When we think of serial killers, the first word that pops into our mind is ‘psychopath’. I’m here to tell you that that is not always the case and that it time to change the way that we view mental illness.

1. Not All Killers are Psychopaths and Not All Psychopaths are Killers.

First of all, it should be kept in mind that not all killers are psychopaths. Sadly, 1 in 700 people suffering from a psychiatric disorder will commit a homicide if they have not yet received treatment. This is a clear cut example of why we should be working towards destigmatising mental disorders – to give those in help more confidence in stepping forward to receive the help they need. Unlike psychopathy, psychosis is treatable through antipsychotic medications, psychological therapies, and even through social support. This is one of the main differences between psychosis and psychopathy; one is a treatable, medical condition and the other is a permanent mental disorder.

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Source: Rates of homicide during the first episode of psychosis

14 Comments

  1. What’s the difference between a “psychopath” and the mentally ill? Author explains the difference!

    However, sources need to be cited, or this appears to be a well meant opinion. Also the term psychopath is now replaced by the term antisocial personality disorder, “APD”.
    Author interchanges new term,with old in article, with no explanation.

  2. I think this is very helpful for someone to distinguish between psychotic and psychosis because then someone might not instantly jump to conclusions and criticize an individual right off the back. This may also allow the person to have more understanding for the affected person at hand. The brain and mental disorders and temporary disorders are very complicated to understand and both of these aspects help someone better understand these complicated aspects.

  3. A part of me is surprised that in this current time where information is easily accessible and abundant that many people confuse or misunderstand information regarding psychological issues- psychosis vs psychopathy included. This is very helpful in highlighting the differences between the two conditions. I think outlining the characteristics and as Melissa pointed out, citing sources would help support this article.

  4. I feel that more people should talk about this and the misperception of certain words and what they entail. It is very easy to jump to conclusions and make certain moves that are very ignorant. Psychology is a very capricious field as it deals with the mind. Thus, distinctions such as this one are crucial in distinguishing. Different people react to different disorders of the mind and to different settings that would foster the mainstream growth and development of a serial killer. I do agree that for the purpose of an article like this, that sources need to be cited. People will only believe and go along with facts if they are backed up. Otherwise, they will tend to stick with what they already believe. Sources would help make this claim more solid.

  5. I’m relatively new to the field of phsychology and was happy to learn that there was a distinction between a psychopathy and a psychosis.
    After seeing the first subheading i expected the article to be longer and I was actually looking forward to it because this is not something I know much about. I wish this article would have gone more into detail, referred to some sources and maybe gave some examples!

  6. I like the information and goal this article has, however, there are a few details that the author could have done in order to enhance their argument.

    1) Narrow down your topic. Here, the author spoke about antisocial personality disorder and psychosis, but there was no clear connection how the two are related. Not to mention, throughout the article the author also brought up information about psychopaths… (seems like the context is all over the place!)

    2) Define your topic. The article did not give any direct definitions about their topics. The author assumed that their audience knew what they were talking about. At least provide a simple definition or a link that can direct the reader to more information about the terms. (This would further improve understanding about the argument the author is attempting to make.)

    3) Too much ethos! Honestly, it is important to utilize ethos to draw a bridge between the context of ones argument to the audience, however, this article utilized it too much! More logos and pathos please. That would add credibility to your argument.

    4) Formatting of the article and/ or page. There is way too many ads and links that surround the article. This distracts the reader! It draws attention elsewhere and the reader is no longer processing the context you want them to acknowledge. Not to mention the set up of the article. It gets annoying having to keep switching pages in order to read the entire article. (Put the whole thing in one page.)

  7. Though this article was informative, the author should include broad definitions of psychosis and psychopathy (or Antisocial Personality Disorder) in the introduction, rather than have scattered definitions throughout the article.
    Furthermore, the author works under the assumption that the reader is aware of basic differences between psychopathy, mental illness, and psychotics – it would be recommended to explain the differences in the introduction; this will be able to provide a strong base for your argument.
    The fact that the article delves into the topic with no context becomes confusing for those who are reading the article; the lack of context does not allow the reader to be able to correctly process the information.
    Another annoying issue was having the article spread over multiple pages, rather than have them listed on one page – it makes the article difficult and confusing to read.
    Though the article does aim to be helpful and to spread awareness, the author could have framed her arguments in a much better manner.

  8. This is very important, as many people are even scared of those with mental illnesses. However, I had to look up what exactly antisocial personality disorder is. Also, this would, in my opinion, be great as a general mental health “end the stigma” article. Once this article is spruced up a bit, it needs to be spread everywhere!

