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Jefferey Dahmer

Postby ---------- » Tue Jun 22, 2010 11:56 pm

Edited upon request
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Re: Jefferey Dahmer

Postby Myers » Wed Jun 23, 2010 12:05 am

article wrote:The New School Psychology Bulletin
Volume 5, No. 1, 2007

Jeffrey Dahmer: His Complicated,
Comorbid Psychopathologies and
Treatment Implications


Abigail Strubel, M.A.1

Abstract ~ The American serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer was afflicted
with a unique constellation of psychological and personality
disorders, as well as severe social skill deficits. The study of such
a case can illuminate possible links between seemingly distinct
disorders, such as pedophilia and substance abuse, and attempted
treatment of such a person could prove a useful research means
into developing treatment protocols for clients with similar disorders.
The author examines a journalist's account of Dahmer's
behavior as the primary source of information about his disorders,
incorporating scholarly sources as a secondary means of gaining
insight into this unique case.

"Fantasies, behaviors, or objects are paraphilic only when they
lead to clinically significant distress or impairment (e.g., are
obligatory, result in sexual dysfunction, require participation of
non-consenting individuals, lead to legal complications, interfere
with social relationships)" (American Psychiatric Association

1: John Jay College of Criminal Justice, New York, NY, USA
Address correspondence to Abigail Strubel: editwriter@hotmail.com

NSPB: 2007 -Vol. 5, No. 1


Dahmer Psychopathology and Treatment

[APA], 2000, p. 568). It is difficult to think of a person who better
meets these criteria than Jeffrey Dahmer, who may have suffered
from a combination of paraphilias, depression, substance
dependence, Asperger's Disorder, disordered personality, and
social skills deficits. This "perfect storm" of pathology led him
to become one of the worst serial murderers of the 20th century
and posed unique treatment implications.

The sad, strange case of Jeffrey Dahmer highlights a number of
issues concerning personality, identity, impulse control, paraphilia,
and impaired social interaction and functioning. Practitioners
are quite unlikely to encounter another such client. However,
interconnections and similarities among Dahmer's numerous
pathologies -especially substance dependence, paraphilias, and
possibly Asperger's Disorder -suggest etiological factors and
sequelae these disorders may share, and provide us with insight
into how these conditions might emerge, interact, and respond to
treatment.

The following is a critical examination of Dahmer and his psychopathological
behavior in the context of psychiatric diagnoses
as listed in the DSM-IV-TR. Due to the unavailability of Dahmer
himself (deceased), trial transcripts, and transcripts of interviews
conducted by mental health professionals, this examination is in
part based on the detailed account of his life and actions as outlined
in the book The Man Who Could Not Kill Enough: The
Secret Murders of Milwaukee's Jeffrey Dahmer, by Anne
Schwartz (1992). Schwartz was the first reporter called to the
scene after the police made gruesome discoveries in Dahmer's
apartment. Her book provides a brief biography of Dahmer;
detailed descriptions of how he stalked, sedated, killed, dismembered,
and utilized his victims; and interviews with forensic
experts who examined Dahmer. Scholarly journal articles and
other source material were also used for this examination of
Dahmer's psychopathologies.

NSPB: 2007 -Vol. 5, No. 1


Strubel 43

It is important to state that, in my opinion, Dahmer was never
floridly psychotic. His actions at all times clearly indicated that
he knew what he was doing was wrong and was trying to conceal
evidence of it. For example, a neighbor recalled how Dahmer
"always 'sneaked' into his apartment by opening the door just
enough to squeeze his body through and then immediately shutting
the door" (Schwartz, 1992, p. 15). When neighbors complained
about a foul stench, Dahmer claimed it was due to rotten
meat.

