Is it easy to tell if someone is a psychopath or not?
Dr Sohom Das, 44, a forensic psychiatrist based in London, has a channel called A psychologist for aching mindswhere he covers a range of topics relating to mental health and crime.
His YouTube bio describes him as a professional consulting forensic psychiatrist and expert witness discussing his own (anonymized) real-life cases.
And when it comes to the question of identifying psychopaths, his biography suggests that he is one of the people best qualified to ask the question, saying: “Dr. Das (MBChB, BSc, MSc, MRCPsych) has “personally assessed hundreds of patients in secure prisons”. Psychiatric services and courts locked down across the UK.
It can be difficult to identify psychopaths at first, according to an expert, because they can at first seem extremely charming (stock image)
In a YouTube video titled Spotting a psychopath: is it EASY or DIFFICULTDr. Das shares his thoughts on the subject.
In the clip, Dr. Das – who has worked with many formal clinical psychopaths – reveals that there is one question he is regularly asked during interviews and podcasts.
This question is: “How do you spot a psychopath?” How do you know if someone you recently met is a psychopath?
The American Psychological Association (APA) states that psychopath is an old name for someone with antisocial personality disorder.
Describing some of the ways the disorder can manifest itself in people’s behavior, the APA lists repeated violations of the law; exploitation of others; falsity; impulsiveness; aggressiveness; reckless disregard for the safety of self and others; and irresponsibility – accompanied by a lack of guilt, remorse and empathy.
What is a “psychopath”?
According to the American Psychological Association (APA), psychopath is an old name for someone with antisocial personality disorder.
Describing the presentation of the disorder, he says it is the presence of a chronic and pervasive disposition to disregard and violate the rights of others.
Manifestations include repeated violations of the law, exploitation of others, deception, impulsiveness, aggressiveness, reckless disregard for the safety of oneself and others, and irresponsibility, accompanied by lack of of guilt, remorse and empathy.
The disorder is known by different names, including dyssocial personality, psychopathic personality, and sociopathic personality disorder.
It is one of the most studied and difficult to treat personality disorders.
Speaking during his video, Dr Das says: “My answer is: they are actually very, very difficult to spot, almost by definition.”
Explaining why this is the case, the forensic psychiatrist says psychopaths are “really good at playing the role of chameleons and blending in.”
On top of that, he adds that they’re “charming…they’re friendly…they’re entertaining.”
“So I don’t think you can really spot a psychopath, at least the first few times you meet them,” says Dr. Das.
However, this necessarily continues to be the case, as the expert explains.
He continues: “As time goes on, you start to realize that they are quite manipulative.
“So they’re using you for something.”
“They are not your friends because they like your conversation and they like your jokes.
“They are your friends because they want to get something from you one way or another.
“They’re trying to manipulate you.”
And it’s not just you who risks being the target of this manipulation, he explains in the video.
Dr. Das continues: “You may also notice that they are doing this to other people around them.”
This can manifest as them having lots of friends and contacts because they are friendly and charming.
However, these bonds don’t necessarily last because, as Dr. Das says, “they use people and then move on.”
He continues: “They don’t have any type of long-term friends that they connect with emotionally.
“They just have people that they use to get something and then move on.”