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When considering criminals who commit the greatest crimes such as murder, it is typically wondered whether the criminal may have a psychological issue that led him/her to commit such a crime. According to Dr. Rhonda Freeman, that while not all criminals fall on the spectrum of psychopathy, many of them do. Psychopathy is a personality disorder and its symptoms are known to be associated with some kind of underlying neurological disorder. This being said, psychopathy can be treated, and through the exploration of research pertaining to psychopathy and its treatments, one can determine that it is not in fact curable, but rather manageable.
To cure psychopathy would mean to completely rid a person of its existence within them. When focusing on psychopathy in regards to criminals, it is often wondered if these people can somehow be rehabilitated in a way that allows them to re-enter society without being a risk to the safety of others. Christopher J. Patrick has gathered research and developed the Handbook of Psychopathy. Patrick includes a study where sufferers of psychopathy are intensely treated over the course of 20 weeks, with all subjects showing a decrease of violence-assuming underlying aggression as well. What this proves is that through treatment psychopathy, can be managed and moderated. What is not mentioned is any evidence that the presence of the disorder has dissipated from the subjects being studied.
Although many studies have been performed in hopes of finding a cure for psychopathy, in his chapter in, Psychopathy: Theory, Research and Implications for Society, Losel (1998) emphasizes that no sound treatment has been discovered or developed. Though progress is continuously made, there is a consistent recognition amongst scholars and researchers that a true cure to psychopathy, if it does exist, is far from being discovered. A more recent study shows that treatment in younger people exhibiting signs of psychopathy is more successful than the treatment of adults.
As general statement, youths are more prone to manipulation and influence, therefore it is not surprising that this study shows optimal results in treatment of psychopathy occurring twice as often when young people were treated in comparison with adults. Lisa Marshall, and her colleague David Cooke, looked at the childhoods of criminals both with and without this personality disorder. They found consistent influences from family and society that seemed to influence the child into becoming a criminal. This supports the idea that early diagnosis and the treating of psychopathy in children may be the key to avoiding future criminal behavior.
Through the research of experts and scholars, it is clear that society has a high demand for a cure to psychopathy. What is also clear is that while psychopathy is treatable, it is not necessarily curable at this time. Research is constantly being conducted in hopes of finding a methodical approach to the treatment of psychopathy, but for now, the reality is that psychopathy, as it is a personality disorder, can only be treated accordingly.