Possible Axis I Comorbid Disorders: Paraphilias,
Depression, Substance Dependence,
and Asperger's Disorder


Necrophilia. Necrophilia refers to a sexual interest in dead people
or body parts (APA, 2000). Dahmer's father noticed fouryear-
old Jeffrey's fascination with animal bones collected from a
crawl space underneath their house (Silva, Ferrari, & Leong,
2002). As a child, Dahmer collected dead animals from the roadside,
curing their pelts with a chemistry set or burying them in a
backyard cemetery where he would ultimately return to bury the
remains of his first murder victim (Schwartz, 1992). However,
Dahmer did not enjoy torturing animals to death, as did many
serial killers in their youth (Nichols, 2006); he was merely
obsessed by their viscera. During high school, Dahmer played
clarinet and tennis, wrote for the school paper, and got decent
grades, but he was unpopular and still fascinated with dead animals
(Schwartz, 1992). Silva et al. (2002) believe this fascination
became eroticized at adolescence, when Dahmer began
another lifelong obsession: compulsive masturbation, which at
times coincided with dissections of dead animals.

Dahmer found the heat radiating from a body he had cut into sexually
arousing (Schwartz, 1992). However, Dahmer was not a
sexual sadist; he derived no pleasure from others' terror or pain.

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Dahmer Psychopathology and Treatment

Dahmer had wanted to train as a medic during his army service
but was unable to inject others with a needle and draw blood. He
preferred to drug his victims and strangle them while they were
unconscious. According to forensic psychologist James Fox, an
expert in serial murder, most serial killers enjoy torturing their
victims before finally killing them, relishing their victims' cries
of agony and pleas for mercy, feeling powerful and dominant,
and in contrast, Dahmer usually sedated and killed his victims
quickly, not wishing them to suffer (as reported by Schwartz,
1992).

In Dahmer's apartment, police found skulls, body parts preserved
in formaldehyde or in the refrigerator, and a fastidiously organized
scrapbook of dead victims, posed in varying stages of dismemberment.
Dahmer masturbated in front of the skulls and
photos, and kept the head of one of his victims in his locker at
Ambrosia Chocolate. He also planned to build a shrine of skulls
and skeletons, which he claimed would channel supernatural
power to him (Schwartz, 1992). However, the "shrine" seems
more erotic than supernatural. According to Nichols (2006), it
might have helped Dahmer maintain a connection to his victims,
remembering the time they had shared. Nevertheless, Dahmer
did dabble in occult beliefs and culture, favoring heavy metal
music and horror movies (Nichols, 2006) and identifying with the
evil, omnipotent Emperor of the Star Wars movie series
(Schwartz, 1992). Perhaps Dahmer was seeking a belief system
or identity -possible evidence of borderline personality disorder
(see below). Silva et al. (2002) connect Dahmer's "fetishistic
necrophilia," a combination of fetishism, the sexual fixation on
an inanimate object or body part, with necrophilia (APA, 2000),
to his "defective integration of appreciation of human objects"
(p.1350). In other words, Dahmer could not relate emotionally to
other people, the root of any paraphilia.

Cannibalism. Paraphilic cannibalism refers to the sexual pleasure

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Strubel 45

the paraphile derives from consuming human flesh (APA, 2000).
Dahmer initially only admitted eating one victim's bicep, saying
"it was big and he wanted to try it" (Schwartz, 1992, p. 33) -as
though the size would obviate the impulse. However, on July 12,
1991, Dahmer put another victim's head and heart in the refrigerator
(found by arresting officers on July 22) "to eat later"
(Schwartz, p. 108). Coworkers said Dahmer brought meat for
lunch topped with "'my special gravy'" (Schwartz, p. 27) but
refused to give them a taste. Dahmer also kept chopped human
flesh, shaped into patties, in his freezer. Dahmer later said he ate
his victims to keep them with him forever, just as he kept and
masturbated before their skulls.

Pedophilia. Dahmer was arrested several times for exposing himself
to children or molesting them, and eluded capture after many
similar incidents. His adult victims were all young and boyish.
It is unclear whether Dahmer was molested by a teenage neighbor
as a child, as many pedophiles seem to have been. His father
claimed he was, but Dahmer denied it and no charges were ever
filed (Schwartz, 1992; Nichols, 2006). However, denial of
molestation that actually took place is not unusual, especially
among men.

Some pedophiles seek children as sex partners because their
social skills are weak; they are better able to manage an
encounter with children than an interaction with other adults
(Masters, Johnson, & Kolodny, 1995). In 1988, Dahmer lured a
13-year-old boy into his apartment with an offer of $50 to take
some photos. He served the boy liquor laced with a tranquilizer,
the boy posed nude, and Dahmer fondled him. After the boy told
his parents, the police were called and Dahmer was arrested.

