ALEX FORREST


(Fatal Attraction)

What’s the Matter with Her?
To the untrained eye, Alex is a little unstable (Just ask the bunny). She throws tantrums, stalks Dan, and becomes violent after a weekend love fest doesn’t turn into anything more substantial. Alex’s behavior can be explained by a personality disorder that specifically focuses on interpersonal relationships.

Borderline Personality Disorder
Despite its name, the border implied by this diagnosis is not explained (It probably doesn’t relate to the Madonna song, but who could say?) This particular personality problem is marked by impulsive behavior and teeter-totter interactions with others. Alex’s symptoms that support this diagnosis include the following:

*Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment

*A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships
Alex2

This one isn’t clear. The only relationship we get to witness is the one between Alex and Dan, so whether she has a pattern of this is not well-known. One could argue that the only reason an attractive, successful woman is single and alone is because she is crazy (Those people are called ignorant). It is obvious that merely a few days’ fling with a married man puts Alex in an unusual frame of mind. She doesn’t ever discuss friends or family or exes and none of them make appearances. The presence of a pattern can’t be determined, but she is certainly unstable and intense with Dan.

*Impulsivity in at least two areas that are self-damaging
This one is also a little sketchy (Not unlike Alex). She both kidnaps Dan’s child and sleeps with a married man she works with, so both of these could be constituted as potentially self-damaging. Alex also mutilates herself in an effort to keep Dan around.

*Suicidal behavior

That one explains itself.

*Chronic feelings of emptiness

That one also explains itself (Although the electric company probably has a few questions).

*Inappropriate, intense anger
Anyone could argue that being tossed around by a married guy might make somebody angry. However, Alex knows from the get-go that Dan is taken. She seems to acknowledge what she’s getting herself into, but does not want to let go. Instead, her behavior escalates to the point of violence in the name of a relationship between her and Dan that essentially lasted for three days. She inflicts emotional distress on him and his family, as well as physical harm on one of their beloved pets.

Is Alex a Liar?
Alex1
It’s hard to say (Let’s just go with probably). She tells Dan that she is pregnant, but does not actually show any pregnancy symptoms after the fact. Alex even offers alcohol to Dan when he unexpectedly comes over, though she is not drinking it herself.
Dan tells his friend at work that he called the gynecologist himself and the doctor confirmed the results and he finds a pregnancy test among Alex’s possessions.
Not definitive symptoms of BPD, lying and manipulation sometimes accompany this disorder. In this case, Alex does not appear to be lying about her health state, but she may have intentionally not used protection as a means of manipulating Dan into something more permanent later. Regardless, not insisting on use of birth control definitely constitutes impulsivity on both their parts (The moral of this story is always use protection, ladies and gentlemen).

What Do You Think?
Alex3
Share your thoughts with us!

HANNIBAL LECTER


(The Silence of the Lambs)

What’s the Matter with Him?
Well, he eats people (Gotta get your protein somehow, man). Hannibal Lecter or “Hannibal the Cannibal” is a notorious serial killer who has spent time both in jail and in an asylum for a personality disorder.

Schizotypal Personality Disorder
This personality disorder is concerned mainly with how the sufferer thinks and perceives situations. While it does not outright explain Hannibal’s murderous tendencies, it can explain his cannibalistic ones – which seem to be the basis for his murder madness anyway. Some symptoms that Hannibal exhibits include:

*Magical thinking that influences behavior
Based on the way he interacts with Clarice, Hannibal seems to think that he can read her thoughts – that he knows more about her life than she reveals. Unfortunately, the innocent Miss Starling does not understand that Hannibal’s manipulation techniques only make it seem as though he is reading her mind. Instead, she is forthcoming with information about herself, and thus the more Hannibal gets, the more his strange beliefs are fed (He’s eating her mind).

*Odd thinking and speech
While having an agreeable discussion with someone, Hannibal might suddenly make the conversation obscene.

*Suspiciousness or paranoid ideation
Hannibal and Dr. Chilton

Especially when referring to Dr. Chilton, Hannibal exposes his paranoia that the doctor is tormenting his patient. While Dr. Chilton doesn’t exactly appear to be a genial fellow (He’s kind of a tool), he is certainly not trying to harm Hannibal outright.

*Constricted affect
Hannibal in His Cell
Hannibal Lecter Leers
Hannibal Looks Up
…That takes care of that.

*Behavior that is odd or peculiar

…Yeah. That one’s obvious too.

*Lack of close friends or confidants
Clarice & Hannibal

The Star-ling of the show is Clarice, who doesn’t glean too much information from Hannibal, but he definitely gets a few big clues about her. Other than that, Hannibal keeps to himself.

He’s Not a Sociopath?
No.
Not all serial killers are sociopaths –  a term for those with Antisocial Personality Disorder. Since Hannibal functioned well in society before he started biting people’s heads off (As a psychiatrist…), he would not fit the criteria that being a sociopath entails. His regard for the law up until he started in with cannibalism (That’ll get ya every time) means his problem is something else.

What About Bill?
Buffalo Bill
We don’t spend much time with Jame Gumb, alias Buffalo Bill (Since we’re not trapped in a hole in his basement), so it is difficult to pinpoint his ailment. One could argue that Bill is experiencing something called Gender Dysphoria. As of the fifth edition of the DSM, this is classified as a mental conundrum. However, Hannibal Lecter does not believe that Bill really would prefer to be a woman.
It is certain that Bill’s treatment of people probably denotes some mental dysfuntion, but his treatment of people does NOT pertain to any questions he may or may not have of his sexual identity.

Is there Hope for Hannibal?
Hannibal in His Mask
No.
He is having a friend for dinner (Gross), so he doesn’t seem to have made much progress. Hannibal’s lack of regard for others and apparent enjoyment at manipulating Clarice, added to his complete distrust of his doctor promise that he will not be improving any time soon.

