An outline of the traits of fatal attractions.

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The Stanton Peele Addiction Website, July 13, 2009. This blog post also appeared on Stanton's Addiction in Society blog at

What's the Most Dangerous Addiction?

I previously answered the question, "What's the hardest addiction to quit?" It turns out that the same addiction is the most dangerous.

Michael Jackson died at age 50, and long term prescription drug abuse is suspected. In other words, it often takes a long time to kill yourself with drugs (if that's how MJ died).

Here's the quick way to get killed through addiction, as exemplified by two superb physical specimens who died in their thirties this month.

Former NFL football star, Steve McNair, 36, known for his leadership and toughness by playing despite numerous injuries, was found dead next to Iranian-born girlfriend, 20-year-old Sahel Kazemi. McNair was shot four times, Kazemi had one shot to the head, and a gun was found under her body. Kazemi's family told reporters that she was so confident McNair was divorcing his wife of 12 years that she was preparing to sell her furniture and move in with the former quarterback.

Italian-born Arturo Gatti, 37, the former boxing champion known for his brutal boxing style who fought out of New Jersey, was found dead Saturday in a hotel room. The Pernambuco state civil police accused Gatti's Barzilian wife, Amanda Rodrigues, 23, of killing him. Gatti was apparently strangled with the strap of a handbag. Mrs. Rodrigues denied any involvement in her husband's death, but police said she could not explain how she spent nearly 10 hours in the room with his dead body.

In order to protect people from such untimely, addiction-caused fatalities, let's summarize the risk factors:

  • a physically imposing male
  • intensely involved with a woman 15 years younger than he
  • the woman is from a different culture than the man
  • the man is used to dominance
  • the woman does not tolerate frustration well

Clinicians: if you observe relationships with these traits, be on guard!