[Personality disorders, psychopathy and serial killers].Braz J Psychiatry 2006; 28 Suppl 2:S74-9BJ
To illustrate the basic characteristics of several specific personality disorders, focusing mainly in antisocial personality disorder. The differences between antisocial personality disorder and psychopathy are highlighted. Serial killers and its psychopathic aspects are also discussed.
A bibliographic review was completed in order to outline convergences and divergences among different authors about this controversial issue, especially those concerning the possibility of treatment.
While anti-social personality disorder is a medical diagnosis, the term "psychopathy" (which belongs to the sphere of forensic psychiatry) may be understood as a "legal diagnosis". It is not still possible to identify an effective treatment for serial killers.
Personality disorders, especially of the antisocial type, still represent a formidable challenge to forensic psychiatry today. Questions as yet unanswered include the best and most humane place for patients with this condition and the nature of a standardised treatment recommendation.