How to treat a psychopath?
Psychopathic personality, besides being a legal problem is a behavioral disorder and social problem. Hardened measures in form of capital punishment, imprisonment of psychopaths or depriving them of essential needs don’t show favorable results. Proper socio-psychological measures need to be taken for providing them relief from their problem and rehabilitating them.
Psychopaths are emotionally disturbed personalities. During the episodes of perturbed behavior, some anti-convulse or depressant drugs like phenothiazine, delaine etc. may help in stabilizing their behavior and reducing antisocial trends. But drug treatment is only temporary and may have side effects.
Under psychological measures psychotherapy has been tried, but results have not been encouraging. The failure of psychotherapy largely stems from the lack of sociopaths cooperation with the therapist who is unable to win his confidence as the latter doesn’t trust the therapist.
More recently behavior therapists have dealt successfully with specific antisocial behaviors and modern behavior therapy techniques appear to often promise of more effective treatment.
However the use of behavior therapy in such cases has a disadvantage that we are dealing with a total life style and not a specific case of maladaptive behavior like phobia. Further we are dealing with a man who is adopt in fooling others and so precautions must be taken to see whether change in behavior is permanent or just a trick played by psychopath to fool the therapist.
Fortunately many psychopathic personalities tend to improve after 40 years possibly due to weaker biological drives, better insight into self-defeating behavior and cumulative effect of social conditioning. Such individuals are called burn out psychopaths. However psychopaths create much havoc by the time they reach 40 and even afterwards if they don’t change.