What triggers criminals for sudden cold-blooded murders, explains top Psychiatrist

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
Medlarge Featured, Latest, Lifestyle, Top News

The Cold-blooded murders in Indian society have seen an unexpected rise in recent years questioning the collective conscience of the nation. Some murders are so barbaric that they give shivers down in our spines. Of late is Shraddha Walkar’s murder who was killed by her live-in boyfriend Aaftab Poonawala in cold blood. Poonawala was chopped into 35 pieces, stored her remains in his house for months, and dumped them around the city.

Psychologists breakdown the traits, and mental state of cold-blooded killers that enable them to undertake gruesome acts of murder. One explanation for such cognitive dissonance is that serial killers are individuals in whom two minds co-exist- one a rational self, able to successfully navigate the intricacies of acceptable social behaviour and even charm and seduce, the other a far more sinister self, capable of the most unspeakable and violent acts against others. Psychopath often refers to someone with a psychological disorder called as Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD). They broadly fall into the Cluster B Personality Disorders which includes Antisocial Personality Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, Histrionic Personality Disorder and Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Dr. Shabiullah Syyed, Consultant Psychiatrist, Madhukar Rainbow Children’s Hospital, says that Psychopathy is characterized  by diagnostic features such as superficial charm, high intelligence, poor judgment and failure to learn from experience, pathological egocentricity and incapacity for love, lack of remorse or shame, impulsivity, grandiose sense of self-worth, pathological lying, manipulative behavior, poor self-control, promiscuous sexual behavior, juvenile delinquency, and criminal versatility, among others. As a consequence of these criteria, the image of the psychopath is that of a cold, heartless, inhuman being.

Dr Sayyed says that ASPD individuals can suffer emotional pain for a variety of reasons. Psychopaths are at least periodically aware of the effects of their behavior on others and can be genuinely saddened by their inability to control it.

“Social isolation, loneliness, and associated emotional pain in psychopaths may precede violent criminal acts. They believe that the whole world is against them and eventually become convinced that they deserve special privileges or rights to satisfy their desires. As famous psychopathic serial killers Jeffrey Dahmer and Dennis Nilsen expressed, violent psychopaths ultimately reach a point of no return, where they feel they have cut through the last thin connection with the normal world” he said.

Dr Sayyed added further that one thing that can be confusing about ASPD is the phrase ‘antisocial’. Most people might assume this describes someone who is reserved, a loner, keeps to himself, etc. However, this is not the case in ASPD. When we say antisocial in ASPD, it means someone who goes against society, rules, and other behaviors that are more commonplace.

Among other features, the sign of ASPD may include behavior that conflicts with social norms, violating the rights of others and inability to distinguish between right and wrong. People who have ASPD have a higher risk of substance abuse. Research has linked alcohol use to increased aggression in people with ASPD.

“ASPD is more common in men than women. ASPD is a chronic (long-term) condition that seems to improve a bit with age and remittance (no longer showing signs of antisocial behavior) is possible. Mortality rates are also found to be higher in people with ASPD because of their behaviour”, said top Psychiatrist.

While speaking about the reason for ASPD, Dr Sayyed said that its development may involve a combination of environmental and genetic factors. More research needs to be done to understand the intricate genetic aspects of ASPD. Current research estimates that between 40-70 percent of cases may be hereditary. Additionally, some of the environmental triggers of ASPD may include childhood neglect and other adverse experiences, such as childhood abuse. ASPD may also be seen in people who previously received a diagnosis of CD (Conduct Disorder) or ADHD ( Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), doctor explained.

“Its important to mention that diagnosing and treating ASPD presents some unique challenges. Diagnosis can be made by a Psychiatrist and also by Clinical Psychologists. ASPD can be difficult to treat because the person who needs help often doesn’t believe there is a problem with their behavior. As a result, they rarely seek treatment. Treatment wound include medications and psychotherapy designed to the needs of the ASPD individual”, doctor explained.

Dr Sayyed added further, “It is extremely important to recognize hidden suffering, loneliness, and lack of self-esteem as risk factors for violent, criminal behavior in psychopaths. Studying the statements of violent criminal psychopaths like ASPD sheds light on their striking and specific vulnerability and emotional pain. Homicide is a heinous crime on one side but a very complex phenomenon to understand”.