Psychopathy vs. Psychosis: the Same but Different Essay

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Abstract Psychopathy and psychosis have been linked together for many years. The psychopath and the psychotic are very different, but in popular films and classic literature, they have been portrayed as being one and the same. Even notorious events in the news and media have failed to decipher the differences between the two. There is no justification for murder in any way, shape or form. However, perhaps better understanding of the conditions that lead to it, and the traits associated with each condition can help people recognize them for what they are. Psychopathy vs. Psychosis: The Same, but Different The psychopathic and psychotic killers are both guilty of murder, but the media’s tendency to link psychopathy with psychosis leads to misconceptions about both conditions. The term psychosis was coined in 1845 and meant to include mental handicaps such Down syndrome and schizophrenia, which are considered genetic defects of the brain. However, despite the fact that it had a specific definition, it soon became synonymous with psychopathy, thus leading to the confusion of the two terms in popular culture. Many people’s concept of the “psycho” or psychotic comes from how they have been portrayed in film and literature. One of the more popular portrayals of madness in my generation comes from the film, “The Silence of the Lambs”, directed by Jonathan Demme, and based on the novel by Thomas Harris. Another character from classic literature that fits most people’s definition of madness is R.M. Renfield from Bram Stoker’s “Dracula”. While they are both considered “psycho” or “evil” and could be lumped into the same category, they are in fact two examples of very different creatures. Hannibal Lecter is an example of psychopathic behavior in popular culture. Dr. Lecter is guilty of the gruesome crime of killing and eating his victims. He is highly

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