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Oct 23, 2015

Psychopaths can be trained and managed but not cured.

Dennis Rader (BTK)

Dennis Rader (BTK)

Posted Aug 11, 2014  psychologytoday

Contrary to popular belief, psychopaths are not considered to be mentally ill. The fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders(DSM-5), released by the AmericanPsychiatric Association (APA) in 2013, lists psychopathy under the heading ofAntisocial Personality Disorders (ASPD).

Key traits of the psychopath include:

  • A disregard for laws and social mores
  • A disregard for the rights of others
  • A failure to feel remorse or guilt
  • A tendency to display violent behavior

Psychopathy is a personality disorder that is exhibited by people who employ a combination of charm, manipulation, intimidation, and sometimes violence to control others, in order to satisfy their own selfish desires. It is estimated that approximately 1 percent of the adult male population in the U.S. are psychopaths (1).Men are more likely than women to be psychopaths.

Generally speaking, psychopaths are glib and charming and they use these attributes to manipulate others into trusting and believing in them. Because of their strong interpersonal skills, most psychopaths can present themselves quite favorably on a first impression and many function successfully in society. However, as explained by psychologist Dr. Paul Babiak and his colleagues, a number of the attitudes and behaviors common to psychopaths are distinctly predatory in nature and they tend to view others as either competitive predators or prey (2).

When psychopaths view others as prey, their lack of feeling and bonding to others allows them to have unusual clarity in observing the behavior of their intended victims. Moreover, they do not become encumbered by theanxieties and emotions that normal people experience in interpersonal encounters (3).

A detailed examination of psychopathy and its powerful link to serial homicide is presented in a separate article here: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/wicked-deeds/201401/how-tell-sociopath-psychopath

Can psychopathy be cured? According to mental health experts, the short answer to this question is no. Dr. Nigel Blackwood, a leading Forensic Psychiatrist at King’s College London, has stated that adult psychopaths can be treated or managed but not cured (4).

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