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Gil-Galad
07-01-2012, 06:18 PM
They aren't psychopaths. They are acting out. Those are two different things.

Hmm. I absolutely agree that you cannot diagnose kids with personality disorders (kids' behaviour falls in lots of categories that would be considered pathological for adults, like magical thinking, invisible friends etc.). On the other hand I think "acting out" might be a bit of an understatement. In the Youth Psychiatry where I worked, behaviour like that (killing animals, ruthless behaviour and bullying, playing with knives, fire and consequently endangering others, outright lack of compassion) was at least considered a co-factor in the assessment of adolescents with antisocial behaviour, especially when the doctors had to assess the security threat these young men (they are overwhelmingly male) might pose now or in the immediate future.

Before I worked there, I had no idea that there was a system in Germany (cooperation of schools, police, courts and psychiatrists) that actually works on identifying boys / young men like that. You only ever hear about the cases where the system failed.

Ziggy
07-01-2012, 08:58 PM
Oh yes, you are definitely right.

Such behaviour does indicate that such young people are at high risk of developing various serious mental disorders.

And they definitely should be monitored and it's fantastic that such a system is in place in Germany (hooray for welfare states).

I merely objected to branding young children when at this stage, "all is not lost" yet. Such behaviour is "only" a sign that something bad is happening and if there's adequate early intervention than there's still a chance of turning things around.

Now if you're an adult and are diagnosed with personality disorders, change is still possible but it's a much more difficult and long-term process.