Jodi Arias Case Inspires Public Recognition, Television Discussions of Empathy-Reducing Conditions

Posted by admin on April 23, 2013

I’ve long lamented the fact that the public is not nearly aware enough about empathy-reducing conditions such as psychopathy, Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) and Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). While a growing proportion of people have at least heard of these disorders – as well as related ones like sociopathy and antisocial personality disorder – they still too often remain unclear about precisely what they are and how they differ from each other. And in so many cases where these disorders should be considered as factors, they aren’t even mentioned in media reports or public discussions.

One of the reasons this website was started is to document the evidence that this situation may be changing for the better. Awareness about these conditions is starting to spread and people are even starting to talk about them in cases where they should be rightfully suspected.

Perhaps no case has demonstrated this more than that of the Jodi Arias trial.

In fact, when it comes to speculation about Jodi Arias’ condition, the pendulum may even have swung too far in the other direction. Not only are people widely discussing whether she might be psychopathic or have NPD or BPD, but some are emphatic that they are certain about what her proper diagnosis would be despite never having met or examined her.

Perhaps this is just a necessary phase before another correction brings us to a happy medium where people recognize circumstances in which these conditions should be suspected but are also cautious about jumping to conclusions.

In any case, last night, I saw a panel discussion about Jodi Arias on the Dr. Drew On Call television show on Headline News. Below is a video of some of that segment. Even though this is just a two minute snippet of a longer discussion, a lot of welcome things happen even in this two minutes. Both psychopathy and Borderline Personality Disorder are mentioned. Moreover, there is actually a bit of intelligent discussion about them, the differences in their origins and how they develop over the lifespan and which one might apply in the case of Arias. And a larger point is made about the importance of recognizing the signs and symptoms of these disorders in people when they are young so as to intervene earlier.

I firmly believe that the public should be educated about these disorders to the point that they are conscious of when they are possible factors in a situation, whether one they see on the news or one they are living in their own lives. I also believe the public should respect the fact that valid and reliable diagnoses are very difficult to make from afar and should, whenever possible, be left to mental health professionals that have actually examined the person in question.

But, regardless, I’m glad to see some coverage of these conditions along with considerations of their differential diagnoses on a television program discussing a relevant case. This is the type of discussion I’d like to see on television more often regarding a wider array of cases that may be influenced by ponerologic factors.

To close, here is one more video with Jane Velez-Mitchell, also of Headline News, discussing with clinical psychologist Seth Meyers how important it is to distinguish Borderline Personality Disorder from another potential diagnosis, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), in regards to Arias.

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Categories: Crime, Television News, Television Shows

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