Most people who have “addictive personalities” today are addicted to cell phones, or maybe Chapstick. More dangerous addictions might include drugs, alcohol, or cigarettes. But when normal humans have addictive personalities, they generally find vices that don’t physically harm other people. (Psychologically, maybe, but not physically.) Serial killers, on the other hand, might also have addictive personalities, but when those addictive personalities are combined with qualities like narcissism, emotional emptiness, and an inability to feel remorse, well, it’s not hard to guess what that might lead to.
Psychologist and criminologist Craig Traube believes there’s considerable overlap between personality disorders that are common to serial killers and addiction. Addiction, which can be defined as “the repetition of a behavior despite the harmful consequences,” often follows a pattern of experimentation followed by a settling on a particular substance or activity. In particular, Ted Bundy displayed these characteristics when stalking and killing his victims, and was known to have turned to drugs and alcohol in prison once he no longer had the ability to engage in murder. Other killers, like Israel Keyes, have also been described as “addicted to murder.” Of all the traits listed above, this one is probably the most controversial, but when seeking to explain the behavior of this most terrifying of criminals, it’s an idea that probably shouldn’t be ignored.