Understanding and Treatment
Mental health disorders are among the most complex disorders to understand. Persons with these types of disorders are not commonly accepted into society. Psychopaths are among some of the most difficult disorders to treat. These persons most often come from a background lacking structure and continuity. Proper treatment is heavily debated.
It is a popular belief that psychopaths are considered to be individuals that are as brilliantly charming as they are morally insane. However, the tendency to refer to the psychopathic behavior as “morally insane” is a misconception. Regardless of scientific discoveries, psychopathy is a ...view middle of the document...
The lower waves produce a decreased response of anxiety which causes the psychopaths to not be anxious or afraid of punishment when they perform a reprehensible action. According to Cleckley’ s definition of psychopathic behavior in the Mask of Sanity , (1988) when one of them breaks the law, he or she does not experience a sense of shame or guilt. When psychopaths are faced with any form of punishment – it could be physical pain or punishment regardless of the deliberate breaking of laws- they do not react with as much anticipation as the average individual. This is because they lack a part of the neurological process which allows them to avoid pain; that is, the adequate rise in palmar sweat gland activity which generates the adequate stimulus. Therefore, the psychopath will reproduce the same harmful actions again and again. In 1954, Ellington’ s experiments showed that between 31 % and 58 % of psychopaths showed some form of electroencephalogram abnormality located in the temporal lobes of the cerebral hemispheres. Another experience regarding the lack of anxiety in psychopaths was lead in 1965 by Robert Hare. In that experience, psychopathic and non-psychopathic subjects were told that each time they would see the number eight in a series of number from one to twelve, they would receive an electric shock. Non-psychopathic individuals showed higher rates of anxiety when they knew the number eight was about to come. On the contrary, psychopathic individuals remain perfectly calm at the sight of the feared number. These results are important since they show that it is a physiological deficiency rather than deliberate insanity that is responsible for the psychopath’s criminal behavior.
Another perception largely spread among the population concerns the traditional representation of the psychopath who is figured out as a habitual pleasure seeker, constantly searching for the next big thrill.
In the movie the Silence of the Lambs, such a personality is embodied in Hannibal Lector, a frightening psychopath who, by his compelling need of strong experiences, breaks the boundaries of decency. The portrayal of this character embodies the collective myths referring to the mental scheme of the psychopath. The representation is romanticized in order to play with society’s fascination for the violation of laws. However, the popular myths have captured one of the most fundamental features of the psychopathic personality as described by Cleckley, cited in p. 479 of Abnormal Behavior. “Most psychopaths become bored quickly with the humdrum of everyday life. They search constantly for new thrills and experiences - daring robberies, impersonations, confidence games, new varieties of drugs and deviant sexual behavior”. The psychopath occasionally needs to receive a stimuli stronger than the average person in order to be aroused and, eventually, find “the game” exciting. Therefore, psychopath’s brain activity is not always below the average. Otherwise,...