The 10 differences between psychopath and psychotic

The mind is an object of complex study, which sciences like psychology and psychiatry attempt to explain, and even more so when we are faced with conditions that hinder a person’s functioning or cause discomfort and of suffering.

In an attempt to analyze the peculiarities of these types of mental functioning and disorders, a rich and varied vocabulary has been generated, but which at times for those who are not used to using these terms can be confusing. An example is given between the terms psychotic and psychopath, which, beyond the phonetic similarities, have little in common.

Let’s see in which the terms psychopath and psychotic are differentiated, Throughout this article. Because no, they don’t mean the same thing.

    What is a psychopath?

    To begin to be able to stipulate the existence of differences between the two conditions, it is useful to make a small definition of each of them and their main characteristics.

    This is called psychopathy, a condition in which a remarkable lack or absence of empathy, emotional disaffection, absence of guilt and insensitivity to the needs and feelings of others, tendency to lie and deceit, as well as to achieving their own satisfaction regardless of their consequences, instability, parasitic lifestyle with their environment, impulsiveness, irresponsibility, inability to follow and to maintain a plan life, little behavioral control and little respect for social norms.

    There is also usually a very small and volatile emotional sphere, often classifying their emotions as protoemotions.

    Outraged, they are distinguished by their great capacity for seduction and manipulation. In general, others are often indifferent (although in some cases they may feel respect or esteem for very specific and close people) and are often seen as a way to achieve their goals.

    Although psychopathy is particularly known for cases of serial killers and other blood crimes, the truth is that not all psychopaths have belligerent and criminal behavior. There are also soft-lipped psychopaths, who generally tend to seek positions of power and are often found in the upper echelons of the business world or even at the political level.

    It is also common for certain unusual behaviors to show up in childhood, such as animal abuse and mutilation.

    Clarify the term psychotic

    When we talk about the term psychotic we are referring to a type of mental disorder or mental disorder characterized primarily by the presence of a rupture or division of the mind or psyche with reality, Which forms next to the neuroses one of the main large groups of types of mental disorders.

    Those who suffer from a psychotic type disorder suffer from a certain type of condition in which they usually suffer from perceptual disappointments, that is, perceptions without a real object which are essentially a mental projection perceived to be coming from within. ‘outside. These alterations in perception are what we call hallucinations..

    It is also common that delusions often arise from such perceptions: false and improbable beliefs or ideas in relation to reality or a part of it that are held with conviction and are very resistant to change, regardless of “ l existence of evidence against or support of the media.

    Hallucinations and delusions are among the most common and well-known symptoms of psychotic disorders, but in this type of disorder other symptoms may appear such as leakage of ideas, inconsistency and loss of logic in thinking, Very strong emotional lability, behavioral disturbances, attention problems, reduced reasoning ability, catatonia, emotional flattening, restlessness, drowsiness, anhedonia and / or social difficulties.

    It is a type of serious mental disorder which generates a great impact and an alteration in the life of the patient and which generally appears in the form of epidemics, but which although it does not have curative treatment if it can be treated in this way that he can lead a normal life.

    Differences between psychopath and psychotic

    The concepts of psychopath and psychotic are sometimes phonetically confused, but as we have seen, they are not conceptually very similar to each other. that’s why one can find a large number of differences between the terms psychopath and psychotic, Some of which are listed below.

    1. Hallucinations and delusions

    One of the differences between people with psychopathy and those with psychotic disorders is found in one of the key conditions of the latter: the presence of hallucinations and delusions.

    While the presence of disappointments or perceptual hallucinations and / or delusions is one of the main criteria that would tell us about a psychotic disorder, these are not present in psychopaths, Which do not suffer from any type of alteration in perception.

      2. Capacity for empathy

      Another major difference is found in one of the hallmarks of psychopathy: the lack of empathy. Psychopaths are characterized primarily by the absence or minimal ability to put themselves in the other’s shoes, to understand and to feel their emotions and feelings.

      however, this lack of empathy is not one of the defining characteristics of psychotic disorders (Although in some cases this can occur, and especially when there is associated cognitive impairment).

      3. Break with reality

      Schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders are understood as alterations which cause a rupture in the patient’s mind with the reality around him, so that the person finds himself in a situation which prevents him from acting coherently. with this reality.

      This is not the case with psychopaths, the appreciation of reality at the cognitive level is in almost all cases quite clear.

