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Jeffrey Dahmer can be described as one of the most notorious serial killers in the world. He killed children, and his acts of murder were heinous. He had a proper family upbringing but things changed after he underwent a hernia surgery that changed his life. He started committing murders and killed children horrifically. He was suffering from several disorders but most notably borderline personality disorder. The best way to treat such a case is by using cognitive behavior therapy. This paper examines the life of Jeffrey Dahmer, his diagnosis and the legal issues such as the Insanity plea.
Introduction to Jeffrey Dahmer
Jeffrey Lionel Dahmer was a serial killer and a sex offender in America. Notably, he murdered 17 boys and men between 1978 and 1991. His acts of murder involved cannibalism, necrophilia, rape and dismemberment (Tithecott, 1997). Dahmer was born in 1960, 21st May in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to Joyce Dahmer and Lionel. His accounts reveal that he was a happy child, but things changed at age six after he underwent a hernia surgery that changed his personality. He grew from being jubilant and social to being a withdrawn loner and uncommunicative (Tithecott, 1997).
In 1966 during his teen years, his family moved to Bath in Ohio. This increased his insecurities making him shy and unable to have friends. Notably, he behaved differently from his peers because his activities involved collecting animals along the road, killing and stripping their carcasses as well as storing their bones. He also spent most of his time alone fantasizing. In his high school years, he was still a loner in Revere High School. However, he developed a problem of bad drinking. His parents also divorced when he was nearly 18 years old in 1977. He stayed with his father who had a busy schedule of traveling and nurturing his relationship with the new wife ((Tithecott, 1997)).
He enrolled at Ohio State University where he was busy drinking and skipping classes. This followed his dropping and returning home. He enlisted in the Army for six years, but his drinking habits persisted resulting to his discharge in 1981 (Bauman 78).He was disintegrating mentally and at age 18, he was struggling with homosexual desires and sadistic fantasies. This resulted to his first kill in June 1978. He invited Steven Hicks, 19-year-old into his father’s home. They drank and had sex but when a time came for Steven to leave, Dahmer hit his head using a barbell and murdered him. Furthermore, he dismembered the body put the parts in garbage bags and buried them in the backyard of the home. After some years, he dug up the parts crushing the bones and disbursing the remains in the woods.
His drinking persisted and was staying in trouble with the police. In 1981, he was arrested for disorderly conduct. He was released and went to stay with his grandmother in West Allis. He was arrested due to indecent exposure in 1982. In 1986, he was arrested and charged to serve ten months in jail, following public exposure and masturbating in public. Soon after his release, he was arrested after he sexually molested a boy aged 13 in Milwaukee. Notably, he convinced the judge of his need for therapy and was given probation of 5 years.
Noteworthy, Dahmer did not commit any other murder for nine years since his first murder. However, he resumed on 1987, September when he picked Steven Tuomi at a bar killing him. He admitted later that he could not remember committing the crime. Consequently, he continued killing sporadically following the murder of Tuomi. In 1988, he executed two murders and one in 1989. He usually picked his victims in gay bars, had sex with them and later killed them.
Dahmer relocated to an apartment in Milwaukee from his grandmother’s house. This apartment, 213, 924 North 25th Street, later became infamous. Consequently, his pace of killing picked up with four murders before the end of 1990. He kept the race by killing three in 1991, February, April, and May respectively. Notably, he narrowly escaped exposure of his acts in 1991, 27th May when his victim, Konerak Sinthasomphone, aged 14 escaped into the street (Baumann, 1991). Two women called the police for his rescue. However, Dahmer convinced the police that the boy was his gay partner. The women argued that the boy was only a child and could not speak English, but the police sided with Dahmer.
The woman reported of a strange smell in Dahmer’s apartment, but no investigations were conducted. The strange scent was a decomposing body of Tony Hughes. The police did not identify Dahmer as a convicted child molester under probation. He killed Konerak that night, dismembering his body and storing his skull as a trophy (Bauman, 1991).Shockingly, Dahmer was killing at least one man every week by 1991 summer. Accordingly, he killed Turner on 30th June, Weinberger on 5th July, Lacy Oliver on 12th July and Brandehoft on 19th July (Baumann, 1991).