  9. I loved this.
    I’m currently studying criminology.
    I loved that you mentioned how not all psychopaths are criminals and not all criminals are psychopaths.
    I always think of Jeffrey Dahmer in that case.
    Dahmer wasn’t a psychopath, though many people believed he was. He had personality disorders and psychosis, too. And if it was treated, he may not of killed so many people.
    Ed Gein is another killer that comes to mind. He was traumatized by the loss of his mother, and became psychotic. He was never at any point a psychopath.
    So thank you for shedding light on the depth behind these misconceptions.
    I do believe, though, that you should’ve added more detail to both psychopathy and psychosis.
    There was more information on psychosis, creating a odd feeling for me, as if one was more important than the other.
    Psychopathy itself is genetic. A psychopath cannot help the way his or her brain works.
    That’s just not fair. And that’s another reason why they can go down dark paths, is that people believe they are inherently evil.
    I fully support the ending of stigma around psychosis, but also psychopathy. That’s very important.
    Also, more depth on how Antisocial Personality Disorder can lead to psychopathy would be very helpful.
    Do you know anybody with APD? Have you had to deal with it yourself? Some personal touches make it relatable. It shows that it is indeed a very real thing. Or why you’re so passionate about this topic.
    I would’ve loved to of seen that.
    Some more studies would be extremely helpful. It makes the reader want to learn more. Direct us.

    All in all, a beautifully written article.

    Nice work.

  10. I loved this.
    I’m currently studying criminology.
    I loved that you mentioned how not all psychopaths are criminals and not all criminals are psychopaths.
    I always think of Jeffrey Dahmer in that case.
    Dahmer wasn’t a psychopath, though many people believed he was. He had personality disorders and psychosis, too. And if it was treated, he may not of killed so many people.
    Ed Gein is another killer that comes to mind. He was traumatized by the loss of his mother, and became psychotic. He was never at any point a psychopath.
    So thank you for shedding light on the depth behind these misconceptions.
    I do believe, though, that you should’ve added more detail to both psychopathy and psychosis.
    There was more information on psychosis, creating a odd feeling for me, as if one was more important than the other.
    Psychopathy itself is genetic. A psychopath cannot help the way his or her brain works.
    That’s just not fair. And that’s another reason why they can go down dark paths, is that people believe they are inherently evil.
    I fully support the ending of stigma around psychosis, but also psychopathy. That’s very important.
    Also, more depth on how Antisocial Personality Disorder can lead to psychopathy would be very helpful.
    Do you know anybody with APD? Have you had to deal with it yourself? Some personal touches make it relatable. It shows that it is indeed a very real thing. Or why you’re so passionate about this topic.
    I would’ve loved to of seen that.
    Some more studies would be extremely helpful. It makes the reader want to learn more. Direct us.

    All in all, a beautifully written article.

    Nice work.

  11. I recently met someone who identified as being a psycho/sociopath. And so it was really nice that we could talk openly about mental illness. It was interesting because he would get into this moods in which it seemed as though a completely different personality was over taking him. It seemed demonic and he spoke very highly of satanism and the right to exert our free-will with disregards to the law. This made me shudder. He played a lot of video games and would remove himself a lot from others. I think too much time playing video games, not to mention television/movies, can be very harmful to our psyche. It’s difficult to help those who don’t want it, and it’s important not to be forceful and to be accepting of others and their beliefs. So all that I can do is pray and pray and pray the demons away through love and understanding.

  12. When I saw this article it immediately drew my attention. I’ve always been fascinated by serial killers, and knowing that a number of them have been diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder (after their killings) that immediately drew me in. To me, the difference between psychopathy and psychosis has been clear for years, but that’s likely just because as I said, I’m fascinated with serial killers, and also the human mind in general. One other distinction I would add here though, is that those in a psychotic break, or those displaying symptoms of psychosis, will often actually be able to plead insanity if they have hurt/killed someone. Unfortunately, many people don’t understand the differences, which does lead to wrongful jailings and death penalities.
    I will say, although I knew that antisocial personality disorder could be treated with cognitive therapies, I didn’t know that it could also be treated with SSRIs. Hopefully, the stigma around mental illness, and taking medications to treat it, starts to phase out soon, that way those in need of it can seek it out without fear.

  13. This article was really well done. You seem to have researched the topic well and know what you are talking about. The information is clear, relevant, and important. Keep up the good work!

  14. This article was really well done. You seem to have researched the topic well and know what you are talking about. The information is clear, relevant, and important. Keep up the good work.

    This is a topic shrouded in stigma and fear and the fact is, this is something that people actually have to deal with so instead of shying away from the topic we should be learning about it so that when we are faced with it in life we have some kind of coping skills.

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