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Psychological Disorders 2023

Psychopathy: what é and how to spot a psychopath

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Psychopathy: what é and how to spot a psychopath
Psychopathy: what é and how to spot a psychopath

Psychopathy is a personality disorder characterized by changes in behavior such as lack of empathy, affection and/or remorse and inadequate management of anger, for example. The psychopathic person tends to be very manipulative and centralizing, thus presenting extremely narcissistic behaviors and not taking responsibility for any of their attitudes.

This disorder can happen due to brain changes, genetic factors and childhood trauma, such as sexual or emotional abuse. The diagnosis of psychopathy is made by a psychiatrist based on the Hare Psychopathy Assessment Test or PCL-R, in which the person's behavioral characteristics are evaluated.

The treatment of psychopathy can be done through medications indicated by the psychiatrist, such as lithium and therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral, in addition to the support of groups such as family, friends and the community.


Key features

Psychopaths are incapable of forming any emotional bond, often having superficial and short-lived relationships. In addition, they are manipulative and lie naturally, and can even fake emotions even if they can't feel them. Thus, the main characteristics that help to identify a psychopath are:

1. Lack of empathy

The psychopath knows how to understand the emotional state and know the perspective of another person in a given situation, which is an advantage, as it helps him to identify emotionally vulnerable people. However, they are unable to experience what the other person is feeling.

2. Impulsive behavior

Psychopaths tend to take impulsive actions without regard for other people and without thinking about the pros and cons of certain actions and, therefore, they can commit illegal acts that provide immediate reward.

3. Lack of anger management

At times, a person with psychopathic characteristics may have sudden and intense fits of anger when they are being criticized or when something does not go as planned.

The lack of anger management can cause the psychopath to exhibit intimidating behavior and control over other people.

4. Egocentrism

People with a trait of psychopathy tend to think that they should be the center of attention, as they consider themselves superior, and this behavior can be described as narcissism. In addition, they have an unrealistic perception that other people adhere to them and can even reduce other people's effort and success.

5. Lack of remorse

The repetition of actions that threaten other people, despite showing that they are sorry, is one of the characteristics that can be found in a person with a tendency to psychopathy.

In addition to these characteristics, psychopathy has other characteristics such as a lifestyle dependent on other people, manipulation, short-term social relationships and repeated illegal acts, however this is not a rule for all psychopaths.

How the treatment is done

The treatment of psychopathy is done by a psychiatrist, who may prescribe medication, such as lithium, with the aim of reducing aggressive behavior. In addition, psychotherapy sessions, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, are indicated.

There are other therapies, such as family and interpersonal therapies, that help people with psychopathic characteristics to improve their social relationships. The difficulty in treating psychopaths lies in the fact that people themselves do not identify with the characteristics, often judging that their behavior is normal and not admitting that they have psychopathic traits, which makes them not seek psychiatric help.

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