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GouldFan

Fictional Characters with Psychiatric Disorders

Do you tend to give psychiatric diagnosis to fictional characters as you watch movies or read books? Who are they and what are the basis for the diagnosis?

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I did not used to pay attention to disorders and symptoms, upon hearing how films often fail to portray psychiatric disorders correctly, I have gotten curious about what's realistic and what's bogus (or exaggerated). Characters with schizophrenia come up in movies often (e.g., David Helfgott in Shine and John Nash in A Beautiful Mind), but many of them exhibit only beautified symptoms.

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I often notice sociopaths, psychopaths and Aspergers in characters.

Because of the Trope; Comedic Sociopathy you get it a lot in comedies and I used to not think of it at all. That was until I saw I cousin of mine watching a show called Wizards Of Waverly Place that is meant for young children. Wow, that changed it. I started noticing how they sneaked blatant sociopaths into a lot of shows. Also people like Jack Black's character in King Kong, Rorschach in Watchmen (Graphic Novel and film), Pyro in the X-men films, Les Grossman...

Anyone who watches The Big Bang Theory knows of Dr. Cooper's Aspergers.

Psychopaths: Dexter Morgan (psychopath with brainwashing), Azula (Avatar: The Last Airbender), The Joker, T-1000 (I know it's a machine, but tell me that thing didn't look smug when killing and hurting people; "Say, that's a nice bike.").

Yeah, I notice some disorders if they are obvious.

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I note axis 2 disorders with some frequency. My current boss is a strongly narcissistic-antisocial type who loves inventing arbitrary rules that have no purpose except to cause people pain for a feeling of "I drank your milkshake".

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I guess I will add Yagami Light to the list of ficitonal characteres of psychiatric disorders. He obviously has narcissistic personality disorder.

In order for a person to be diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) they must meet five or more of the following symptoms:

  • Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)
  • Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
  • Believes that he or she is "special" and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions).
  • Rarely acknowledges mistakes and/or imperfections
  • Requires excessive admiration
  • Has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations
  • Is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
  • Lacks empathy: is unwilling or unable to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others.
  • Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her
  • Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitude.

He perfectly fits all criteria to a T.

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I'm not sure if characters in fictional settings, especially ones with supernatural phenonemon not acknowledged by the populous, can be quantified as sane or insane.

Take Renfield from Dracula, for instance. He might seem completely insane to his psychiatrists, but what his mind is trying to do is come to grips with the reality of a very powerful and mind-affecting being. He's trying to emulate Dracula's vergence of power by working his way up the food chain. I argue that society in Dracula can be classified as insane because they haven't or can't acknowledge Dracula, who is reality for that setting.

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I'm not sure if characters in fictional settings, especially ones with supernatural phenonemon not acknowledged by the populous, can be quantified as sane or insane.

Take Renfield from Dracula, for instance. He might seem completely insane to his psychiatrists, but what his mind is trying to do is come to grips with the reality of a very powerful and mind-affecting being. He's trying to emulate Dracula's vergence of power by working his way up the food chain. I argue that society in Dracula can be classified as insane because they haven't or can't acknowledge Dracula, who is reality for that setting.

Good point. The definition of a disorder is bound by cultural and social expectations, so within the context of a story, one might not have any disorder at all and considered normal.

Some movies do present a character or two with distinctive psychiatric disorder defined by DSM, and can be identified/suspected of a disorder. For example, in the movie the Sixth Sense, there was a girl murdered by slow poisoning by her own mother. The mother probably had Münchausen syndrome by proxy, a mental illness in which a person intentionally causes illness or injury to another person in order to receive some benefit/compensation via attention.

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Almost the entire cast of Neon genesis evangelion.

Asuka- narcissitic personality disorder. Rei- schizoid personality disorder. Shinji- avoidant personality disorder. Gendo- anti social personality disorder. Misato- borderline personality disorder.

The main character from Misery is also borderline. Travis Bickle from Taxi Driver is schizotypal. Lucy, from Elfen Lied, has dissociative identity disorder. The main character in What about Bob? has obsessive compulsive and dependent personality disorders.

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