Abnormal Psychology

Psychopathology and Abnormal Behavior

April 30, 2014

Sadie frequently asks herself this question ...

And so should YOU!

According to experts in the field of neuroscience, 1-4% of the population can be qualified as psychopaths. Chances are, you know a few--and, since you're visiting this blog, there's a good chance you are one!

What, exactly, is a psychopath? 

The term came into use in the early 1800s and was applied to mental patients who appeared outwardly normal, but lacked empathy and seemed to posses no sense of right and wrong. 

In the 1930s, the term was changed to sociopath to reflect the negative impact these people can have on society. These days, the term sociopath has lost favor--though is sometimes applied to a psychopath scoring lower on the continuum. 

Here are 5 signs that indicate you're a psychopath:

1. You don't get what the big deal is about feelings. Emotions are for wimps, and you don't have them.

2. Blood and guts do not repulse you--in fact, you find them fascinating.

3. If it weren't for other people, you would have no problems.

4. The only difference between truth or lies is a matter of opinion.

5. No question about it: most people are imbeciles.

Still unsure if you're a psychopath? 

March 13,2014

Cotard's Syndrome

Exploring the delusion of the walking dead

Recently, I read a fascinating article: The Twelve Most Mind-Blowing Delusions and Syndromes. This is where I first learned of Cotard's Syndrome, also known as The Walking Corpse Syndrome.

First documented in 1880 by French neurologist, Jules Cotard, the condition is rare and little understood. Those suffering from the syndrome believe they are dead. They may believe they are missing internal organs, that parts of their body do not belong to them, that they are empty shells. Often, they stop eating and bathing. One man, who suffered from the condition for years, stopped brushing his teeth and they eventually turned black.

This rare syndrome is most often found in elderly patients suffering from depression, but cases have been reported in patients as young as fourteen. It has been linked to dementia, epilepsy, and an adverse reaction to the drug aciclovir in conjunction with kidney failure. 

Three stages of the syndrome have been documented: 

Germination: Anxiety, depression, excessive fear

Blooming: Delusion of being dead or immortal, increased anxiety, cutting.

Chronic: Paranoia, starvation, suicide attempts.

The underlying cause of the syndrome seems to be a misfiring in the front, right side of the brain--the area that allows us to recognize faces. A person suffering from CS may not recognize the reflection of her own face and may not recognize others. Hence, the experience of feeling disconnected and dead.

Treatment for CS includes anti-depressants and anti-psychotics as well as electroconvulsive therapy. 

This video gives a quick overview of the condition:

For more information read:

Dead Man Walking, A Beginner's Guide to Cotard's Syndrome

No Seriously, I'm Dead

March 5, 2014

Psychopath v.s. Sociopath v.s. Normal

Brain scans reveal your true nature

A Brain Scan Reveals Psychopathy

The terms psychopath and sociopath are often used interchangeably, sometimes with great debate. According to Dr. Robert Schug, the host of Aftermath Radio, there is no difference, and the correct term for this anti-social personality disorder is psychopath.

In common usuage, sociopath is often used to describe a person with anti-social traits, and psychopath is used to describe a person whose anti-social personality disorder leads to violence. 

Anti-social personality disorder is often determined by the Hare Psychopathy Checklist Revised (HPC-R), a list of twenty personality traits. value of 0 is assigned if the trait is not applicable, 1 if it is somewhat applicable, 2 if it fully applies. (Read more about Hare and his research on his website Without Conscience.)

The list:
glib and superficial charm
need for stimulation
pathological lying
cunning and manipulating,
lack of remorse
poor behavioral controls
parasitic lifestyle
sexual promiscuity
early behavior problems
lack of realistic long-term goals
failure to accept responsibility for own actions
many short-term marital relationships
juvenile delinquency
revocation of conditional release
criminal versatility

Recent studies of brain scans have shown that psychopaths don't register reactions to emotional stimuli in the frontal and temporal lobes--areas of the brain associated with empathy and self-control. They tend to register emotional reactions cognitively--as a thought rather than a feeling. 

Though all psychopaths share common traits, most aren't violent.

Scientist, James Fallon, was surprised to discover that his brain scan revealed him to be a borderline psychopath. Read more here. And you can listen to a podcast interview with James Fallon on OpEdNews.

Normal Brain Scan vs a Paychopath

No comments:

Post a Comment