Can Psychopaths be Depressed? (Find out here)


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Page last updated: 20/09/2022

Can Psychopaths be Depressed? (Find out here)

In this article, the question “ Can Psychopaths be Depressed?”, the characteristics of psychopaths, Signs, and symptoms of Depression, types of psychopaths, Similarities, and Differences between Sociopath and Psychopath and with Psychosis, factors leading or resulting in Psychopaths and concluding with few FAQs regarding the topic. 

Can Psychopaths be Depressed?

 Yes, they can be Depressed because:

  • They experience less love and nurture from their caregivers.
  • Less emotional growth and delay.
  • Received less empathy and compassion from others. 
  • Lack of Conscience resulting in a high risk of cruel and harmful behaviour 
  • conscience is not developed. 
  • Traumatic life events.
  • They do have emotional feelings.
  • Failure to maintain an energy-consuming lifestyle
  • Burnout 
  • The predominance of Negative Affect


According to the definition of the American Psychiatric Association, Psychopath is similar to Antisocial Personality Disorder. A psychopath is those individuals who have no feeling and concern for other people and don’t think about the future. 


It is a mood disorder that is often called Unipolar Depression or Major Depressive Disorder. It is one of the most common and prevalent mental disorders.

According to the American Psychiatric Association (2013), the two key symptoms of Depression are Depressed mood and the loss of pleasure and interest, Anhedonia during the same 2-week period. Apart from these two symptoms, Depressive patients also undergo other symptoms such as insomnia and hypersomnia, psychomotor agitation, loss of energy, worthlessness, diminished ability to think and concentrate, and recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal ideation. 

Can Psychopaths be Depressed? (Find out here)

Sign and symptoms of Depression

Some of the sign and symptoms associated with Depression are:

  • Depressed and Low mood
  • Anhedonia
  • Feeling of hopelessness
  • Worthlessness and Helplessness
  • Lack of concentration
  • Thoughts on ending life
  • Difficulty in sleep
  • Irritability and Agitation
  • Fluctuation in appetite
  • Difficulty in decision making.

What are the signs and symptoms of Psychopathy?

The following lists are the signs and symptoms of an individual with Psychopathy:

  • Socially Irresponsible and Violent Behaviour
  • Disregards for the right of other
  • Inability to distinguish between right and wrong
  • Desire to lie often
  • Manipulation and hurting others
  • Problem with law 
  • Disregards to other’s safety and responsibility 
  • Take risk and reckless behavior.
  • Deceitful
  • Lack of deep emotional connection
  • Aggressive
  • Proneness to anger and short temper
  • Abusive 

Factors contributing to Psychopaths

Some of the major factors resulting in the development of Psychopathy are:

Interpersonal Factors

Interpersonal factors like a sense of grandiosity, superficial charm, lying, manipulation, and grandiosity result in the development of Psychopaths.

Affective Factors

This domain includes a lack of guilt and conscience, irresponsibility, lack of empathy, failure to accept and abide by social responsibility and norms.

Lifestyle Factors

It is comprised of a parasitic lifestyle, a lack of realistic goals, impulsiveness, and irresponsibility. 

Antisocial Factors

Poor behavioral control, behavioural problem, and delinquent behaviour, and vulnerability to criminal behaviour are all under Anti-social factors that result in psychopaths. 

Major types of Psychopath

There are major classifications of a psychopath that are officially recognized and acknowledged. These are:

  • Primary Psychopath: 

They are known to be emotionally strong, manipulative, avoid risk, and don’t experience fear or anxiety. There is a strong correlation or association with Anti-Social and Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Such people don’t experience guilt at all.

  • Secondary Pscyhoapath:

They are emotionally unstable. Despite their presence in the workplace, there is a high association with criminal behaviourbehaviourbehaviour. They are impulsive, hostile, aggressive, and self-harming. 

Contrary to a primary psychopath, they engaged in risky decision making and are generally disorganized.

They also fail to empathize and exhibit a great fear, however, due to the underlying emotional disruption or disturbance, it is shadowed by aggression and hostility. It is a better and stronger predictor or indicator of depression.

Primary and Secondary Psychopaths are positively correlated with Depression. 

  • Distempered Psychopath:

Such people have a low threshold for boredom and are excited and impulsive by nature. Owing to that, they engage in dangerous and risky games and sports. It is predominantly found in males. 

  • Charismatic Psychopath:

They manipulate their charms and try to take advantage of it. They are liars and talk to others over everything. The underlying reason behind their charm is to mask the antisocial self to get rid of things. 

  • Egocentric-Impulsive Psychopath

Some character of such people is they are manipulative, don’t stick by their long term goals, are focused and oriented to personal gains and are ego-centric. 

They are also narcissists and perceive themselves as innocent while blaming others for their failure and problems. There is a high correlation between such people and  Borderline Disorder

Differences between Sociopath and Psychopath

  • The key difference between Sociopath and Psychopath is Conscience. Psychopaths lack conscience while Sociopaths have a conscience, but it is very weak. 
  • In the case of a Psychopath, if he/she steals money, he/she doesn’t have any moral realms while sociopaths after stealing money, do feel guilty or bad, however, they don’t stop this behaviour. 
  • Sociopaths are less likely to play along and behave as if they are uninterested in others rather with themselves. So, they are “ Hot-Headed” while Psychopaths are more calculative and are “cold-hearted.”  They preplan things and then use aggression. In all cases or barriers to reach out to their goal, they’ll make sure to get it. 
  • Researches have shown that the brain of a psychopath is different from normal people which might also display itself in bodily functions. While it is normal for people to get anxious, sweat, and fear when exposed to violent scenes, contrary Psychopaths would be calm and enjoy it. They remain fearless.

