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The Underlying Dynamics of Psychopathy with Focus on Early Childhood and Adolescence

November 14th, 2013 by Maximilian M. Bolejko | Posted in Disorders and Pathologies | No Comments » | 283 views | Print this Article

Abstract

Integrated in this review are most of the social aspects from past environmental research to more current trends from within the field of neuropsychology, personality, clinical and forensic psychology, biology and psychiatry in order to create a holistic understanding of the underlying dynamics of psychopathy. In despite of its ethical weight, focus was put on childhood and adolescence, even though these areas still remain as relatively uncharted territory because of the notion that children can change. Although it is especially difficult to measure personality traits in children, research seem to be suggesting that several traits connected to psychopathy can be recognized even from one to three years of age. Several case studies, including attempts to disentangle the confusion of DSM-IV classifications and the wide array of diagnostic tools for the condition will also be presented.

The Underlying Dynamics of Psychopathy with Focus on Early Childhood and Adolescence

Acts of violence and deceit are generally appalling to most people, even more so when such acts are of a deliberate nature. Furthermore, most of the conduct connected with psychopathy, often goes unnoticed in our society (Babiak & Hare, 2006). It is only recently that scientists have begun to properly understand the importance of further research on a condition, with a following psychological make-up, that is clearly different to that of the general population (Cleckley, 1941; Hare, 1993). The issue of psychopathy can be traced back to the first large-scale civilized societies, such as the ancient Roman Empire. Possibly the most well-known example would be the conniving nature of Emperor Nero and his alleged attempt of burning down the capital of Rome (Collins, 2010). Today, most of the layman’s intuitive understanding of the condition is mostly contrived out of cinematic or literary fiction, such as the portrayal of cannibalistic psychiatrist Hannibal Lecter (Harris, 1989). More contemporary examples include such real-life serial killers as Ted Bundy or Jeffrey Dahmer. Most people would not hesitate in drawing a parallel between psychopathy and criminal behaviour, yet a large majority of psychopaths are neither violent nor are they incarcerated.

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Intelligence & ADD/ADHD: Breaking The Myths

April 16th, 2012 by Maximilian M. Bolejko | Posted in Disorders and Pathologies | No Comments » | 616 views | Print this Article

There are a lot of ideas flying around where most of the typical layman’s knowledge of ADD/ADHD usually asserts that the condition is not in fact a real mental health issue, or that it is the cause of poor schooling or poor parenting. The opinion that children with ADHD are of poor intelligence due to a perceived inability to focus on a given task is quite a commonality. It is not then difficult to imagine that parents who have been told their son or daughter was very bright, but was doing poorly in school due to inconsistencies or poor focus, have great difficulty acknowledging the fact that their child might have an attention deficit disorder. In fact, many parents have been told that such problems do not occur amongst individuals with higher levels of intellectual ability. Yet studies have shown that individuals with ADD/ADHD demonstrate the same cognitive problems in all ranges of IQ, even well above the 120 range.[1]

ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and is a real mental health condition with strong scientific evidence pointing towards an inherited genetic basis with significant neurological abnormalities in the brain. Hence, in order to fully diagnose an individual for ADHD a neurological exam is required. Medication treatment studies were first to show persuasive evidence of ADHD impairment being the cause of two primary neurotransmitters not functioning properly. These are norepinephrine and dopamine. Several genes determining low dopamine levels (named DRD4, DAT1, etc.) have also been found to be associated with ADHD.[2] Another important factor in the condition was recently discovered in a study by the renomed ADHD specialist Prof. Russell Barkley and colleagues at the Medical University of South Carolina. The finding had to do with the decreased levels of GABA (gamma amino butyric acid) found in ADHD children. These low levels of which is yet another neurotransmitter, were found to explain the deficient impulse control and constant interchanging thoughts associated with the condition.[3] In other words, in order for the brain to stop an action, in this case a thought, it has to use the brains inhibitory neurons, this in order to prevent the ongoing surge of excitatory neurons from firing and generating new thoughts. Blocking excitatory neurons is precisely the task of GABA. This is a process that requires much more effort for the brain, equivalent to the increased effort for individuals with ADHD to get themselves to actually relax. A factor intertwined with dysfunctional dopamine circuits in ADHD is “proneness to boredom” which is a major fact in the condition and other hyperactivity/impulsivity-related conditions. It is often not comprehensible of just how painful the experience of boredom can be to people who do not have their brains wired in this way. Reduced GABA and dopamine levels might also explain the phenomenon of instable sleep patterns in individuals with ADHD, often times, as understood from individual reports, these individuals find themselves having to completely wear themselves out before a relaxed state becomes a possible. Of course we could just as well apply the finding of decreased GABA levels and their effects on more general terms as Prof. Daniela Cavetti states in a publication of the Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism.[4]

Maybe this explains why it is so tiring to relax and think about nothing.[5] Daniela Cavetti.

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SERIAL KILLERS: A DISCUSSION OF ETIOLOGY AND PROCESS IN TERMS OF BEHAVIOR THEORY

March 21st, 2011 by Robert DePaolo | Posted in Disorders and Pathologies, Psychology | No Comments » | 2,546 views | Print this Article

ABSTRACT

This article discusses the motives of serial killers from the perspective of behavior theory, implying that notwithstanding environmental, social and familial factors, the offender must ultimately act in terms of a negative feedback-correction paradigm. Diagnostic implications are discussed in that context

The motive of serial killers is a topic that has been discussed from various perspectives ever since 1888, when Jack the Ripper went on his rampage in London’s Whitechapel district. Unfortunately there is still no answer to the question of why certain people commit such deplorable acts. That is not surprising. Over time there have been a vast number and wide variety of violent felons but only a few have been characterized as serial killers. That makes the phenomenon so rare as to be an item of both disdain and fascination. As rational creatures only occasionally disposed to fits of anger, and with legal, social and cultural ways of resolving conflict it is extremely hard for clinicians, law enforcement personnel and lay persons to comprehend why a person would kill at random, and apparently out of sheer habit.

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ESSAY: Dyspraxia, Personality, Pathology Toward a Neuro-functional Clinical Theory

January 10th, 2010 by Robert DePaolo | Posted in Disorders and Pathologies | No Comments » | 5,545 views | Print this Article

ABSTRACT

This article discusses aspects of personality function and psychopathology in terms of neural coordination, specifically with regard to the orchestration of excitation and inhibition networks in the brain. The idea is proposed that human experience, including reason, emotion and attribution is a function of a neural coordination/summation process. As a corollary, it is suggested that the field of clinical psychology might be streamlined with respect to personality typologies, diagnosis and treatment and that ultimately disorders can be considered under the rubric of psychological dyspraxia.

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