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Diagnosis: Depression and Psychopaths/Sociopaths

Typically depressed clients are suicidal but homicidal to a much lesser degree.

Please look up the diagnosis for psychopaths/sociopaths and compare them to the diagnosis for depression and state the similarities and differences.

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The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) has no diagnostic criteria for an actual diagnosis of Psychopathy, but it is a highly studied area. In the 1830's this disorder was called "moral insanity." By 1900 it was changed to "psychopathic personality." More recently it has been termed "antisocial personality disorder" in the DSM-III and DSM-IV. Some critics have complained that, in the attempt to rely only on 'objective' criteria, the DSM has broadened the concept to include too many individuals. The APD category includes people who commit illegal, immoral or self-serving acts for a variety of reasons and are not necessarily psychopaths (

Many agree that a psychopath/sociopath is not the same as an antisocial personality. Antisocial personalities may or may not be psychopathic. The antisocial personality is primarily a problem involving a failure to respect the right of individuals, the law and rules of society (see DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for Antisocial Personality disorder in attached file). In contrast, Psychopathy involves poor emotional intelligence, the lack of conscience, and an inability to feel attached to people except in terms of their value as a source of stimulation or new possessions. There are many expressions and forms of psychopathy. For instance, a sexual psychopath is one form of a psychopath.

For the most part, a psychopath never remains attached to anyone or anything. They live a "predatory" lifestyle. They feel little or no regret, and little or no remorse - except when they are caught. They need relationships, but see people as obstacles to overcome and be eliminated. If not, they see people in terms of how they can be used. They use people for stimulation, to build their self-esteem and they invariably value people in terms of their material value (money, property, etc.). A psychopath can have high verbal intelligence, but they typically lack "emotional intelligence". They can be ...

Solution Summary

Typically depressed clients are suicidal but homicidal to a much lesser degree. Based on the DSM-IV-TR diagnostic criteria, this solution provides the diagnostic criteria used for a positive diagnosis for psychopaths/sociopaths and then compares them to the diagnosis for depression. It also states the similarities and differences between the two diagnosis. Supplemented with a helpful profile of the psychopath/sociopath.