Dahmer claimed he did not know the boy was a minor, denied
fondling him, and said the drugging was an accident -he used
that cup to take his own tranquilizers and hadn't washed it out

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Dahmer Psychopathology and Treatment

because he was usually the only one who drank from it. He also
wondered how an allegedly drugged victim could provide such a
coherent statement (Schwartz, 1992). Pedophiles are commonly
quite defensive and often externalize blame for their actions onto
their victims or their use of alcohol (Masters et al., 1995).
Dahmer ultimately pled guilty, however, to second-degree sexual
assault and enticing a child for immoral purposes. At his sentencing
hearing, the prosecutor said the drugging could not have
been inadvertent; the boy remembered Dahmer pouring powder
in the mug and urging him to drink (Schwartz, 1992). Dahmer
routinely crushed sedatives before bringing home a victim; he
could then discreetly add the powder to the victim's drink
(Nichols, 2006). Dahmer had malingered sleeping troubles in
order to obtain a prescription for the sedative Halcion from his
physician (Schwartz, 1992).

Exhibitionism. Dahmer's exhibitionism could be seen as an outgrowth
of his pedophilia (APA, 2000), evidence of his extremely
poor social skills and impaired social judgment, or containing
elements of both. In August 1982, Dahmer was charged with
drunk and disorderly conduct for exposing himself to a crowd of
people, including children. About four years later, he was arrested
for lewd and lascivious behavior after masturbating in front of
two 12-year-old boys, and he confessed to about five previous
incidents of public masturbation. Charges were reduced to disorderly
conduct; Dahmer was sentenced to one year of probation
and ordered to seek therapy, which he failed to do (Schwartz,
1992).

Depression. Paraphilias are frequently comorbid with depressive
symptoms, which may coincide with increasingly frequent and
intense incidents of paraphilic behavior (APA, 2000). Right
before his arrest, Dahmer sought and killed victims with alacrity
while reporting depressive symptoms to his probation officer.
Two weeks before his arrest, he said losing his job would be a

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Strubel 47

good reason to kill himself (Schwartz, 1992).

Substance dependence. Dahmer had a long history of the instrumental
use of alcohol; a high school classmate recalled Dahmer
drinking from a cup of scotch on his desk. When Dahmer entered
college, he drank during classes, often passing out on his way
back to the dorm. Dahmer dropped out after one year and enlisted
in the army, carrying with him a portable bar that included a
martini kit. On weekends, Dahmer listened to Black Sabbath on
headphones and drank until he passed out. He was dishonorably
discharged for alcohol abuse (Schwartz, 1992).

Paraphilias are frequently comorbid with alcohol or substance
abuse, and serve a similar purpose; engaging in either activity is
often compulsive, providing a way for the user to block or avoid
painful emotions. However, alcohol or substance abuse is sometimes
secondary to a paraphilia-disinhibiting the paraphile and
enabling him to engage in actions he might wish to commit but
feel unable to when sober (Masters et al., 1995). According to
defense expert Carl M. Wahlstrom, M.D., Dahmer had to drink in
order to murder his victims, since he did not enjoy killing
(Schwartz, 1992), although as a necrophile he enjoyed dismembering
the corpses and creating photographs of meticulously
arranged body parts.

Asperger's Disorder. According to his father, as a young child
Dahmer did not hold eye contact, showed wooden facial expressions,
held his body stiffly, had trouble interacting with other
children, and was emotionally distant (Silva et al., 2002). In
Dahmer's own words,

The subtleties of social life were beyond my grasp. When
children liked me, I did not know why. Nor could I formulate
a plan for winning their affection. I simply didn't know
how things worked with other people…. And try as I might,

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Dahmer Psychopathology and Treatment

I couldn't make other people seem less strange and unknowable.
(Silva et al., p. 1349).

Dahmer had no friends in elementary or high school, college, or
the army. As an adult, his homosexual encounters never led to
relationships; he had no friends and avoided contact with his
coworkers or neighbors. He usually had to offer men or boys
money to lure them into his apartment. In bars he drank alone,
ignoring people who tried to pick him up, until he spotted an
attractive victim. He was not close with his parents. His loving
relationship with his grandmother seemed to be the only one such
in his life (Schwartz, 1992).

