For years, I’ve lamented the dearth of television spots educating the public about the nature and impact of conscience- and empathy-reducing conditions, such as the Cluster B personality disorders (Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, Histrionic Personality Disorder and Antisocial Personality Disorder) and psychopathy.
I frequently see spots focusing on other mental health conditions, such as depression and bipolar disorder. This is partly because these conditions are prime treatment targets for drug companies, who then have an incentive to run advertisements about them. Perhaps it is also partly because awareness about these conditions poses less of a threat to fundamental cultural beliefs and, thus, they are less controversial to discuss on television.
And of course you can barely turn on the television at all without seeing spots focused on lifestyle issues of all kinds ranging from dry skin to erectile dysfunction.
And yet, the conditions that may affect human relations at the deepest level of all – that may even shape whether our species (and many others) can sustainably survive on this planet – are barely mentioned at all.
This background explains why I was so glad to come across this “Healthy Living” news segment from Denise Dador of Los Angeles’ KABC-TV called “Are you dealing with an ‘almost-psychopath’? Are you one?”
The segment does a good job of helping viewers recognize that psychopaths are not just the sensationalized serial killers we see in the movies, but are everyday people – friends, family members, co-workers – with whom we all interact every day, and who take advantage of and exploit those around them.
It especially focuses on the large proportion of the population that “operates in the gray areas between normalcy and true psychopathic behavior,” those that Dr. Ronald Schouten, an M.D. and J.D. affiliated with Harvard Medical School calls, in his book on the subject, “almost psychopaths.”
It also quotes Schouten’s co-author, criminal defense lawyer James Silver, stating that he believes that about one in seven people fit the “almost psychopath” description. One in seven!
“We’re confident that there are tens of millions of ‘almost-psychopaths’ in the United States. And these are people who you have to deal with.”
The segment goes on to explain how to identify an “almost psychopath” in relationships and at work, why it is so important to be aware of them and how to know if you yourself might be one.
On a lighter note, I found it humorously coincidental that one of the news anchors who introduces the segment is Marc Brown, who some that frequent the Internet might recognize from this popular – and oddly relevant – viral image.
While Brown’s resemblance to the suspect on whom he is reporting makes for a silly joke, the information about “almost psychopaths” makes for anything but.
Kudos to Dador and KABC for investing in educating the public on this crucial issue. Here’s hoping to see many others following suit.
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Categories: Television News
Tags: almost a psychopath, almost psychopaths, antisocial personality disorder, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, cluster b personality disorders, depression, histrionic personality disorder, james silver, narcissistic personality disorder, psychopathy, relationships, ronald schouten, television, television news, work
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