Psychopathy: Definition, Symptoms, Causes and Treatment


It is a mental illness characterized by persistent antisocial behavior which is harmful to self or other, People like this have a poor inner sense of right and wrong harmful to self or others sometime it is often consider psychopathic people as murderer but they are not like that. They know what you’re feeling, but dont feel it themselves.

Psychopaths are very manipulative and can easily gain people’s trust . They learn to mimic emotions, despite their inability to actually feel them, and will appear normal to unsuspecting people. Psychopaths are often well educated and hold steady jobs. They have families and other long-term relationships without those around them ever suspecting their true nature.

A simple definition of psychopathy is provided by the Society for the Scientific Study of Psychopathy. Psychopathy is:

“A constellation of traits that comprises affective features, interpersonal features, as well as impulsive and antisocial behaviors. The affective features include lack of guilt, empathy, and deep emotional attachments to others; the interpersonal features include narcissism and superficial charm; and the impulsive and antisocial behaviors include dishonesty, manipulativeness, and reckless risk-taking. Although psychopathy is a risk factor for physical aggression, it is by no means synonymous with it. In contrast to individuals with psychotic disorders, most psychopaths are in touch with reality and seemingly rational. Psychopathic individuals are found at elevated rates in prisons and jails, but can be found in community settings as well.”


  • When committing crimes, psychopaths carefully plan out every detail in advance and often have contingency plans in place.
  • Disciplinary infractions, and substance misuse.
  • Psychopaths can work very quickly, and can have an apparent IQ higher than it really is, because they’re not inhibited by moral concerns.”
  • There brain lacks the moral niceties
  • Manipulative self-serving behaviors with no regard for others, and often is associated with repeated delinquency, crime and violence
  • Psychopaths are arrogant people who believe they are superior human beings.
  • They are always ready for thrilling or exciting experiences they never stop if it is affecting someone
  • They have the captivating charm they are smooth, engaging, slick, and verbally facile. Psychopathic charm is not in the least shy, self-conscious, or afraid to say anything. A psychopath never gets tongue-tied. They have freed themselves from the social conventions about taking turns in talking.
  • Psychopaths often have low self-discipline in carrying tasks through to completion because they get bored easily. Because they found that job boring or monotonous.
  • A man who … repeatedly lies and cheats and steals things and … takes sexual advantage of many women
  • Someone who does not pay attention to reprimands and who is always being brought to the elders for punishment.
  • Despite of this,most psychopaths are not violent, and most violent people are not psychopaths.
  • They easily get irritated, annoyed, impatience, threats, aggression, and verbal abuse; inadequate control of anger and temper; acting hastily


  • Brain injury

Scientists have linked traumatic brain injury, including damage to these regions, with violent and psychopathic behavior. Patients with damage in such areas resembled “psychopathic individuals” whose brains were incapable of acquiring social and moral knowledge

  • Genetic

According to some researches it is concluded that Psychopathy may be a acquired syndrome Genetic factors may generally influence the development of psychopathy low-activity variant of the monoamine oxidase A (MAO-A) gene (dubbed the “warrior gene”), encoding for the MAO-A enzyme that regulates neurotransmitter activity by breaking down the neurotransmitters serotonin due to disturbance in these genes psychopathy may cause

  • Major trauma

Psychopathy also results from trauma from Early childhood experiences which causes The innate temperament of the person . who is victimised by a very domineering, abusive, or highly critical parent and also criticised, overprotected, emotionally or physically abused, excluded or deprived

  • Environmental factors

The social environment also cause psychopathy these are suffered in childhood, due to lack in guidance, affection, empathy and guidance but didn’t get it etc.Person absorbs certain bad characteristics from there surroundings


Psychopaths are some of society’s most dangerous people and that most commit crimes – often violent crimes it is treatable by following techniques-

  • Psychoanalysis-it is a method of mind investigation. And especially of the unconscious mindThe aim of psychoanalysis therapy is to release repressed emotions and experiences, i.e. make the unconscious conscious. A therapy of neurosis inspired from the above method
  • Group therapy-Group therapy is a kind of psychological therapy that takes place with a group of people together rather than with an individual during a one-on-one session. Having therapy in a group environment can have many benefits as it offers a support network and provides the opportunity to meet others
  • Client-centered therapy- to develop a sense of self where they can realize how their attitudes, feelings and behavior are being negatively affected.
  • Psychosurgery-Psychosurgery involves severing or otherwise disabling areas of the brain to treat a personality disorder, behavior disorder, or other mental illness.
  • Drug therapy-anti anxiety pills, antidepressant and other drugs are useful which is advised ny doctors.
  • Schema therapy-Schema therapy integrates elements of cognitive therapy, behavior therapy, object relations, and gestalt therapy into one unified, systematic approach to treatment.
  • Schema therapy has recently been blended with mindfulness meditation for clients who want to add a spiritual dimension to their lives.

Written By:

DEEPTIDeepti Rawat 

Trainee Medical Coder, Delhi