Silva et al. (2002) believe Dahmer's autistic fixation on dead bodies
and body parts allowed him to reimagine them as love or sex
objects devoid of independent thought and emotion, and hence to
develop his many comorbid paraphilias-themselves disorders
characterized by a high degree of compulsiveness, as are substance
abuse and Asperger's. Moreover, Dahmer's meticulous
fascination with body parts from a young age is itself indicative
of Asperger's, as much as his social impairments, physical awkwardness,
and lack of impairments in language, self-care, or cognitive
functioning. Silva et al. further note that people with
Asperger's have trouble recognizing faces they do not know and
may view strangers as threatening-as young Jeffrey viewed his
peers. All of Dahmer's victims were recent acquaintances (Silva
et al., 2002, p. 1351).

Dahmer's isolation from other adolescents, and the resultant lack
of normalizing peer contact, may also have led him to form and
maintain unusual (i.e., paraphilic) fantasies. Silva et al. (2002)
believe that Dahmer's impaired neurology thus led not only to
social isolation but also to his bizarre sexual development and
loss of those social controls that might have kept him from committing
his crimes. Autistic deficits in social awareness might

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Strubel 49

also be implicated in Dahmer's pedophilia and exhibitionism, two
activities that are legally prohibited and extremely stigmatized in
the U.S. Psychological assessment, the Minnesota Multiphasic
Personality Inventory, conducted on Dahmer indicated that he did
not mind meeting strangers, could initiate a conversation, and
enjoyed making friends (Nichols, 2006). This does not cohere
with a diagnosis of Asperger's Disorder.

Fitzgerald (2005) notes that borderline personality disorder
(BPD) and Asperger's can be difficult to differentiate in adulthood,
since both impair interpersonal functioning and share several
features: problems with identity, impulsivity, suicidal behavior,
mood lability, feelings of emptiness, uncontrollable rage, and
"transient, stress-related paranoid ideation" (p. 452). Virtually all
of these factors characterized Dahmer. Fitzgerald (2005) states
that evidence of Asperger's symptoms in childhood should
incline the clinician to diagnose that disorder. However, several
facts and events in Dahmer's life seem to argue against a diagnosis
of Asperger's. In one notorious incident, police caught
Dahmer chasing a naked, bleeding, 14-year-old and went back
with both to Dahmer's apartment. Dahmer had a decomposing
corpse in his bedroom but was able to convince the police nothing
illegal was happening. "Such was his ability to remain controlled
and convincing under pressure" (Nichols, 2006, p. 245).

Dahmer's early years were marked by significant emotional neglect
and a high degree of parental conflict. A child who is not
held, soothed, and attended to might not develop proper object
relations, feeling lonely and isolated from everyone else. A diagnosis
of Asperger's might not be necessary to account for
Dahmer's poor social skills as a child and comorbid paraphilias
as an adult; his emotionally depleted childhood could suffice
(Nichols, 2006).

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Dahmer Psychopathology and Treatment

Possible Personality Pathology: Borderline
or Not Otherwise Specified

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). Paraphilias are frequently
comorbid with personality problems and/or "emotional immaturity"
(Masters et al., 1995, p. 450; APA, 2000). Three psychologists
who examined Dahmer after his arrest for molesting the
13-year-old found him uncooperative, angry, resistant to change,
evasive, manipulative, emotionally unstable, and lacking insight
(Schwartz, 1992). These traits, taken together, suggest BPD.
Pleading for clemency, Dahmer said, "'What I've done has cut
both ways. It's hurt the victim, and it's hurt me…. I don't know
what I was thinking when I did it. I know I was under the influence….'"
(Schwartz, 1992, pp. 68-69). Perceiving oneself as the
victim of one's own crimes and externalizing blame onto others
or onto substance abuse are typical borderline defenses (Millon,
Blaney, & Davis, 1999).

