Wait For One…

18 03 2011

… and you end up getting three at the same time. That’s what they used to say about buses, and so it is other things in life, perhaps it’s because we notice similar things more when it’s on our mind. Where this applies to me is the whole psychopath line that’s been going through my non travel related posts. So, two posts done, and so we have another one, but at least this has some bearing on the wider subject rather than being about me.

Ok, a little background first. According to the alleged bible of mental health diagnostics, the DSM, there is no such thing as psychopathy, something which has been the state of affairs since the third edition. However, it still remains something which is popular, both in psychiartric reasearch and in popular media, and so we have many a reference to it and the possibilities therein. As an aside, beware the sociopath comparisson, something that has also disappeared yet for some reason is refered to as psychopath, it just gets confusing so ignore it.

Coming to the reference, a friend of mine attended a conference about the forensic psychiatry in the field of Aspergers Spectrum Disorders. Despite the obvious bent towards the conference sponsors and their services (a secure mental health/learning disability location), there was some information about the field of psychopathy and it presents some interesting thoughts about what truly is psychopathy and how can you seperate those who are antisocial versus those who are genuine psychopaths. Key moment for me was when the subject of Jeffrey Dahmer, who killed at least 15 people and was assumed to be a psychopath, was thought to be someone with autism of some form.

I’ll admit that this whle thing about Jeffrey Dahmer struck me as odd as the suggestion was that he was both a psychopath and someone with ASD. Is this possible? It’s extremely likely that the difference between the diagnoses is difficult to distinguish at times, and yes, it may be possible that Dahmer had ASD because when you look into the basic facts about him, it does look more and more unlikely that he was a psychopath.

It’s not typical of psychopaths to kill, it is far more prevalent for them to be manipulative of people, where’s the fun in killing? It removes the potential for manipulation. Western civilisation is based around some very basic ideals which means that random murders tend not to be done flagrantly, something definitely reserved for crimes of passion or where societies aren’t so against murder. This is bourne out by the studies which report that whilst 61% of prisoners have a personality disorder (mostly Antisocial Personality Disorder) whilst only 15% of these qualify for the title of psychopath.

There’s a lot more to be said but I just thought it would be interesting to start here.

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