- Family and Parenting»
Reasons To Take Your Child To a Psychologist or Psychiatrist
Could My Child Be A Danger To Society?
It might be one of the most difficult decisions you make on behalf of your child. In fact, these types of decisions are always harder on the adult than they are on the child. There are many factors which might trigger a parent to wonder if their child has problems however, isolated characteristics are not indicative of mental illness, psychosis or being a psychopath. This will serve as a useful guide to help parents understand which behavioral markers are the "red flags" and could be potentially problematic.
Antisocial Personality Disorder
When a child or teen suffers from antisocial personality disorder they are typically without regard for others. They have an obvious lack of guilt, remorse and empathy and often have difficulty maintaining friendships or relationships although they can be very witty or charming. The ability to present a garrulous front is the manipulative nature of antisocial personality disorder.
Antisocial teens and adolescents have an aggressive nature although it may materialize in different ways. A small percentage of antisocial people become murderers or violent offenders but a greater percentage become master manipulators and career criminals. If they are confronted, they will defer blame regardless of the accusation.
The "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders" requires that a person be at least 18 years of age to be diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder, that they were diagnosed with or presented obvious and marked signs of conduct disorder by the age of 15 and have a very restricted range of human emotions. Antisocial personality disorder can evolve into psychopathic behavior.
People who are afflicted with antisocial personality disorder rarely recognize it as a problem and as such, do not seek help until it is ordered through a judicial ruling.
Pleading Insanity in the United States
The M'Naghten rule states that every defendant is inherently sane. In order for that person to be convicted it must be proven that at the time the criminal act was committed, that person was laboring under a defect of reason , from disease of the mind, as not to know the nature and quality of the act he was doing; or, if he did know it, that he did not know he was doing what was wrong.
The Durham Rule
Adopted in the late 1800s, it states that a defendant is not criminally responsible for the crime if the act was a product of a diagnosable mental defect or disease. The problem with the Durham rule was the lack of definition about mental defect and disease. Currently there is only one state that still uses the Durham rule.
Model Penal Code
Under the American Law Institute test "a person is not responsible for criminal conduct if at the time of such conduct as a result of mental disease or defect he lacks substantial capacity either to appreciate the criminality of his conduct or to conform his conduct to the requirements of the law."
Psychopaths are very different from persons who are diagnosed with psychoses in that they are persons with antisocial characteristics who carry out their negative and wanton desires. They have no remorse or guilt for the pain and suffering of others, they will plan with great detail exactly how they are going to carry out their schemes and can often be recognized through appropriate and early detection. Persons with antisocial personality disorder are at the greatest risk of developing psychopathy or becoming a psychopath. The nature of antisocial personality disorder is the foundation of what fuels a psychopath.
If you look back in history at several of the massacres that have plagued our country, there have been many similarities between the perpetrators. Psychopaths are not scary people, they are misunderstood because they either slipped through the system or manipulated their way through the system. It's not uncommon for a psychopath to manipulate the people around them in order to hide who they really are.
- Psychopaths have planned their crimes in great detail. I will speak on the part of a male because the rate of male to female psychopaths is 10/1. Planning the crime indicates that the perpetrator knew exactly what he was doing from start to finish. In most cases in US history, psychopaths are male.
- Persons who are psychopaths are extremely intelligent. It is dismissive to say that they are insane. On the contrary, they are quite sane because they recognize the difference between right and wrong however, they feel that those rules do not apply to them.
- He would know what he wanted to accomplish, when and where it would take place and who it would affect as far as his target audience.
- He may obtain weapons legally or illegally. Women are more prone to using poison, knives or handguns.
- He would watch or stalk the crime scenes prior to impact in order to be as effectively destructive as possible. The stalking may take place for minutes, hours or days before the criminal strikes. Once a psychopath does complete their first successful assault, it is nearly a guarantee that there will be more if he is not caught.
- Additionally, the murder or crime itself may take minutes, hours or days.
