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This essay will explore a psychological diagnosis of serial killer John Wayne Gacy. It will discuss the psychological factors and potential mental disorders that could have influenced his criminal behavior, based on known facts and behaviors. At PapersOwl too, you can discover numerous free essay illustrations related to Alcoholism.
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In 1942, a baby was born in a Chicago hospital, named John Wayne Gacy. He came from what seemed like a normal family. He grew up with his two sisters, his mother, and his father. However, no one knew that Gacy’s father was both verbally and physically abusing him. This would ultimately affect Gacy for the rest of his life.
In 1968, Gacy was indicted by a grand jury for allegedly committing the act of sodomy with a young teenage boy, and was sent to prison for ten years. Gacy spent only 18 months in jail and was released on parole. This was the start of Gacy’s killing spree that lasted over ten years. He raped and killed, in total, up to 33 young teenage boys. Gacy was not a suspect for any of the missing children until 1980. When the police searched Gacy’s house, they found 28 bodies buried there. Of the bodies found, 27 were buried in his crawl space; the other four victims were found later in local rivers. Throughout Gacy’s trial, he showed no remorse or sympathy. John Wayne Gacy is still considered one of the most dangerous and infamous serial killers of all time.
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My primary diagnosis for John Wayne Gacy is that he suffers from schizophrenia. There are many symptoms that constitute schizophrenia, two of which are clearly evident in Gacy. One positive symptom of schizophrenia is displaying extremely inappropriate emotions or actions. Gacy displayed very unusual emotions; he found pleasure in raping and killing young teenage boys. His actions were also bizarre; rape and murder are highly inappropriate actions. Furthermore, being able to bury and live with over 25 dead bodies is extremely abnormal. Another symptom prominent in Gacy is his flat and unemotional personality. At the trial, Gacy seemed to fall into a flat affect. This means he displayed a zombie-like state, showing absolutely no emotion at all. He had no remorse for the crimes he committed.
The psychosocial stressors Gacy could have are categorized under Axis IV. One main environmental stressor would be the fact that Gacy was both verbally and physically abused by his alcoholic father until he was a teenager. This constant abuse was definitely both an environmental and psychological stressor on Gacy as a young man. Schizophrenia undoubtedly has a biological factor to it. The chances of developing schizophrenia are about 1 in 100. However, the chances increase to 1 in 10 if you have an affected sibling or parent. These chances increase to 1 in 2 for identical twins. Gacy, like others with schizophrenia, may have abnormalities on chromosomes 6, 8, and 22. He may also have brain abnormalities. Enlarged, fluid-filled cerebral cavities or increased receptors for the neurotransmitter dopamine are often linked to schizophrenia.
Gacy most definitely falls into the category of abnormal. His behaviors and actions prove this. He lived a life in his own world. His subjective stress with life and the cruelty of the crimes he committed were horrific, likely beyond what society could anticipate. His social dysfunction manifested later in his life, when he began withdrawing from society, family, and friends. He displayed selfishness, issuing a lack of respect and character for himself. As for being a danger to others, the 33 teenage boys buried in his house could attest to that. He also posed a risk to himself because he attempted suicide twice in prison.
Another comorbid disorder I would suggest Gacy had is depression. I infer this from Gacy’s past. His father was an abusive alcoholic who treated Gacy, his sisters, and his mother horribly. Gacy was also socially withdrawn from society, showing a lack of interest in life. He lived for ten years in his own twisted world, seldom expressing feelings or emotions.
Although Gacy pleaded mental insanity, the jury ruled that the crimes were far too shocking and horrific to ever let a man like Gacy back on the streets. Now that Gacy is dead, no one can definitively pinpoint the motives behind his madness.
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