent behavior. Sadism has been clearly defined and categorized in the 3rd edition of DSM-III-R (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) published by the APA (American Psychiatric Association).
However, it is not described as valid PD in DSM-IV, the latest edition of the DSM. However, Sadism is researched extensively till date as a personality or behavioral disorder for the objective of research.
Sadism has been classified into the following four different subtypes by Theodore Millon:
- Spineless Sadist: Characteristic behavior marked by avoidant features.
- Tyrannical Sadist: Exhibit passive-aggressive or negativistic behavioral features.
- Explosive Sadist: Shows a personality with borderline features
- Enforcing Sadist: Displays a behavior marked by compulsive features.
A sadistic individual gains pleasure and sexual contentment by inflicting physical and mental pain and suffering on others. This behavioral pattern becomes apparent in late adolescence or early adulthood and is marked by the recurring incidence of four symptoms among those listed below:
- Compels others to follow instructions by terrorizing or intimidating them.
- Confines or curbs the independence of the people around them by assuming a dominant role.
- Use physical violence and brutality to establish authority or supremacy in any relation the share with their friends and family.
- Derives pleasure by humiliating or harming people in public.
- Gain pleasure by inflicting pain and suffering on other people as well as animals.
- Fascinated by torture, martial arts, weapons, violence, lies, and sexual excitements of all kinds.
Sadism, as different from sexual sadism or masochism, is neither directed only to one person, such as spouse or children, nor exhibited only for purpose of deriving sexual satisfaction. Sexual sadism has been defined by DSM-IV as a personality disorder that leads to clinically noteworthy impairment or distress in occupational, social, and in other critical aspects of functioning.
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