Dahmer told his probation officer his life lacked purpose-a possible
sign of the chronic emptiness experienced by someone with
BPD. Moreover, Dahmer had a strong reason to hate and fear
abandonment. During his parents' bitter divorce, they fought
over custody of Dahmer's younger brother. At 18, the emotionally
immature Dahmer did not require legal custody. His mother
took his brother and left Dahmer alone in the house with no food
or money. After this experience, Dahmer committed his first
murder. He picked up a hitchhiker, got drunk with him, and had
sex with him. But when the victim wanted to leave, Dahmer
crushed his skull with a barbell (Schwartz, 1992).

In his confession, Dahmer said he killed his victims to prevent
them from leaving him (Schwartz, 1992). Dahmer's violent
behavior-which he had to drink himself almost into a stupor to
commit-was not instrumental aggression, as an antisocial type
would employ to intimidate or control others, but a desperate

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Strubel 51

attempt to prevent abandonment. Dahmer left dead, naked victims
lying around his apartment so he could sodomize them at
will, using condoms to protect himself. He kept dead bodies in
the bathtub when he had no time to dismember them, and often
took showers with them. In an attempt to turn some victims into
helpless obedient zombies that would never leave, Dahmer
drilled holes in their skulls and injected muriatic acid into their
brains. Most died immediately, although one allegedly walked
around for almost two days after this treatment. Dahmer's social
skills did not enable him to develop and maintain friendships, so
he resorted to relying on corpses for companionship. He initially
considered stealing an 18-year-old male corpse from a funeral
parlor or robbing graves (Schwartz, 1992).

Dahmer's identity disturbance, a possible aspect of BPD, included
denial of and inability to accept his homosexuality. Sex with
silent corpses (or with viscera rather than masculine genitals and
orifices) was possibly another way Dahmer denied he was having
sex with men. And just as Dahmer externalized blame onto his
underage victims, he projected hatred onto his adult victims
instead of hating himself, a typical borderline defense.
According to James Fox, Dahmer chose victims who were more
flamboyantly homosexual than he was (as reported by Schwartz,
1992). Jentzen, Palermo, Johnson, Ho, Stormo, and Teggatz
(1994), the forensic team that examined Dahmer's apartment and
possessions and autopsied his victims, concluded that the murders,
rooted in unconscious hate of his victims, were the result of
his "ambivalent homosexuality" (p. 283).

Personality Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PD-NOS). Silva
et al. (2002) retrospectively examined Dahmer via records,
including videotaped interviews, and rated him a 22 on the
Psychopathy Checklist-below the cutoff score of 30, but still
above average. They assigned him a diagnosis of "Personality
Disorder Not Otherwise Specified, With Schizoid, Antisocial,

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Dahmer Psychopathology and Treatment

and Schizotypal Traits" (Silva et al., 2002, p. 1355). Noting that
psychopathy and Asperger's share affective features, such as lack
of empathy and shallow affect, Silva et al. hypothesize that these
disorders also might share underlying neurobiological deficits.

However, other evidence does not support a diagnosis of psychopathy.
According to James Fox, many people have difficult
childhoods but few grow up to be serial killers; victims of child
abuse are more likely to become nonviolent psychopaths, such as
used-car salesmen, dishonest businessmen, or con men who
delight in fleecing unsuspecting consumers, taking pleasure in
others' pain (as reported by Schwartz, 1992). Moreover, Dahmer
lacked the "inflated self-appraisal and superficial charm" (APA,
2000, p. 703) of the most severely antisocial types, among whom
most serial killers are found. Since Dahmer does not fit any of
the current DSM personality disorder classifications, yet clearly
suffered from significant personality deficits, perhaps PD-NOS is
the best diagnosis for him.

Psychosocial Issues. The hallmark of a maladaptive paraphilia is
disruption of the sufferer's functioning in several realms -social,
occupational, and "other important areas" (APA, 2000, p. 566),
such as personal hygiene. Dahmer's apartment was tidy, but
when the carpet was pulled up, the wood floor beneath was
extensively stained with blood. A terrible stench emanated from
the apartment, and his neighbors often complained. Dahmer also
had poor money management skills, possibly due to the frequent
purchase of chemicals to sedate his victims and destroy their
corpses, and he was in danger of being evicted for nonpayment
of rent (Schwartz, 1992).

