10 Myths About Psychopathy (DEBUNKED!)


Our society and media have portrayed some false and flamboyant images of psychopaths in everyone’s minds. The study of psychopathy is still in its transitional state as more and more data and research is being done on it every day. Some of the proper studies about behavioral changes in humans suffering from psychopathy suggest that many things that we know about psychopaths are completely not true. However, it is understandable that they have antisocial behavior while also being irresponsible and with a lack of remorse.

The generally known fact that people suffering from this mental disorder are not able to have proper relationships and the ability to love is somewhat true, but that doesn’t mean psychopaths completely lack empathy. Amidst all this confusion, there are a number of myths regarding psychopaths that keep on surfacing around us.

Make sure to read until number 10, because it’s one of the most astonishing myths about psychopathy we’ve ever seen!

Number 1: Psychopaths are insane.

Many people and even some doctors consider psychopaths insane. However, legally, psychopaths are not insane. Some people regard it as a personality type but the American Psychiatric Association considers psychopathy to be a personality disorder. Both camps do agree on one thing, and that is psychopaths’ ability to distinguish between right and wrong.

It is completely wrong to say that psychopaths hear voices or experience other hallucinations because their thoughts are not disordered and that is why they cannot be termed insane. To put it simply, they are not psychotic, which is usually a feature of mental illness.

Number 2: All prisoners are psychopaths.

A lot of crime drama movies portray most prisons as filled with psychopaths. However, this is not true as prisons are not full of psychopaths, but they are full of people with antisocial personality disorder. The majority of psychopathy professionals disagree with the American Psychiatric Society’s association of psychopathy with an antisocial personality disorder.

An antisocial personality disorder is a personality condition characterized by antisocial acts and behaviors. Almost 70 to 75% or even more of the inmates you meet in prison qualify for this diagnosis. A diagnosis of psychopathy is based on more than antisocial behaviors, which are used to identify someone with an antisocial personality disorder. Approximately 20 to 25% of prisoners are psychopaths, according to recent research by experts. So this myth that everyone in prison has this mental disorder is completely wrong.

Number 3: There is no treatment for psychopathy.

Patients with psychopathy frequently do not react well to most kinds of treatments. The research suggests that using punishment or the prospect of punishment as a deterrent or behavior change method on psychopath patients is mostly ineffective. Furthermore, some evidence suggests that group therapy, as opposed to no treatment, may increase the risk of psychopaths engaging in dangerous behaviors.

However, all of this does not mean that the condition is completely irreversible. Many amazing studies have been done on impairments in various brain systems in those who show indications of psychopathy. With the help of this, the world has seen tremendous therapeutic implications, especially in light of pioneering neuroscience study that has uncovered the brain’s adaptability.

Number 4: Murderers are psychopaths.

While it’s tempting to assume that shooters who commit mass killings are psychopaths, this is incorrect. The majority of mentally ill persons are not violent, but the media’s exaggerated portrayal of these extreme instances makes them appear like frequent incidents. Moreover, depressive homicidal individuals make up a small percentage of mass murders, and just a handful of them are psychopaths.

In today’s world, most mass murderers are usually created by more predictable factors of mass violence, such as the availability of guns, a sense of entitlement, radicalization, and so on. So, terming every mass murderer a psychopath is not right by any means.

Number 5: Psychopathy and psychosis are alike.

One of the biggest misconceptions that people have is that they mix up different mental disorders with psychopathy, just as it is widely believed that people with psychosis are the same as those having psychopathy. Most of the time people who have psychosis are out of touch with reality.

They usually have no idea what is right and what is wrong. On the other hand, psychopaths are usually always reasonable. They can even think their way through moral dilemmas. That logic, however, does not always transfer into their actions. Thus, people always tend to confuse both these different types of disorders with each other.

Number 6: Psychopaths are always violent.

People suffering from psychopathy are often termed as physically aggressive, although it is true in some cases, it is not always true. The violence in some of the psychopaths’ behavior is somewhat understandable when their reckless risk-taking is mixed with a lack of remorse, as well as an inability to create significant emotional ties with other people.

You probably may not want to hang out with someone who possesses these characteristics, and you certainly don’t want to be in a position where resources are limited. However, psychopaths’ mixture of features and actions leaves plenty of opportunity for nonviolent lifestyles, thus enabling them to live a life without violence.

Number 7: Psychopaths and sociopaths are the same.

Just like psychopathy is confused with psychosis, sociopaths are also widely confused with psychopaths. The anti-social personality trait of people is frequently used to describe psychopathy. Sociopathy refers to a vast, diversified group of people who engage in antisocial behavior, have difficulties in dealing with people, and thus show extremely odd behavior making it hard for themselves and the people around them. Even though sociopathy is no longer used in therapeutic practice, the general public still widely uses it to call psychopaths out.

Number 8: Childhood trauma plays a part in developing psychopathy.

While it is true that many clinics should exercise caution while disclosing the medical results to young patients, it does not necessarily result in them suffering from psychopathy. This mental disorder is more often than not a result of a hereditary disease. However, if a young kid experiences extreme problems during his early stages it may appear to be a red flag but not necessarily a disorder. As many reports suggest, nearly 80 percent of children diagnosed with conduct disorder grow out of it and do not develop an adult personality disorder, or psychopathy.

Number 9: Psychopaths lack empathy.

This is one of the most astonishing myths about the people who are fighting this mental disorder. Generally, people often describe patients suffering from psychopathy as lacking empathy and label them as people who cannot understand evil.

However, nowhere in any medical texts does it say that someone with a personality disorder will lack empathy. After a lot of research on many different subjects, only a couple have a lack of or suppressed empathy as a symptom of many different types of psychopaths. So, terming everyone facing this extreme disorder under this category is definitely not right.

Number 10: Psychopathy is a result of a single disorder.

For a long time, psychopathy was thought to be a single-personality disease. However, now there is mounting evidence that it is the result of a mix of different personality traits leading to this mental disorder. Psychopathy is now turning out to be a diverse, complex disorder expressing varying levels of boldness and meanness.

Many research data also imply that a significant subset of psychopathic teenage and adult criminals is more emotionally disturbed than emotionally disconnected, exhibiting indicators of anxiety and distress. These crucial differences have long gone unnoticed by psychologists and lawmakers, leading to a widespread belief that psychopathy is purely a natural disorder.

Read More: 9 Little Gestures That Show Someone Is Lying

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