Can Psychologists Help Psychopaths?

Find Your Degree!
Sponsored Schools
Can Psychologists Help Psychopaths? 2019-11-04T00:41:55+00:00

Although psychologists are continuously trying to help psychopaths, their ventures have not been overly successful thus far. Regardless of their lack of efficiency, however, these experts have not lost hope that every patient can overcome their diagnosis. Hence why the number of treatment options is constantly growing despite the nonexistent results. So, is there a way that psychologists and other mental health experts can aid individuals who are suffering from psychopathy?

Related resource: Top 20 Graduate Degree Programs in Forensic Psychology

The Basics of Psychopathy

The term “psychopathy” was not the first name that this condition received. In 1801, Philippe Pinel, who is one of the first creators of contemporary psychiatry, noticed that certain patients exhibited “insanity without delirium.” In other words, the individuals were completely devoid of basic human emotions while showcasing normal intelligence levels. The term “psychopath” came toward the end of the 1800s, and it has been utilized by the vast majority of the public ever since.

Psychopaths are people who suffer from a complete lack of ability to sympathize with anything or anyone. This is why many of them turn to horrible crimes that are usually characterized by extreme cruelty and no remorse. As per the research conducted by Yale University, the reason why they behave this way is due to how their brain is structured. Namely, psychopaths have a lot less gray matter in their paralimbic system. Since this is the area of the brain responsible for emotional processing and self-control, it comes as no surprise that they lack the much-needed abilities to bond with others.

The Odds of Finding the Cure

Unlike some other conditions that cause people’s mental health to deteriorate, The Telegraph reports that psychopaths are born with the said brain deficiency. Unfortunately for psychologists who are looking for the cure, this translates to practically zero chance of ever finding it.

Just like individuals who are born without one of their limbs, which is about as common as someone being born as a psychopath, re-growing the gray matter that is missing from the brain has never been done. Moreover, due to the particular area that causes the problem, which is extremely sensitive, hands-on research that could lead to some kind of cure is limited. Therefore, regardless of how advanced medicine is, the cure for this illness will probably never exist.

Results of Therapy

Interestingly enough, there are many other mental disorders that, while they may not curable, can be managed and treated over time. The notorious post-traumatic stress disorder or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder would be two of the most common examples. Even though there is no way for one to completely overcome either of them, constant treatment and some prescription drugs can help cope with the symptoms.

Once again, however, this is not the case with psychopathy. The main reason why is the fact that no other mental disorder boils down to unprecedently different brain chemistry. Psychopaths, though, cannot subside the lack of important gray matter that causes their disconnect from normal behavior. Even some of the most advanced therapists will have very little effect on these patients in the long-run.

Ultimate Outcome

With everything from above in mind, it seems that there is absolutely no way to overcome this condition. So, although it is quite encouraging to see that specialists are continuing their search for a solution, psychologists cannot help psychopaths.