Close to his arrest, Dahmer's personal grooming declined
markedly. This could possibly have resulted from his frenzied
killing activities, which might have left him little time for personal
care or laundry; his comorbid depression; or both. On July

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Strubel 53

14, 1991, Dahmer was fired from his job for chronic lateness and
absences. He told his probation officer that he went home, drank
steadily, and was ashamed to see her because he had not bathed
or shaved for three days; his clothes were filthy, possibly due to
his necrophilic activities. Overall, however, Dahmer concealed
his crimes to a remarkable extent and kept his job for a surprising
length of time despite deteriorating performance. Had one of
his intended victims not escaped and led police to his apartment,
it is unclear how long Dahmer might have continued (Schwartz,
1992).

Treatment Implications

Personality disorders and paraphilias are notoriously resistant to
treatment (Masters et al., 1995; Millon et al., 1999). Comorbidity
renders successful treatment even more difficult. However,
Dahmer's arrest and sentence to life in prison created a potential
opportunity for several layers of intervention, assuming that sufficient
resources would have been granted toward his treatment.
Within the confines of a prison, where treatment adherence could
be monitored, perhaps a combination of psychotherapy, psychopharmacology,
and hormone therapy could have addressed
Dahmer's paraphilias, depression, substance abuse, and social
skill deficits.

Paraphilia treatment often involves behavior therapy intended to
decondition the paraphile from maintaining maladaptive sexual
fantasies and behaviors (Masters et al., 1995). Some methods
include masturbatory satiation, a form of aversion therapy. The
paraphile masturbates to orgasm using sexual fantasies that are
not maladaptive, then continues masturbating-since post-orgasm
masturbation is uncomfortable or unpleasant -to paraphilic material
and fantasies (Masters et al., 1995). This therapy could have
been employed with Dahmer. He enjoyed ordinary homosexual
pornography, routinely viewing it before he went in search of a

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Dahmer Psychopathology and Treatment

victim (Nichols, 2006). It seems unlikely, however, that a correctional
system would sanction deliberate provision of pornography
to an inmate. Other aversion modalities involve pairing
paraphilic fantasies with simultaneous concerns about being
arrested or unpleasant odors. However, a man accustomed to
dwelling with the stench of decay would probably not respond
strongly to any aversive odors, such as ammonia, the therapist
could employ.

Social skills training, a form of cognitive-behavioral therapy,
could have been used to teach Dahmer better ways of interacting
with his peers, and his enforced presence among thousands of
other men could have provided a uniquely convenient source of
potential friendships, even romantic relationships, which he
might have been encouraged to develop. Insight-oriented therapy
might not be effective with a personality-disordered individual
(Millon et al., 1999). However, Dahmer was intelligent and
might have responded to object relations therapy aimed at helping
him overcome the deficits in his upbringing and develop a
better sense of object permanence and constancy, leading to better,
more mature relationships with other people (St. Clair, 2000).

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) have been shown
to decrease sexual drive and help paraphiles reduce their offending
behaviors (Bradford, 1999). Serotonin and norepinephrine
reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), especially bupropion, have been
shown to be effective at treating many forms of compulsive or
impulsive behavior, such as pathological gambling (Dannon,
Lowengrub, Musin, Gonopolski, & Kotler, 2005) obsessive-compulsive
disorder (Bradford, 1999), and nicotine addiction
(O'Brien, 2005). In other words, SNRIs decrease behaviors similar
to the behaviors associated with paraphilias, which are considered
quite compulsive (Millon et al., 1999). Dahmer might
have benefited from treatment with a medication cocktail containing
an SSRI and an SNRI, for example. This might simulta-

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Strubel 55

neously have ameliorated his depression, although it would have
been necessary to monitor him closely for signs of mania or
hypomania, which antidepressants can sometimes induce.