Notably, Dahmer was arrested in 1991, 22nd July following Tracy Edwards escape from his apartment after his failed attempts of handcuffing him. He signaled the police and led them to the apartment. The police arrested Dahmer after they saw mangled bodies and found dismembered human body parts in the apartment. Dahmer was facing charges of 17 murders that he pleaded not guilty claiming he was insane. However, he was proved sane and was sentenced to 957 years, 15 life terms. While in prison, he was attacked twice first in 1994, July and was later beaten severely by Scarver Christopher, an inmate resulting to his death due to severe head trauma in 1994, 28th November.
Jeffrey Dahmer suffered from borderline personality disorder. Victims of the disorder are not stable in a number of areas such as moods, behavior, self-image and interpersonal relationship. They experience extreme mood swings, are unpredictable, have the fluctuating self-image. In addition, they do have difficulty in being proud of whom they are. They view the world to be either to good or too bad.
When relating to others, they form a strong attachment to someone they like only for them to end it over nothing. They tend to depend on others for fear of being abandoned.
In addition, Dahmer could not control his conduct because he suffered from a mental disease, paraphilia and specifically necrophilia. Dahmer could not resolve to stop thoughts of having sex with dead bodies. He killed his victims as a way to make them stay with him. He also sought for passive sex resulting to his creation of zombies. He was diagnosed to suffer from pedophilia that involved molesting children. Furthermore, most of his victims were young and hence felt in control with a child. He was also a sadist child molester because he focused on young boys and was fatal to them. Such individuals often mutilate the victim’s body, are sociopaths and antisocial, often with criminal records. He was also defined as sadist manic and psychotic.
This disorder is characterized by fluctuations in a patient’s moods, which can either be too high, mania or too low, depression. These mood fluctuations can be rapid and dramatic while, in most cases, they occur gradually. Patients with bipolar disorder experience almost all the symptoms accompanied by depression, but these occur in cycles.
Symptoms experienced during the manic cycle include mostly over activity such as over talking and extremely high energies. In turn, this affects the patient’s social behaviors, judgments and thinking capacity, which can cause embarrassment. For example, a patient might feel elated, which might lead to romantic sprees or unwise decisions. If this condition is not treated after its occurrence, it might evolve into a psychotic state. Psychotic depression is usually considered as a severe case of depression It is characterized by withdrawal from reality, delusions, and hallucinations. These were all symptoms of Dahmer.
Dahmer committed murder because of his personality that made him alone and socially withdrawn. He, therefore, concentrated with his abnormal fantasies that he never shared with any person. His withdrawal made him feel disconnected with the real world that made him avoid any relationship with other people and rather opt for zombies of dead bodies to keep him company. Dahmer had the desire of being in full control which made him molest children, kill them and eat them. His abnormal desires ended in his murders. His disconnection from the real world devoured his integrity making him lose his respect for the lives of others and moral sense.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is often known to employ several different and diverse behavioral patterns that are looked at when it comes to the addressing of both of both cognitive as well as different maladaptive issues. CBT is a thought process that is in a manner looked at carefully and within a short span of time, it aims at making sure that there is decreased negativity. CBT often involves the combination of a curative and behavior therapy when it comes to the reduction of several disorders.
CBT therapy in most instances is known to use a method that aims at the use of a rational thought approach. CBT often uses a contingency approach because there is an understanding that stress is different in each rational thought approach. The diagnosis is based on the changing of behaviors of the persons. There is the incorporation of both systemic oriented approach and action based approach when it comes to the general elimination of the problem.
In the submission of the CBT, psychologist consider in the behavioral alteration. (Paris, 1993). The supposition is that a behavioral modification will in some way bring an adjustment in the deeds and sociological contact. Modern improvement of CBT tires as best as possible to sponsor changes in each and every feature of maladaptive philosophy as disparate to an alteration in cognitive procedure of a person (Paris, 1993).
