History of Patients
Joseph Lyle Menéndez and Erik Galen Menéndez, or the Menéndez brothers, are commonly known for their indictment in a high-profile conviction for their parents’ shotgun killings in 1989. The family resided in Beverly Hills, California, at the time of the crime. The siblings are inclined to spend their entire lives in custody under the provisions of their multiple-crime sentences (Javier et al., 2020). The Menéndez brothers were born and raised in Princeton, New Jersey. They completed their elementary schooling in Princeton, and Lyle proceeded to Princeton University. His brother Erik went to Calabasas, California, for a high school level after relocating to California in 1987 (Javier et al., 2020). Lyle was put on probation at Princeton for low performance, and he later dropped out following plagiarism allegations. Lyle’s early childhood history shows an associated criminal activity that could have led to the murders of their parents.
No mental diagnosis is provided for the Menéndez brothers’ case, but their actions fit a psychopathy diagnosis. The diagnosis is based on their actions after murdering their parents. The criminals killed their parents through repeated shooting and later disposed of the shotguns at Mulholland. They also bought movie tickets and attended a local movie theatre as an alibi. After the show, the brothers returned home and called the police, alleging that someone had shot their parents. The two boys were considered suspects, but the police had no evidence; thus, they freed them. However, they justified their guilt through luxury and laving living using their parents’ wealth that they spent about $ 1 million within six months of their parents’ death (Javier et al., 2020). The men later confessed to a psychiatrist that they had murdered their parents, leading to the arrest.
The two brothers’ lack of remorse after killing their parents affirm their psychopathologies. A psychopath can be conceptualized as a person with impaired remorse and empathy and egotistical behaviors (Sellbom & Drislane, 2020). The Menéndez brothers lived luxurious life characterized by buying a costly Rolex watch, Buffalo wings, and a Porsche Carrera (Javier et al., 2020). The activities describe a possible life that a psychopath would live. The Menéndez’ brothers’ need for psychiatric help reveals mental health discomfort for intervention.
Issue Surrounding the Mental Health Problem (Psychopathy)
Psychopathy is expressed in manipulative and callous behaviors with no consideration for others. The condition is linked to repeated violence and criminal activity. Psychopathy is connected to “instrumental” violence, also defined as predatory, aggressive, or “cold-blooded” hostility. It is a mode of belligerence marked by low empathy and performed with a purpose and encouraged by the commitment to causing harm (Sellbom & Drislane, 2020). A recent study of serial killers revealed that most killings were perpetrated by psychopathy offenders (Javier et al., 2020). However, contrary to popular belief, over a third of murders perpetrated by psychopathic criminals contained some element of psychological distress. In the current case, the Menéndez brothers expressed psychological distress by seeing a psychiatrist and later confessing that they had murdered their parents. In either event, FBI forensics experts indicate that severe victim assault is typically an emotional offence, and some evidence backs this.
Psychopathy has frequently been thought to be incurable, and it is distinctive features place it as one of the most refractory mental conditions, a subset of psychiatric diseases that are challenging to manage. There are no proven or extensively tested pharmacological treatments for treating psychopathy’s mental, social, and behavioral deficiencies. People with psychopathy who receive psychiatric treatment may develop further skills in manipulating and deceiving others, making them likely to commit violent crimes.
Treatment options that rely on self-interest highlighting the practical, material benefit of positive social activity. Interventions also integrate programs that improve abilities to positively achieve what the person wants in life rather than antisocial approaches, which might be effective at minimizing overt criminal and violent actions. Psychiatric drugs, such as antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, and antidepressant, can also alleviate co-occurring disorders that are often linked with the disease or with signs such as hostility or impulsive conduct. The treatments mainly focus on behavioral approaches as the most effective interventions to address psychopathy issues. In application to the current case, the Menéndez brothers are in custody. Such character changes can allow them to learn new and better behaviors at the expense of their past harmful ones.
Causes of the Mental Illness
The causes of psychopathy are varied, and they range from genetic, environmental, brain injury to evolutionary causes. As siblings, the main cause can be attributed to genetics or environmental conditions, although no report exists about this prognosis. The men could have inherited the psychopathy characterizes by their parents or learned about their social settings behavior. Other external factors, including personal choices, could also explain the development of their mental illnesses.
Three nursing diagnoses based on the case background include:
- Psychopathy: Because of their behaviors after the murder, they seemed to enjoy the outcome.
- Depression: If they had been sexually assaulted in childhood, as claimed by one of their lawyers.
- Sociopathy: Closely related to psychopathy, but it is more inclined to disregard other people. The Menéndez brothers lacked social regard for their parents suffering death as they watched.
Javier, R. A., Owen, E. A., & Maddux, J. A. (2020). Trauma and its trajectory in criminal behaviors: Case study exercise assignments. In Assessing Trauma in Forensic Contexts (pp. 509-646). Springer, Cham.
Sellbom, M., & Drislane, L. E. (2020). The classification of psychopathy. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 101473. Web.