Hormone therapy has been shown to reduce paraphilic behavior
and fantasies (Thibaut, Cordier, & Kuhn 1996; Briken, Nika, &
Berner, 2001). However, this therapy is only effective while the
agent is in the client's bloodstream; clients who discontinue hormone
therapy have been shown to relapse within 8 to 10 weeks
(Thibaut et al., 1996). The restrictive prison environment could
have compelled Dahmer to receive regular hormone therapy
injections, thus ensuring adherence. Similarly, Dahmer could
have been strongly encouraged to participate in substance abuse
rehabilitation programs offered by the prison to treat his alcoholism,
although since his alcohol use was primarily instrumental
(Schwartz, 1992), he may not have required treatment when
the situations and settings in which he abused alcohol were no
longer possible.

Summary

In prison, Dahmer was baptized a born-again Christian -perhaps
as a way to deny his homosexuality and paraphilias, perhaps in
yet another attempt to forge an identity or connect with other people,
or perhaps out of sincere atonement for his crimes. He never
obtained any psychiatric treatment or psychotherapy aside from
his minister's pastoral counseling. After being stabbed in one
non-lethal attack, he was beaten to death by another inmate less
than three years after beginning his life sentence. Dahmer's
mother wished to submit his brain to scientific study, but his
father was opposed. Eventually, all of Dahmer-first his body and
then his brain-was cremated (Nichols, 2006).

A case examination of one individual can often be limited in its
generalizability to others, especially if the individual is quite

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Dahmer Psychopathology and Treatment

unique. Since the subject of this study is deceased, and consequently
was unavailable for interview, and because trial transcripts
and transcripts of Dahmer's interviews with psychologists
and psychiatrists also were unavailable, no definite conclusions
can be drawn. That is a definite weakness of this case examination.
However, Dahmer presented with such an unusual and
severe admixture of pathologies and committed such extreme
acts that a close study of him could possibly illuminate etiological
links and useful treatment approaches between seemingly distinct
yet comorbid disorders, such as pedophilia and substance
abuse.

Moreover, the attempted treatment of such an individual could
have served as an experiment in the development of treatment
protocols for clients with some of the same or similar disorders.
As more and more pedophiles who complete their prison terms
are deemed dangerous to others and civilly committed to "treatment
facilities" that offer further confinement but little in the way
of actual therapy (Davey & Goodnough, 2007; Rizzo & Vendel,
2003), it behooves forensic practitioners and criminal justice officials
to consider how best to cope with this increasing population,
protect their civil rights against unlawful imprisonment, and
develop means to protect children from their depredations. These
treatment facilities could serve as laboratories for cutting-edge
research into pedophilia and its treatment or cure, or, at the very
least, serve as sources for participants of research on the best
ways to enable pedophiles to live in an open society without
endangering children.

References

American Psychiatric Association (2000). Diagnostic and statis


tical manual of mental disorders (4th ed., text revision).

Washington, DC: Author.
Bradford, J. M. W. (1999). The paraphilias, obsessive compul-

NSPB: 2007 -Vol. 5, No. 1


Strubel 57

sive spectrum disorder, and the treatment of sexually deviant
behavior. Psychiatric Quarterly, 70, 209-219.

Briken, P., Nika, E., & Berner, W. (2001). Treatment of paraphilia
with luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone agonists.
Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, 27, 45-55.

Dannon, P. N., Lowengrub, K., Musin, E., Gonopolski, Y., &
Kotler, M. (2005). Sustained-release bupropion versus naltrexone
in the treatment of pathological gambling: A preliminary
blind-rater study Journal of Clinical
Psychopharmacology, 25, 593-596.

Davey, M., & Goodnough, A. (2007, March 4). Doubts rise as
States hold sex offenders after prison. New York Times.
Retrieved August 19, 2007, from http://www.nytimes.com

Fitzgerald, M. (2005). Borderline personality disorder and
Asperger syndrome. Autism, 9, 452.

Jentzen, J., Palermo, G., Johnson, L. T., Ho, K. C., Stormo, K. A.,
& Teggatz, J. (1994). Destructive hostility: The Jeffrey
Dahmer case. A psychiatric and forensic study of a serial
killer. American Journal of Forensic Medical Pathology,
15, 283-294.

Masters, W. H., Johnson, V. E., & Kolodny, R. C. (1995). Human
sexuality. New York: HarperCollins.

Millon, T., Blaney, P. H., & Davis, R. D. (1999). Oxford textbook
of psychopathology. New York: Oxford University Press.