It is through an alteration of the maladaptive thinking that Borderline Personality Disorder brings (Paris, 1993). A thorough purpose of CBT in helping patients that have borderline personality in most instances often involves the assistance of the persons to be able to restore his sense sand ignore maladaptive cognitive thoughts which often comes with decreased negativity, and generalization. There is the laying foundation in CBT with four process, they include thoughts, belief, imagination as well as attitudes.
The beginning of CBT begins when there is an internal dialog amongst the affected persons. The patients are able to understand themselves better and make internal dialogs. The communication with the self is extremely important as it helps in the correlation of the self. The patients have to understand their problem first and from there on make an informed decision about them which leads to an increased perception about the self.
There is assistance with people that have borderline personality and this is critical when it comes as CBT ensures that there is an understanding of the events that surround the different behaviors. Its critical to understand that it is often the scale and gravity in connotation obtainable to events that emerge to be self-destructive and harmful. This consequently makes people that have Borderline personality disorder to build up an automatic cognitive approach as they undergo therapy.
In a slow manner, persons that have Borderline personality disorder begin to appreciate that the giving of sense and significance to proceedings that are unenthusiastic leads to an expansion of stress as well as discomfort. The persons start to think that the events that surround them are true and they think that they are capable of shaping their destiny. It is critical to recognize that it is this assumption which often brings the creation of major Borderline personality disorder apparent throughout maladaptive and unconstructive ethics and intrinsic worth. The use of CBT is crucial in ensuring that borderline personality disorder is mitigated i the right manner possible and that steps are taken to decrease its incidence.
Ultimately, the patients are often able to develop different habits that are more positive as compared to being negative. Idyllically, the patients are able to carefully develop what can be described as habits that tend to help in the promotion of attitude transformation as well as behavior alteration. This supposition is reliant on the fact that CBT offers an association flanked by approach and cognitive thought. It is critical to recognize that the different thoughts of an individual are either constructive or they are maladaptive. Either way, they often are noticeable in the cognitive processes and emotions of the patient.
CBT offers a protection for persons with Borderline personality disorder as it gives them a way out in escaping their conditions. It reduces the maladaptive behaviors that are often associated with borderline personality disorder and gives the individual the ability of having an increased self esteem. This is integral and important as it is able to ensure that one is treated of this disease.
Patients of Borderline personality disorder recognize themselves as being of no worth as well as having less importance to the society. Therefore, it is critical to recognize that the feature of dominance and inadequacy complex enters as a result of these manifested feelings.
It is important to understand why Jeffrey Dahmer’s case is important especially to psychologists. The law is meant to safeguard the rights of the mentally challenged as a special case in society. The whole society is based on human rights for everyone, and the mentally ill are subject to this. Jeffrey Dahmer did suffer from a mental illness, and consequently he had the right plea insanity. The same case should also be applied to adults who also exhibit mental issues and are involved in such grievous crimes. Such people should be treated. In psychology, the rule used in showing if the accused is in fact showing signs that they are not rational. That is, they cannot critically think and analyze the situation.
Moreover, they cannot differentiate between reality and fiction. As such, this people are a danger to society. When treated as natural people and placed in prison, then they pose a threat to other prison inmates. Though prison inmates are indeed found guilty, their safety needs to be upheld. As such, the insanity plea is also a means to safeguard not only the society but also the inmates who would have otherwise mingled with the accused. A psychologist thus has to undertake a very thorough procedure to ascertain mental distress. This might explain why Jeffrey Dahmer was stabbed twice in Prison and eventually he did die in Prison.
Baumann, E., (1991) Step into my parlor: the chilling story of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. Chicago: Bonus Books.
Norris J., (1992) Jeffrey Dahmer. New York, NY: Windsor Pub. Corp.
Tithecott, R., (1997) Of men and monsters Jeffrey Dahmer and the construction of the serial killer. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.
Linehan, M. M. (1993). Cognitive-behavioral treatment of borderline personality disorder. New York Guilford Press.
Paris, J. (1993). Borderline personality disorder: Etiology and treatment. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Press.
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