Can psychopaths get depressed? (+How they present it)


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Page last updated: 10/11/2022

This article will discuss if people with the diagnosis of a psychopath can develop depression. For that, the article will discuss what does it mean to be a psychopath, and what depression is. And after that, the article will show the specificity of depression in psychopaths.

Can psychopaths get depressed?

Yes, a person with the diagnosis of a psychopath can become depressed. But what is important to keep in mind is that psychopaths can express sadness and depression differently than a person without that diagnosis. To better understand that, let’s discuss what does it mean to be a psychopath and what depression is.

What does it mean that you are a psychopath? 

A psychopath personality disorder is a clinical diagnosis. People with that disorder can be extremely charming, and intelligent. They are people that can be involved in risky behaviors, with an inability to feel remorse or shame.

They have a great sense of self-worth and are often manipulative, as well as selfish. Psychopaths are impulsive, egocentric, antisocial, and are not able to love. Of course, they can love their spouses, parents, and children. But they feel and express it in their particular way.

There is a huge misconception that all psychopaths are violent and tend to be criminals. This is a terrible generalization, that keeps alive the stigma against people with a psychopathic personality disorder.

They can be an extremely productive part of society, and since they get less emotional, they are usually people that work extremely well in stressful situations. 

What is depression?

Depression is a mental illness that causes the person to experience intense sadness. Not only that, a person with depression loses their energy and their interest in things they used to love. Along with that, they can have difficulty focusing, lower self-esteem, and decreased sense of self-worth.

Depression can happen for many reasons. It can happen because a person is going through a traumatic experience, such as a divorce or the loss of a loved one. Aside from that, having a family history of depression or having gone through a previous depressive episode, can make it easier for you to develop depression.

It can also happen because there is an imbalance in the person’s brain. A person is considered depressed when they continually experience its symptoms for more than 2 weeks. And even though everyone can experience depression in different ways, the main symptoms of depression are:

  • Change in eating pattern
  • Change in sleeping pattern
  • Irritability
  • Isolation
  • Excessive crying or inability to cry even when you feel like it
  • Self-harm
  • Thought of death or suicidal thoughts
Can psychopaths get depressed? (+How they present it)

How does depression manifest itself in psychopaths? 

People may think it might be impossible for psychopaths to develop depression. That is because they are unable to experience guilt or remorse, emotions that are often present in people with depression. 

But in psychopaths and people without that diagnosis, it is important to keep in mind that depression manifests itself in different forms from one person to another. And although most people with depression present intense sadness, to some, irritability is usually the most common symptom. 

People also assume that they are unable to experience any emotions, which is not true. They can feel joy, anger, or even disgust. Psychopaths can feel insecure and inferior to others, and that is when they tend to act arrogantly. 

With all this said, it is possible to affirm that psychopaths can experience depression. But its manifestation is different. They usually show depression through a higher level of irritability or aggressiveness. 

As for the antisocial behavior that is usually common in people with depression, research has shown that in psychopaths it is related to a defense mechanism against the feelings depression can bring. 

It is important to understand how depression manifests itself in the populations to better set their treatment. For people with Psychopath personality disorder, to cope with depression it might be important to establish a list of tasks and go through them.

Not only that, they should work on maintaining their self-care. That means trying to exercise, and keep a healthy eating and sleeping pattern so the irritability doesn’t get too intense. Along with that, they should keep on activities that seem positive to them.

And finally, if you realize you are depressed, it might be important to look for professional help. Therapy will give you an outlet to discuss your feelings and better ways to deal with them along with that, keep in touch with your support network.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): Can psychopaths get depressed? 

How do I know I am dealing with a psychopath? 

There are some signs you can discover you are dealing with someone with a psychopath personality disorder. They are people that are usually uncaring, meaning that they can seem cold-hearted, and not empathetic. 

In the same way, they have shallow emotions. This means they are not incapable of experiencing all emotions, but rather that social emotions, such as guilt, fear, or shame are not experienced by them. 