Nichols, D. S. (2006). Tell me a story: MMPI responses and personal
biography in the case of a serial killer. Journal of
Personality Assessment, 86, 242-262.

O'Brien, C. P. (2005). Anticraving medications for relapse prevention:
A possible new class of psychoactive medications.
American Journal of Psychiatry, 162, 1423-1431.

Rizzo, T., & Vendel, C. (2003, June 28). As sexual predator
returns to jail, Kansas reviews treatment regimen. Kansas
City Star. Retrieved August 19, 2007, from
http://www.vachss.com/av_dispatches/archive/crane_ks.ht
ml

NSPB: 2007 -Vol. 5, No. 1


Dahmer Psychopathology and Treatment

Schwartz, A. E. (1992). The man who could not kill enough: The
secret murders of Milwaukee's Jeffrey Dahmer. New York:
Birch Lane Press.

Silva, J. A., Ferrari, M. M., & Leong, G. B. (2002). The case of
Jeffrey Dahmer: Sexual serial homicide from a neuropsychiatric
developmental perspective. Journal of Forensic
Science, 47, 1347-1359.

St. Clair, M. (2000). Object Relations and Self-Psychology (3rd
ed.). Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole.

Thibaut, F., Cordier, B., & Kuhn, J. (1996). Gonadotrophin hormone
releasing hormone agonist in cases of severe paraphilia:
A lifetime treatment? Psychoneuroendocrinology, 21,
411-419.

NSPB: 2007 -Vol. 5, No. 1

(Copyright © 2010 The New School Psychology Bulletin)



Disclaimer: I do not own this article. It is the property of Abigail Strubel, M.A.

See: http://www.nspb.net/index.php/nspb/article/view/20/17
Last edited by Myers on Wed Jun 23, 2010 8:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Jefferey Dahmer

Postby inossak » Wed Jun 23, 2010 12:33 am

Jeez Myers.. wouldnt it be more appropriate to post a link instead? :P

Maybe he's psychospergerline? Does it really matter anyway? I find his deeds fasinating. I don't care what label he has or not though a serial killer who kills 17 people for egoistical reasons qualifies for psychopathy/aspd/sociopathy/fiend in my book. Hare can argue with me all he want. :lol:
Bundy, Lynn Sells, Dahmer, Kemper, Gacy, Ridgeway, Iceman etc etc... They have all very different personalities. The most common trait they have, which is the most important one, is their appetite for murder.
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Re: Jefferey Dahmer

Postby Myers » Wed Jun 23, 2010 12:50 am

inossak wrote:Jeez Myers.. wouldnt it be more appropriate to post a link instead? :P


No, I saved the file to my computer, and I couldn't find the original article on the web.
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Re: Jefferey Dahmer

Postby inossak » Wed Jun 23, 2010 12:52 am

/pat
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Re: Jefferey Dahmer

Postby asphyx » Wed Jun 23, 2010 9:16 am

So he was a BPD then? I saw a biography on Dahmer and I don't remember anything indicating BPD but after reading Myers' post it sounds very likely, especially with mention of those abandonment issues.

I was under the impression that all serial killers were psychopaths of some sort but I guess I was wrong. Aileen Wuornos had BPD too from what I remember and killed for a similar reason (fearing abandonment from her girlfriend). Are there any other non-AsPD/psychopath serial killers? I find this interesting.
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Re: Jefferey Dahmer

Postby Butterfly Faerie » Wed Jun 23, 2010 12:03 pm

myers when copying information from another site like that when you paste it onto the forums please provide a link because of issues with copyright
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Re: Jefferey Dahmer

Postby Myers » Wed Jun 23, 2010 8:49 pm

Butterfly Faerie wrote:myers when copying information from another site like that when you paste it onto the forums please provide a link because of issues with copyright


It was a pdf file- there was no link. But I put the url of the page where the download could be found, and I put a disclaimer and copyright on it. Is that good enough?
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Re: Jefferey Dahmer

Postby ---------- » Wed Jun 23, 2010 10:38 pm

Edited upon request
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Re: Jefferey Dahmer

Postby Myers » Wed Jun 23, 2010 11:06 pm

Edited by Chucky - Reference to absent/banned member
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