What Is A Psychopath?
Psychopath is a term used to describe a person with a certain cluster of psychological, interpersonal, and neurophysiological traits, distinguishing them from the rest of the population. Robert Hare, an expert in psychopathy, describes these individuals as:
“…social predators who charm, manipulate, and ruthlessly plow their way through life, leaving a broad trail of broken hearts, shattered expectations, and empty wallets. Completely lacking in conscience and empathy, they selfishly take what they want and do as they please, violating social norms and expectations without the slightest sense of regret.
Hare also separated psychopaths into three distinct categories: the primary psychopath, the neurotic psychopath (also known as secondary), and the dyssocial psychopath.
What is a Primary Psychopath?
According to Hare, the primary psychopath is the “true” psychopath; secondary and dyssocial psychopaths have little in common physiologically with that of a primary psychopath. A primary psychopath has certain cognitive, psychological, emotional, and neurophysiological differences that separate them from the other types of psychopaths, and the general public. These individuals are believed to be charming, and are often above average in intelligence. Genetics is believed to play a more significant role in the primary psychopath than environmental influence.
What is a Neurotic Psychopath?
Secondary psychopaths, also known as “acting-out neurotics”, “neurotic delinquents”, or “symptomatic psychopaths”, tend to be mentally ill, or severely emotionally disturbed individuals who commit violent offenses and lead antisocial lives, often due to some sort of inner conflict. Research has shown secondary psychopaths to be more instable than primary psychopaths; leading to impulsive, aggressive, and violent behaviors. Unlike primary psychopathy, secondary psychopaths are believed to be a product of their environment, stemming from physical or verbal parental abuse and rejection.
What is a Dyssocial Psychopath?
A dyssocial psychopath is often aggressive and violent, and tends to display antisocial behaviors throughout their life. These individuals have learned these antisocial tendencies from their subculture; for example, through social interactions with gang members or older siblings. Environment plays a significant role in these individuals, similar to the neurotic psychopath.
What is Antisocial Personality Disorder?
Antisocial personality disorder (APD) is a term used by many psychologists and psychiatrists in the DSM to describe an individual with:
“a pervasive pattern of disregard for, and violation of, the rights of others that begins in childhood or early adolescence and continues into adulthood…fail to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors. They may repeatedly perform acts that are grounds for arrest, such as destroying property, harassing others, stealing or pursuing illegal occupations..”
Although many psychopaths may fit this description, a diagnosis of APD relies more so on antisocial behavior, rather than psychological behavior; most career criminals in general will fit this description, not just psychopaths. While 50-75% of the prison population meets the criteria for a diagnosis of APD, only about 15% meet the criteria for a psychopath. Non-psychopaths carry out the majority of violent criminal offenses, including rape and murder.
If you have been charged or believe you may be charged with a violent crime, an experienced criminal defense attorney is imperative. A diagnosis of psychopathy is potentially considered an aggravating circumstance, influencing the severity of the penalty given by the judge if convicted; At Kenneth Padowitz, P.A., we believe mental illness should not be held against the defendant in the court of law. Kenneth Padowitz, P.A. aggressively handles all State and Federal criminal charges. Contact our law office to discuss your situation. Our Fort Lauderdale criminal attorney will strategically develop a defense designed personally for you and your situation. Kenneth Padowitz, P.A. represents clients throughout Broward County and all of South Florida, including: Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Weston, Parkland, Cooper City, and Coral Springs.