- He may have multiple sites of impact in order to hurt or kill as many people as possible.
- It is also common for psychopaths to attempt to destroy evidence however they may do it in a manner which is a feeble attempt so as to ensure that they are recognized as the perpetrator. It is more common for the perpetrator to keep trophy items from victims.
- If he is involved in the actual combat situation he may protect himself from the combat which is indicative of his obvious disregard for the lives of his victims and his narcissistic attitude about saving himself. He doesn't care about the individual lives he destroys but he will go to great lengths to ensure his own safety.
- Mass murders or "psychopaths" often want the recognition and notoriety. Unfortunately, immediately following a tragic event there is a media blitz that immediately explodes and the the alleged criminal becomes somewhat of a celebrity. Often times it's a "power" that they feel has been deserved to them for their entire lives and now they've finally got the attention they deserve.
- Psychopaths lack "causal relationships" but while their names might be in the media for a few days, they forget that getting a fair trial will be at best, impossible. Additionally, they will be targeted in prison for what they've done because the "celebrity status" doesn't make you special in prison, it makes you a low-life. It is common for high profile defendants to be placed into protective custody because they are not safe in general population due to the overwhelming amount of press coverage. Jeffrey Dahmer was killed in prison and many speculate that it was because the inmates were aware of the horrific crimes he committed.
Psychosis is different than being a psychopath because when a person is diagnosed with a psychosis, they have delusions, hallucinations, may hear voices and will actually lose touch with reality. They move into an "altered state" which they believe to be authentic. For example, someone who is living with a psychosis may dress up as a superhero or villain and run around the grocery store however, they are not prone to violent outbursts. They are more prone to wearing the costume while purchasing fresh fruit.
An example of psychosis is schizophrenia. It's common for people who are diagnoses with schizophrenia to see things which don't exist or hear voices which are not present. You might witness them have a conversation or a screaming match with a person who only appears to them - say for example while they are in their costume in the fresh fruit isle. It's important to note that psychosis can be both positive and negative. People can experience religious euphoria or extreme bouts of happiness however, they can also suffer paranoia and extreme difficulty with carrying out their normal daily routines. Living with psychosis can be very debilitating.
Let The Doctors Diagnose
DO NOT ASSUME that because your child or someone you know, displays one or two of these characteristics that he or she is impaired by a mental illness, psychosis or is a psychopath. If you have concerns at any time, the first step should be to take your child or teen to a licensed medical professional. Don't ask your child what they think because they won't understand the capacity of what you are talking about and cannot possibly comprehend the gravity of what you are presenting them with. If your medical professional explains to you that there might be a problem, hear them out and don't feel as though you are a failure.
The use of the insanity defense is very rare. It's employed in less than 2% of all criminal trials and is successful in only .25% of those cases. It's extremely difficult to use the insanity defense. When it is effectively utilized, often times times the offender will end up spending more time in state custody than if they had been traditionally convicted.
The population of the world is growing and as such, so are the number of people with mental illnesses, brain dysfunctions and the need for real psychiatric help. The devastating reality is that there are people who will slip through the cracks. Whether it's a shooting, kidnapping or a mass fatality there are always commonalities between the perpetrators.
A Psychopath and His Victims
Other Useful Information
- How To Tell if a Teen Has a Mental Disability
This hub is about ways to tell if your child or teen has a mental disability. It sites specific factors and behaviors which are indicative of mental disorders. This hub is not meant to diagnose.
- How to Recognize Signs of Teen Depression
Teen depression is a serious problem which can be effectively managed when detected and treated. Know how to recognize characteristics of teen depression, where to get help and what you can do at home to best help your teen. This hub is your resource
- Characteristics of a Juvenile Delinquent
This hub is about the identifying markers of a juvenile delinquent
- How To Prevent Truancy
Truancy is characterized by chronic absenteeism. Prevention and treatment are critical for the successful reduction of truancy.
- Juvenile Boot Camps VS Juvenile Delinquency Programs
Once believed to be the cure,