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Psychopathy: what is it, symptoms, characteristics and treatment

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Psychopathy is a personality disorder characterized by changes in behavior such as lack of empathy, affection and remorse; inadequate anger management, for example. The psychopath person tends to be quite manipulative and individualistic, thus presenting extremely narcissistic behaviors and not taking responsibility for anyone else’s actions.

This disorder can occur due to brain alterations, genetic factors and childhood trauma, such as sexual or emotional abuse. The diagnosis of psychopathy is carried out by a psychiatrist, who can use the Hare Psychopathology Assessment Test or the PCL-R, in which the characteristics of the person’s behavior are evaluated.

The treatment of psychopathy can be carried out with drugs prescribed by the psychiatrist, such as lithium; psychological therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy; in addition to the support of groups such as the family, friends and community.



main features

Psychopaths are not able to form an emotional bond, often having superficial and short-lived relationships. In addition, they are manipulative and understand in a natural way, being able to even pretend emotions without being able to feel them. Therefore, 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 that helps to identify emotionally vulnerable people, although they are unable to experience what the other person is feeling.

2. Impulsive behavior

Psychopaths tend to take impulsive actions without considering other people and not think about them for the cons of certain actions, as they can commit illegal acts that provide them with an immediate reward.

3. Lack of anger control

On occasions, people with psychopathic characteristics may have sudden and intense outbursts of anger when they feel criticized or something in the sale as planned.



The lack of control over anger can lead to the psychopath having behaviors of intimidation and control over other people, so they can be subjected to and even attacked.

4. Egocentrism

People with traits of psychopaths are used to believing that they should be the center of attention, since they consider themselves superior, and this behavior could be described as narcissism. They have an unrealistic perception that others admire and even manage to minimize the efforts and successes of other people.

5. Lack of Remorse

The repetition of actions that attempt against other people, despite expressing regret or remorse, is one of the characteristics that can be found in someone who has a tendency towards psychopathy.

In addition to these characteristics, psychopathy has other characteristics such as a lifestyle dependent on other people, it shows itself as a charming person, is manipulative, has short-term social relationships and can even commit illegal acts repeatedly, however, this is not a rule in all psychopaths.

How is the treatment performed?

The treatment of psychopathy is carried out by a psychiatrist, who can prescribe drugs such as lithium, to reduce aggressive behavior. In addition, to recommend psychotherapy sessions with techniques such as cognitive-behavioral.

There are other therapies such as family and interpersonal, which help the person with psychopathic characteristics to improve their social relationships. The difficulty in treating psychopaths is that they do not identify with the characteristics, many times they judge that their behavior is normal and they do not admit the existence of psychopath characteristics, so they do not seek psychiatric help.

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Disclaimer – (English version>) This content has been prepared based on information from research, additional publications, or the translation/verification work of a volunteer editor of this web council. This is a non-profit service. It is strongly recommended that all details and information published be carefully verified. We never allow medication recommendations, medication package inserts or any medication guidance. We never allow partisan politics as information.

Isenção de responsabilidade – (versão em português): Este conteúdo foi preparado com base em informações de pesquisas, publicações adicionais ou no trabalho de tradução/verificação de um editor voluntário deste conselho web. Este é um serviço sem fins lucrativos. É altamente recomendável que todos os detalhes e informações publicadas sejam verificadas cuidadosamente. Nunca permitimos recomendações de medicamentos, bulas ou qualquer orientação sobre medicamentos. Nunca permitimos a política partidária como base para checagem. Para mais informações, leia nossos termos.

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