Similarities between Sociopath and Psychopath

Both Psychopath and Sociopath lack Empathy, that they are unable to put themselve in other’s shoes and understand them. Their concern and regards for others are low and absent.

They are both not always violent despite media portrayal or depiction of them as villains or abusers. There are a few cases of people with underlying Anti-Social Personality Disorder to be Violent, however, not all of them are violent. They use reckless behavior and are manipulative to seek what they want. 

Difference between Psychopath and Psychosis

Although the terms are used interchangeably, both are very different and serious mental health problems. Someone with a psychotic lost grip of reality while a psychopath fails to understand others and behave in an Anti-Social manner.

Psychosis is a condition while Psychopathy is a personality trait. 

Can Psychopath be Depressed?

Either way, not all Psychopaths are Depressed while there can be cases of Depression in psychopaths. It depends on their IQ Level, stages of maturation, Severity of the score on PCL-R, Psychopathy Checklist-Revised. 

They are vulnerable to suffer from Depression since they are the victim of emotional attachment and love from their primary caregiver. Along with that, their violent and impulsive behavior and lack of conscience result in avoidance of others contributing to low emotional bonds and concern from others. 

Certain traumatic events from their life precipitate or contribute to depressive feelings. 

They also experience a wide range of traumatic emotions paid like everyone else. Despite their impulsivity and anti-social tendencies, there is an underlying wish for love and care from others. 

Depressive Psychopaths

These are people who are offended by their fast and are apprehensive about their future. They are severely disturbed than the psychopaths without depressive episodes. The intellectual functioning is poorer than the former group. Apart from that, they experience recurring suicidal thoughts and more likely to engage in criminal behaviour. 

FAQs: Can Psychopaths be Depressed

Can Psychopaths be sad?

Yes, Psychopaths do have feelings and they do experience all kinds of emotions and feelings except that they demonstrate delay or lack of certain emotions like anxiety, fear, or sadness. Al the other kinds of emotions are experienced by them similar to us. 

Can Psychopaths feel the love?

Yes, they are not unaffected by love. Psychopaths do crave love and feel abandoned and secluded when avoided by others. And Psychopaths can also be taught to improve social relationships and reduce their psychopathic personality and traits. 

Can a Psychopath be cured?

No, there is no cure for Psychopaths since it is a personality disorder. No medication can treat it because it’s not a mental disorder. Many of their personality sustained and developed into their adult life. Treatments are proven to be beneficial, however, no cure for it. 

The underlying principle is that brain structural abnormalities are resulting in their deviant or disruptive behaviour such as abnormalities in their limbic system, anterior cingulate, etc. 

Are Psychopaths born or created?

Born. Psychopaths are born while Sociopaths are made. Although there is the role of biological and environmental in the development of psychopaths, there is an underlying genetic inheritance that makes an individual vulnerable to Psychopathy.

Are Psychopaths aware of their condition?

Yes, Psychopaths do know or are aware of their behavioural effect on others and even get saddened or disturbed by their failure to control such behaviour. However, unlike normally functional individuals, the extent of understanding or realization is lower due to the absence of empathy.

Is Psychopath evil?

No, irrespective of the media portrayal of Psychopath as VIolent or Serial killer, not all of them are violent and killer, Many often display psychopathic traits to milder degrees and are friendly.

Are Psychopaths deeply emotional?

Yes, they can be deeply emotional and studies have often proved the same. They shut down their emotions to effectively cope up with the circumstance and behave to be impulsive and avoidant. 

Are Psychopaths happy?

Yes, they are happy in general since they always make sure to get what they want through manipulations or masking. With their superficial charm and mask, psychopath ensures to reach their goal and needs despite the setbacks and barriers.

However, there are also reported low levels of well-being in highly psychopathic individuals resulting from their low and poor quality of social relationships.  

Can Psychopath love their family?

Yes, just like healthy functioning individuals, Psychopaths love and trust their significance one including parents, children, caregivers, and their spouse, however, they only have difficulty in trusting and relying on others and strangers.

What are the signs of Psychopathy?

Following are the signs of Psychopathy and if an individual display such symptoms, one should take note and caution of it:

Socially irresponsible behaviour
Socially deviant behaviour
Manipulating others.
Recurring thoughts of hurting others
Breaking law and social norms

Is psychopathy a mental illness?

No, it is not a mental disorder rather a condition for the diagnosis of Anti-Sial Personality Disorder.


In this article, the question, “Can Psychopaths be Depressed” is answered along with characters of Psychopath, Types of Psychopath, Similarities, and Differences between Sociopath, and wrapped up with some FAQs about this subject.

Some useful sites for further information:


Martens, W. H. J. (2014, 10 7). The Hidden Suffering of the Psychopath. Psychiatric Times.

Pedersen, T. (2018, 08 8). Are Some Psychopaths Deeply Emotional? PsychCentral.

Robinson, K. M. (2014, 08 204). Sociopath v. Psychopath: What’s the Difference? Web MD.

Sram, Z. (2017). The comorbidity of Psychopathy and Depression: Across Different Ethnic and Sex Group. The International Journal of Indian Psychology, 4(3), 2349-3429.

Willemsen, J. (2011). Psychopathy and lifetime experiences of depression. PubMed. gov, 21(4), 279-294.

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