A Look Into The Psyche Of Serial Killers

by Andrew Mounier on July 19, 2013

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According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, a serial killer is a man or woman who kills three or more individuals on separate occasions over a relatively short period of time. Serial killers are often extremely dangerous people, who pose a serious safety risk to those living within their region. But what, exactly makes a serial killer tick? Understanding the psyche of these individuals, and some of the mental health conditions from which they may be suffering, can be useful when it comes to stopping them from perpetrating crimes in the future.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders

Individuals who have been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder—or ADHD—often experience difficulty when it comes to concentrating on a task. Similarly, they may face often suffer from severe hyperactivity or have high rates of impulsivity. Some research suggests that serial killers often are diagnosed with moderate to severe cases of attention deficit disorders. Those who have been identified as suffering from this condition may be further diagnosed with rage and psychopathy, often requiring treatment from a professional mental health counselor.


Antisocial Personality Disorder

One of the most common mental health conditions seen in individuals who have been identified as serial killers, those with antisocial personality disorder may be more casually referred to as being a psychopath or a sociopath. While there are a number of characteristics associated with these conditions, having a general lack of concern for the rights and privileges is especially apparent. In addition, those who suffer from antisocial personality disorders may also exhibit high degrees of deceit and manipulation. Antisocial personality disorders can emerge at any time throughout the lifespan, though they most often develop in the early teenage years and progress over the course of a lifetime.

Conduct Disorder

Known serial killers are also often diagnosed with certain types of conduct disorders. As one might guess from the name, conduct disorders are those in which an individual does not follow the age and gender associated social norms for their peer group. In addition, conduct disorders are often characterized by persistent and repetitive behavior that violates the rights of others or inflicts harm onto fellow humans. As with many of the other mental health conditions described above, the severity of conduct disorder can vary quite drastically depending on the person and their individual life circumstances.

Intermittent Explosive Disorder

Finally, serial killers who commit violent crimes may be suffering from certain types of intermittent explosive disorder. Though a relatively rare condition on its own, intermittent explosive disorder has been found to be quite common in those who have been identified as serial killers. Men and women with this condition often experience a strong desire or impulse to participate in aggressive or dangerous behavior—which can often result in serious assault or possible damage to personal property. Interestingly, intermittent explosive disorder most often appears in the late teens or early twenties, and may resolve sporadically without seeking assistance from a health care provider.

This is by no means an authoritative or full list of possible signs that an individual is a serial killer. However, these are a few generally accepted indicators.

Andrew Mounier
Andrew Mounier is a Content Engineer and Author. He has worked in marketing for over a decade and finds his passion in bringing concepts to life for the world to enjoy. He is also an avid legal blogger and currently working on a book with his wife about social entrepreneurship. He is a true Socialpreneur and finds that his goal in life is to be an agent for positive social change through both his writing and business endeavors.
Andrew Mounier
Andrew Mounier

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