Do Serial Killers and Drug Addicts Share Psychological Traits? Kevin Gardner Science & Medicine Examining the shared traits of drug addicts and serial killers allows you to easily see the power addiction has on a person’s life. The cycle of addiction is a driving force that can take over an otherwise caring person, resulting in the following similarities shared with serial killers who have little regard for anyone else. Self-Focused Behaviors Both serial killers and drug addicts exhibit self-centered behavior that minimizes the needs and rights of other people. The addict might spend his money on drugs, rather than paying his bills, and addicts with children may not provide basic items like clothes and food for their family. This lack of consideration for other people is also common in serial killers. Serial killers fail to consider how their actions hurt others, rarely thinking about the effects of their actions. The desire to find another victim is more important than anything else, just like finding more drugs is the most important thing for a drug addict. Seeking the Next High Physical addiction is just one aspect of habitual drug use. Like serial killers, some drug addicts develop a psychological addiction to drugs. Serial killers often describe enjoying their actions, or experiencing a “high” after taking a victim’s life. Drug users often use the same works to describe using a specific substance. This addictive rush or high is what drives serial killers and drug addicts to continuously seek the next victim or the next hit. Unlike most serial killers, drug addicts can recover from addiction with help from places like drug treatment centers. The Cycle of Addiction Serial killer Ted Bundy turned to substances like marijuana when he couldn’t engage in his main addiction of stalking and murdering women. Drug addicts also try to avoid withdrawals and may engage in crimes like theft to get more drugs. Serial killers experience a rush from finding, stalking and killing, just as a drug addict experiences a rush from finding and using drugs. The strong urge to avoid withdrawal may be related to hormones. Some scientists think that withdrawal causes a buildup of hormones, resulting in binges that occur after a period of withdrawal. The tendency to binge after a period of abstinence is part of the cycle of addiction that both drug addicts and serial killers share. The Blame Game Refusing to take responsibility for drug use is common. Addicts deny they have a problem with stopping drugs and often blame their situations, circumstances, or other people for their addiction. Drug addicts may say they can quit using drugs at any time, but they need to get through the next crisis first. Except there is always another crisis ahead and another reason to continue using drugs. Serial killers also blame other people and circumstances for their actions. Blaming the victim, for example, is one way serial killers refuse responsibility. Ted Bundy killed 30 known victims, claiming that some of those women were practically begging to be murdered, which shows the extreme depth of his self-centered beliefs and behaviors. Finding the Drug of Choice Drug addicts often experiment with a range substances, but have one drug that they can’t stop using. Being addicted to a specific drug keeps the addict returning to substance or experience again and again. For instance, serial killers also have specific preferences for victims, often choosing people with the same hair color, age, or occupation. Serial killers may experiment by choosing victims that have different features, but eventually return to victims with features that cause an more intense high. The shared behaviors and patterns of drug addicts and serial killers are quite similar. Although serial killers are often unable to stop taking lives, drug addicts have the potential to recover with help. Featured image courtesy of Library of Congress.