Because of that, they tend to act irresponsibly. And if something bad happens, they tend to blame the external environment, which will hardly take responsibility for their action, and if they ever admit to something, that will happen without any shame or thought of change.

Psychopaths are usually overly confident and charming. This can make them say what the other wants to hear, even if that means they need to lie, to get what they want.  

They also have trouble sustaining attention, and this can be responsible for their impulsivity. Along with that, they may have trouble planning for the future. Most of their actions are directed to satisfying their needs at the moment. And if they plan, it usually consists of unrealistic plans.

 Psychopaths are usually selfish people, who can demonstrate just how egocentric they are. They can feed on other people’s attention, which gives them a parasitic lifestyle. They also have a very low tolerance for frustration, and when they experience it, they might become aggressive and irritated easily. 

Do psychopaths know they are psychopaths? 

Yes, people with psychopath personality disorder can figure they work differently than people around them. That is especially true for high-functioning psychopaths. They can be aware that they respond to things differently, and that they usually create a mask to fit in.

That happens because they know if they show their true colors, they might be stigmatized, and society might distance them from them. They can perceive other people extremely well. Which allows them to respond in a way that they can fit in.

Many of them have also been diagnosed, and even though this can put into question the extremely positive view they have on themselves, as they get more and more informed it becomes hard to deny the diagnosis.

How can I cope with depression?  

Depression may need professional treatment. So the first thing to do is to get in touch with them. It might be necessary to be on medication, as a way to decrease the intensity of your symptom. Therapy is also important to be in therapy to handle your emotions and find ways to deal. 

Some lifestyle changes might be important as well. You might want to take up exercising, even if it is a small walk. They can improve your sense of well-being as well as help with your eating and sleeping patterns. 

Keeping your support network close is also that can give you some distraction from the negative thoughts that can take over you. Meditation can also help with that, it is something that will help you feel more centered and in touch with the right now and not only your overwhelming thoughts.

How do I break up with a psychopath? 

Ending a relationship is never easy, but when you are ending it with a person that has a psychopath personality disorder, some things need to be taken into consideration. The first thing is not to take the blame for everything. 

Psychopaths have trouble taking responsibility for their actions, and it might be easier to end if you know everything is not your fault. Because they work in this manner, you might have tried, along with the relationship, to make excuses for their behavior. 

When you finally decide to break up, it might be because you concluded that they will never change. And that might be a turning point. Once you figure them out and bring the news to them, they can act manipulative, threatening to even kill themselves.

Try to keep in mind that it is just that, a threat. Because of this behavior, once you decide to end the relationship, try to keep your affairs in order. Have a new place to live, and your finances separated from them, that is because they can be scorned and seek revenge, or do a smear campaign after the relationship ends. 

With all this said, it might be hard to break up with them face to face. And even though you want to be respectful, try to maintain yourself safe. And once you do it, cut contact completely, even though they might try to get in touch and say things are different, but you know too well it is not, so it might be good to even avoid being friends.

After the relationship ends, take time for healing. This is a relationship that takes a lot of you, so give yourself some time, and if you need it, look for professional help to deal with the emotional turmoil you have just been through. 

Along with that, keep in touch with your support network and practice self-care to feel better. And in time, understand that you are worthy of a healthy relationship, so it is better to avoid being in one in which you can be abused.

Do psychopaths have a high IQ?

Although the stigma has been that people with psychopath personality disorder are extremely intelligent, that is not always true. They can be manipulative, and perceive people quite well, but as for their IQ level, it can be below-average. 

People with that diagnosis can score low on IQ levels because they may also have trouble keeping their school work at bay. Since they are people that are just usually seeking positive experiences, dedicating themselves to their studies doesn’t seem like something that will come easy for them.

Along with that, since they have a very low tolerance to frustration, keeping up with school, once they realize it doesn’t come easy for them, can be hard. That means they can even abandon their studies at some point, the same can be said about jobs that ask of them to be persistent.


This article explained if psychopaths can develop depression. For it, the article explained briefly what does it mean to be a psychopath, and what depression is. Along with that, the article explained the peculiarities of how depression can manifest itself in a psychopath.

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