Psychopath: Understanding All About Psychopathic Personalities
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Psychopath: Understanding All About Psychopathic Personalities

Psychopathy is a serious personality disorder that affects 4% of men. This disorder is difficult to treat and requires social support in addition to therapeutic support. 

Psychopathy: what is it?

The term psychopathy has disappeared from the classifications of mental disorders, but it is still used to describe a complex personality disorder, now called antisocial personality disorder. 

It is not a disease but a pathological personality that expresses itself throughout existence. 

This psychological disorder can interact with and/or accentuate other disorders such as schizophrenia or bipolar depression. There are several degrees of the disease that can range from moderate psychopathy to acting out criminally and dangerously for others. 

Psychopathy affects 4% of men but only one in hundred women. 60% of incarcerated people are psychopaths. There would be a causal link between psychopathic personality and delinquency. 

What is a psychopath?

The diagnosis of psychopathy or antisocial personality disorder is based on antisocial behavior, not necessarily criminal. The existence of the psychopath is marked by precariousness and instability, on the professional, social, and sentimental levels. 

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Psychiatry (DSM) IV and 5 defines psychopathy as “a mode of disregard and transgression of the rights of others that occurs from the age of 15” associated with at least 3 of the following manifestations:

  • inability to conform to laws and social norms
  • tendency to deceive for profit or pleasure (indicated by repeated lies, use of pseudonyms, scams)
  • impulsiveness or inability to plan ahead
  • irritability or aggressiveness (indicated by repeated fights or aggression)
  • reckless disregard for one’s safety or that of others
  • persistent irresponsibility (indicated by inability to hold steady employment or meet financial obligations)
  • lack of remorse (indicated by being indifferent or justifying oneself after hurting, mistreating, or stealing from another)

Profile of the psychopath 

According to many authors, this syndrome characterizes people who are arrogant, very manipulative, insensitive, seductive, dominant, and fearless. Additionally, psychopaths are considered to be impulsive in several areas of their lives. They have no remorse or empathy. 

Themes of love, horror, and good and evil mean nothing to psychopaths except in a very superficial way. yearn to control others and their environment They are unable to form meaningful emotional bonds with others. 

They regard those around them as objects that they can manipulate as they please, maintaining relationships for a utilitarian purpose. 

Psychopathy is often associated with excessive consumption of alcohol, drugs, or medication. This abuse of substances is also the most frequently observed comorbidity. 

Psychopathy, can it be treated?

The prognosis for psychopathy is grim. Mortality is high, due to violence and the consumption of narcotics. 

Therapeutic management of psychopathy is possible. It must be done in conjunction with social care. However, the psychopath is never at the initiative of taking charge. 

Classical psychoanalysis is as a rule unsuitable. Cognitive-behavioral therapies and psychodynamic therapies, individually or in groups, are of interest. 

Medications are used to reduce symptoms temporarily but their results are rather disappointing: benzodiazepines, neuroleptics for their action on aggressive and impulsive behavior, antidepressants, antiepileptics, mood stabilizers, and lithium. 

Namely: beyond the age of 40, the symptoms of psychopathy subside.

Psychopathy, do we know the causes?

To explain psychopathic personality disorders, several hypotheses have been put forward: hormonal imbalance, frontal neurological disorders, a defect in emotional regulation, and childhood psychic trauma… It would seem that none of these factors is sufficient to explain to him only psychopathic personality disorder. 

Psychopathy would rather be due to biological disorders linked to heredity intertwined with psychological, educational, and social factors.

We know that during childhood and adolescence can be observed non-specific conduct disorders, likely evolve towards psychopathy, and therefore that it is interesting that there is early individual care for these children and teenagers. 

Image Credit: Photo by Rene Asmussen from pexels.com

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