17 May 2017

Child Psychopathy Can Be Managed With Cutting Edge Treatment

It has been known for a while now that a significant share of individuals who as adults would be classified as pyschopaths have had that traits since at least age 3-4 and probably congenitally (the etiology of psychopathy is unknown but is believed to involve the limbic system in general and the amygdala, in particular).

A story in The Atlantic magazine discusses two programs that have been successful in helping kids with this condition manage it. It doesn't cure the condition, although there is some hope that childhood treatment may alter its progression. But, it does use psychological hacks flowing from an understanding of how psychopathy changes a person behaviorally to tame a child's destructive and dangerous tendencies, and to channel the child into more pro-social behavior.

The article is rich, credible, consistent with other writing on the topic and worth time to read, even though it is lengthy.

Until now, no really proven treatment programs existed. The condition is present in about 1% of kids, comparable in frequency to schizophrenia, bipolar personality and autism spectrum conditions. But, because its connotations are (rightfully) so horrible, there hasn't been a social movement to help those who suffer from it in the same way that there has for those other conditions. For the most part, the existing default approach has been to address this conditions through the ordinary criminal justice system, both for juveniles and adults, by imposing long periods of incarceration or capital punishment.

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