Monday, March 21, 2011

Psychopathy an Attention Deficit?

I found a most interesting article that reviews some startling new theories about Psychopathy:

New research by Joseph P. Newman at the University of Wisconsin suggests that an attention deficit, rather than an inability to feel emotion, may be what makes people psychopaths.

Come again? Isn't that what we learn about ADD and ADHD?

A little further the article continues:

Of course, as Newman notes in a New Scientist news piece, one of the hallmark problems surrounding psychopathy, aside from clinical definition, is that it is ostensibly untreatable. The implication here appears to be that if the Newman hypothesis proved correct, psychopathy would be treatable in a manner similar to a “learning disability”. Given the use of language such as “distraction” and “attention-related deficit” throughout the news piece, it would appear these researchers are suggesting that some ADHD-like symptoms are present in psychopaths with respect to moral feelings. This definitional move would then presumably make the condition treatable by stimulants such as Adderal and Ritalin. It will be interesting to see whether this implied turn into the pharmaceutical magisterium will be continued by further studies, and whether these taken collectively will result in psychopathy’s inclusion as a psychiatrically legitimated, treatable mental disorder in the upcoming DSM-V.

Whereas there are valid points brought forth the author of this article, the hypothesis he refers to is absolutely stunning.

Guys, there is HOPE after all. What we need is a good daily supply of amphetamine!


ZKM said...

I've dabbled in a plethora of stimulants and have not found them to make me more empathetic. They actually seem to enhance my more apathetic tendencies. I talk more, get into more discussions and debates but emotionally they make me even flatter than usual. *shrugs* The thing about drugs though is they really do have different effects from person to person.

The ADD theory sounds premature and a bit far reaching. Sure, a common trait among psychopaths is easy boredom- but the difference between ADD and Sociopathy is very blatantly obvious. Psychopaths are often known for their intense focus. The ADD thought process is often disjointed, much like dyslexia and would make it exceedingly difficult to do all of the horrible things those Sociopath Survivor websites whine about.

I can see the learning disability connection, but often such disabilities are accompanied by lapses in certain thought processes that I haven't really noticed mentioned among psychologists, or my own observation thus far. But I suppose we'll see. Everyone, just go score some speed and get back to me with your personal findings.

Anonymous said...

I think both of you are missing a big point in the article.

This definitional move would then presumably make the condition treatable by stimulants such as Adderal and Ritalin.

was written by the blog author, not Dr. Newman. Nowhere in his (Newman's) conclusions are there mentions of using stimulants for treatment. It was the blog author's speculation.

I personally think Newman is on it here, calling it an attention deficit issue, but just because one pill takes care of sneezing from one ailment doesn't mean it will for another, you catch my drift?

Not to mention, if stimulants, namely amphetamines were the actual proper application to treat it, Christ, there would be a lot of "sharing" your daily pills in the joint, wouldn't you say? :P

It's an interesting potential, a pill for a cure, of all things.

Anonymous said...

This Link is the actual article, by the way. You need Adobe Reader to view it, a simple free download.

Zhawq said...

As I say in MY article, the author of the review has valid points. It's Newman who's far reaching.

My point is we don't have an attention deficit. If anything it's the contrary. However, we focus on other things that do normal people, not because we lack attention, but because we lack some of the emotions it would take to generate that kind of focus.

What we do have of emotions generate focus incredibly well, there's no two ways about it.

MrBlake said...

Lol. This one made me chuckle.

"I think both of you are missing a big point in the article."

Nah, honey, I saw it. ;)

(And obviously Zhawq saw it - you can see that from what he writes about the ARTICLE's AUTHOR having VALID points.)

But hey, aint easy to see what someone means all the time, I'm witcha there. *s*

Anonymous said...

Agree totally with you zhawq - though I do wonder if they aren't onto a piece of the puzzle. On high doses of ritalin I am far less irratable and far more sociable - I have in the past while on it considered that it does make me more "normal" - though to think it is a cure is pretty laughable. Can just imagine me getting blood thirsty with the body pumped up on medical grade speed, would be a ball. Visions of the movie natural born killers are flooding my mind

Time is ticking said...

ZKM - that's the exact effect Ritalin gives to those with ADHD.

Let me add, as someone with ADHD - we can focus intensively on things we find stimulating and interesting. Infact I can go 16 hours straight not eating, going the toilet, NOTHING when i'm on something incredibly interesting and stimulating.

I've met two types of 'psychopaths' (I guess there are also two terms for this, psychopath and sociopath). One was not impulsive, had a better memory and was more logical & calculating - almost like a character with aspergers. The other was very adhd-like.

Anonymous said...

I've been using 20mg of adderall twice every day, for a year now. All it does is make me procrastinate more, and shy away from decision making. Before adderall at least I got things done, because of my impulsiveness. It seems to me that adderall will eventually be subscribed to us psychopaths, but for the sole purpose of sedating us.