      4. Emotionalism

      Another differential aspect between psychopath and psychotic can be observed on an emotional level. Specifically, the psychopath has an emotivity which, although not empty of content, is generally superficial and superficial, often seen as an experience of proto-emotions or very basic emotions without fully developing this sphere.

      The psychotic patient in this regard can be much more variable: He may be extremely labile and suddenly experience very intense emotions, or in other cases very marked emotional flattening and anhedonia may be found (although before these alterations they experienced a wider range of emotions) .

      5. Liability

      Due precisely to what we discussed in the previous point, in the case of a psychopathic and psychotic legal process, they have a different legal consideration since they start from different points.

      And it is that when a person with a psychotic type problem is triggered by an epidemic, their perception of the world is changed so that they can emit responses that they would not have if you had not suffered from it. ‘perceptual alterations.

      like that, some of his actions may be completely beyond his control. This could mean that in a criminal trial in which they were shown to be acting under the effects of a psychotic epidemic, they could be considered unaccountable.

      In contrast, the psychopathic subject has a clear cognitive awareness of what is happening around him and has sufficient volitional capacity to be aware of what he is doing at all times.

      Thus, in the case of psychopaths, we would in almost all cases be before the subjects attributable to any crime that commits, so they enjoy the full capacity to decide and understand their behavior and consequences (Although on a cognitive rather than an emotional level).

      6. Difficulties in adapting to society

      Although this difference today is not as noticeable as the advancement of treatment for psychotic disorders makes it possible to lead a normal life, one of the main differences between the two concepts is their different capacities to adapt to society.

      Typically, the population with a certain type of psychotic disorder usually suffers from some type of social adjustment problem, either due to the symptomatology or the social stigma that still generates this type of disorder.

      However, in the case of psychopaths, they are usually much better suited and accepted by society, even if only on a superficial level. In fact, however there are subtypes of psychopathy in which there is social withdrawalIt has generally been found that a large number of people with psychopathy are very attractive and charismatic (although their personal interaction is often very superficial and utilitarian).

      7. Physical appearance

      Although this point is somewhat relative as it depends on many factors, in some cases it can be observed that if people with psychotic disorders are often left behind and put aside their self-image (Especially when there are cognitive impairments), psychopaths, on the other hand, tend to be extremely cautious, partly due to the presence of feelings of self-worth and grandiosity and partly because it facilitates their tendency to seduce and employ others. as instruments.

      8. Cognitive difficulties and alterations

      In addition to the above, another of the points on which the two problems differ is the fact that if the psychopath has a preserved general cognition and does not have problems at the cognitive level, in psychotic disorders depending on the case, we observe negative symptoms, which they usually involve some mental deterioration (Impoverishment of speech and thought, loss of coherence and logic …).

      It is also very common for the population suffering from psychotic disorders to present alterations at the attentional level compared to the non-clinical population.

      9. Mental disorder or not

      A final fundamental difference between psychopath and psychotic is whether or not we are dealing with a mental disorder. In the case of psychotic disorders, it is clear that we are dealing with a mental disorder or a disorder it greatly modifies the behavior and the perception of those who suffer from it and who generate suffering and limit its normal operation.

      However, and despite alterations such as the inability to empathize and engage, instability, and very limited emotivity, psychopathy is not considered a mental disorder per se.

      10. Treatment

      While no condition currently benefits from “curative” treatment, the truth is that they also differ in what can be achieved therapeutically.

      Although both are achievable, in the case of psychotic disorders medication use and medical prescription follow-up along with psychotherapy can help in large part to the fact that these people can lead normal lives, even without symptoms.

      When it comes to psychopathy, although there are various treatments offered and implemented that may show some help, it is usually a condition considered to be irreversible in which methodologies do not yet generate major changes.

      In some cases, it has been possible to increase the capacity for empathy through training and some behaviors may have changed, although in general this is at a cognitive rather than a sense level.

      However, in general, psychopaths tend to have a high resistance to the performance of therapies, in addition to observing a high degree of situation manipulation and therapy by them.

      Bibliographical references:

      • Buckels, EE; Jones, DN; Paulhus, DL (2013). “Behavioral confirmation of everyday sadism”. Psychological sciences. 24 (11): 2201 – 2209.
      • Marcus, DK; John, SL; Edens, JF (2004). A taxometric analysis of the psychopathic personality. Journal of Abnormal Psychology 113 (4): 626-35.

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