Psychopathy: Early Intervention First Step to Cure

Jun 18, 2015 09:56 AM EDT | By Maria Leonila Masculino

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An FBI study focused on psychopathic criminals says early intervention could make a great difference in curing a psychological disorder that until now, no one has discovered an effective treatment yet, CNN reports.

Criminals who brutally commit homicide and find gratification in their most sadistic behavior are considered psychopaths. These people tend to be pathological liars who are able to manipulate and charm people to getting what they want without feeling any signs of empathy and guilt.

The FBI bulletin, "Focus on Psychopathy" describes a psychopath as an "intra-species predator."

Not all psychopaths, however, are criminals, said author of "Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us," Robert Hare. They are people who take advantage of other people in businesses, schools, and the government among others.

As a researcher for psychopathy for 40 years, Hare developed a series of interviews and examinations to identify a psychopathic patient. He added that psychopaths are usually not aware there is actually something wrong with them, since they don't suffer any physical or psychological pain.

This disorder, also known as "callous-unemotional" can already be detected during early childhood, with symptoms including animal cruelty, physical and verbal bullying, and complete lack of concern towards other children.

Possibly inherited, Hare added that "there is enormous evidence indicating psychopathy is an interaction between genetics and the environment."

In a continuing development for an effective psychopathic treatment plan, Mary Ellen O'Toole told CNN that until now, "we don't have a therapy for it, and there's no known pill for psychopathy."

According to FBI researcher and former prison psychologist, Matt Logan, "early intervention is really the only thing that's been shown to be effective."

"Callous-unemotional" children should be diagnosed early through observations of parents and teachers for them to attain immediate behavioral therapies. Hare points out that as early as possible, getting "these children to act more in line with what society expects," could help them develop such behavior as they grow up.

According to surveys, 1% of men in the U.S. are considered to be psychopaths.

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