How to Recognize and Understand Psychopathy: Differences, Behaviors, and Love

2023-09-19 20:00:06

Psychopathy is a personality disorder, characterized by antisocial behavior, lack of remorse and empathy. How to recognize a psychopath? What’s the difference with a sociopath? How does a psychopath behave in love?


Psychopathy is a personality disorder. Personality is the stable part and enduring characteristics in a person’s psyche. It’s a modality of interacting with the world, understanding social relationships and perceiving one’s own emotionsone’s own cognitions: “So instead of adapting to different situations in daily life, the personality of a person suffering from personality disorders is rigid and in fact unsuitable“, explains Dr Aïda Cancel, psychiatrist and doctor of neuroscience. What is a psychopath? How How does a psychopath behave in love? What is the difference between a sociopath and a psychopath?

Definition: what is a psychopath?

The psychopathy is a personality disorder. Personality disorders have long been classified separately because they depend on the individual but also on social norms and it is difficult to assimilate them to a pathology. It is characterized by cognitive and motor impulsivity that’s to say “the fact to have difficulty thinking about one’s actions before acting, explains Dr. Cancel, often by a lack of empathy or compassion towards others as well as by difficulty respecting social norms. Since then “the person often has problems with the law because there is often a transgression of social rules which leads them to commit offenses or crimes” specifies Dr. Cancel.

What are the symptoms of a psychopath?

“The psychopath does not have the opportunity to think about the consequences before acting and to control his actions, expose le Dr Cancel. It really is impulsivity who dominates. There may also be manipulation since there is often a lack of ability to put oneself in the other’s place, to feel their difficulties or their pain. The psychopath is quite often someone who uses social relationships in his interest, to achieve his ends. We are talking about psychopathic personality disorders when these difficulties (impulsivity, lack of empathy, etc.) are permanently present and cause suffering for the person or those around them.

The psychopath behaves with women as he does with any other person around him.“, explains Dr. Cancel “with impulsivity and sometimes lack of empathy.” Very often this impulsiveness and this violence will be increased with addictive behaviors and the partner of the psychopathic person will be more exposed. Impulsivity in romantic/sexual relationships perhaps potentially dangerous: violence, STIs, etc.

What tests to recognize psychopathy?

The diagnosis of psychopathy is medical and is made by a psychiatrist or a general practitioner. “Diagnosing a personality disorder is a difficult diagnosis” explains Dr. Cancel. Psychopathy, also called “anti-social personality”, may only be diagnosed in late adolescence or early adulthood, although some symptoms may be present as early as early childhood. We can occasionally have behaviors that resemble those of a person with personality disorders and this can lead to a diagnostic error. “To talk about personality disorders, you really need a disorder that is stable over time, outside of any psychiatric episode.“continues the psychiatrist.

► Online tests are unreliable and the results must, in any case, be examined by a professional, in a context and life history and by eliminating other psychiatric causes, apart from the acute phases of psychiatric episodes and toxic intake.

What is the difference between a sociopath and a psychopath?

Currently, there is no big difference between “psychopath” and “sociopath”.

To talk to a psychopath, you must, as Dr. Cancel advises, “be aware of the difficulties and impulsivity he experiences while being vigilant about certain behaviors which can be manipulation since the psychopath will often have a utilitarian vision of social relations“. Thus, she continues: you have to know how to set limits and not accept or tolerate it crossing the boundaries of the law or rules. When there is violence, even occasional, you have to know how to protect yourself, distance yourself and file a complaint if necessary”

What are the causes of psychopathy?

We do not know the exact causes of psychopathy., recognizes Dr. Cancel. On the other hand, “the childhoods of psychopathic people are often chaotic, exposed to violence or an education where there are no limits and where we do not learn to tolerate frustration“. Thus, often, psychopaths have experienced a violent childhood (physical, verbal, precarious, etc.) or have had absent or particularly lax parents.

What are the treatments for psychopathy?

The basis of the treatment is the psychotherapy, explains Dr. Cancel. The goal is to find tools that allow delay impulsivityto better understand others or to grasp the consequences of one’s actions“Very often, disorders related to psychopathy diminish as we age.”From the age of 40, things start to settle downspecifies Dr Cancel. “There is generally less impulsiveness, less violence.” There may be drug treatments because psychopathy is a risk factor for psychiatric illnesses, notably depression or addictive behaviors. “The treatment will be that of these comorbidities” explains Dr. Cancel. In the most severe or disabling cases we can also offer treatments to reduce impulsivity: antidepressants, anti-impulsive antipsychotics

Are serial killers psychopaths?

I don’t see any violent and very impulsive psychopaths who would have succeeded in life,” explains Dr. Cancel, “it’s still disabling.Famous Serial Killers Aren’t Really Psychopaths to the extent that, while they lack empathy, they are not impulsive.

Thanks to Dr Aïda Cancel, psychiatrist and doctor of neuroscience.

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