What Do You Think?
Hannibal Grins

This is a horror classic, so we’d love to hear your thoughts…no matter how scary they may be!

The Silence of the Lambs


1991, Rated R

FBI cadet Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) is asked to help interrogate a notorious killer, Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins); Lecter supposedly has information on another killer, Buffalo Bill (Ted Levine), who is still at large. Though Lecter proves uncooperative with other agents and doesn’t even like his psychiatrist, Dr. Chilton (Anthony Heald), he quickly builds a report with Clarice.
When Clarice makes headway with Hannibal, Buffalo Bill kidnaps the daughter of a Senator, so the cadet is forced to change tactics.
As Clarice and her boss, Jack Crawford (Scott Glenn) draw nearer to catching Buffalo Bill, Hannibal Lecter grows more manipulative and pulls further away from the watchful eyes of the law.
~This film won the 1991 Academy Award for Best Picture

PATRICK BATEMAN


(American Psycho)

What’s the Matter with Him?
Where to begin…?
Patrick Bateman is not as easy to analyze as he might seem (Which he would probably love to hear). What appears to be Antisocial Personality Disorder – a sociopath – is a little more complex, and a lot more confusing.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder
In the same realm as Antisocial Personality Disorder, Patrick’s symptoms are as follows:

*Sense of self-importance
Patrick seems to believe that the fact that he has a lot of cash makes him an extremely important man.  In fact, money is a facet of Patrick’s being that makes him “better” than most other people.

*Believes that he is “special;” can only be understood by or associate with high-status people
Even in his most desperate hour, Patrick calls a lawyer instead of a psychiatrist. When he takes Paul Allen out for dinner, Patrick makes a show of pretending to recognize Ivana Trump at a nearby table; he tells a private investigator he has a meeting at the Four Seasons (With the guy from The Cosby Show), and does not falter when Detective Kimball implies that Patrick has no idea where the Four Seasons is really located.

*Lacks empathy
Patrick Bateman Screams
Patrick Bateman - Check Out Those Eyebrows
Patrick Bateman - Sullen
…Duh.

*Often envious of others/believes others are envious of him
His tone of condescension is evident through his constant narrative, but Patrick’s train of envy goes so far as to make the display of business cards at his office a tense and competitive affair.

*Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors and attitudes
Patrick Bateman Checks Himself Out
Again…duh.

Schizophrenia
Patrick’s Bateman’s hallucinations cannot be accounted for by a personality disorder. Patrick imagining horrific things happening, or imagining that they did not happen, can be explained by Schizophrenia, a rare but severe mental illness.

*Hallucinations
Patrick believes that he murders people (And cats) and confesses to doing so. While the confession turns out to have really occurred, the events leading up to it are shrouded in mystery. Upon arrival at the apartment where he supposedly stores multiple corpses, Patrick finds an empty apartment and that the tenant living there is not the one that he believes to occupy the place. Weirder still, the man he thinks he killed is said to actually be alive.

Does Patrick Bateman have Multiple Personalities?
Patrick Bateman Pulls His Face Off
No.
Patrick frequently gets mistaken for other people and  the inhabitants of his small corner of the world don’t pay a lot of attention to each other, but that does not mean he has split personalities. Dissociative Identity Disorder – often called Multiple Personality Disorder, and sometimes incorrectly called Schizophrenia – is characterized by the victim blacking out and assuming other “altars” or personalities. Since Patrick never blacks out and is conscious of pretending to be someone else to con Paul Allen,  he does not have multiple identities (One of him is enough).

Is Patrick Bateman a Sociopath?
Patrick Bateman Smiles

Nope.
Are you shocked?
While his violent tendencies and lack of empathy paint Patrick as the epitome of a sociopath, it all depends on your interpretation of the movie.
The author believes that most of Patrick’s violent behavior, based on the way people react to it and the empty apartment, is imagined. While Patrick’s fantasies are certainly alarming, they do not make him a sociopath. Even the grotesque notebook that Jean discovers would imply that Patrick preoccupies himself with violent thoughts, but he does not act on them in reality. Furthermore, Patrick does not seek out ways to break the law, which is characteristic of a sociopath. The only time he is in violation of the law is when he seems to be hallucinating.
However, if you believe that Patrick’s actions really took place, then he absolutely is a sociopath.
What is important to point out is that Patrick Bateman believes that Patrick Bateman is a sociopath. Perhaps by believing this, he could be considered a sociopath.
It all depends on how you slice it.

Is there Hope for Patrick?
Patrick Bateman Sobbing
Sadly, this American psycho seems beyond repair. While there is a glimpse of prescription medication on Patrick’s bathroom counter just before he kills Paul Allen (Or thinks he kills Paul Allen), it is unclear whether Patrick takes the medication, what the medication is, or if there is even medication in the container in the first place.
This suggests that Patrick has sought help before, which means that Patrick Bateman knows that Patrick Bateman is crazy. Unfortunately, his confession at the end of the film falls on deaf or disbelieving ears, and brings no comfort to Patrick. The support system in his life is virtually non-existent; he speaks of no close family, and has no close friends. The only woman that cares about him has just found a sick catalog of his diabolical doodles, and Patrick seems to be the kind of guy that would sneer at anyone who visits a psychiatrist – which means he will never see one.
Thus, Patrick will probably never get better – not without a commitment to therapy. Lots of therapy.

What Do You Think?
Patrick Bateman Listens to Some Tunes
Even if you just have some strong opinions about Mr. Bateman’s taste in music, we’d love to hear what you think! Share your thoughts with us!

REGINA GEORGE


(Mean Girls)

What’s the Matter with Her?
Well, she’s SO mean (Not fetch)!!!
Okay, that’s easy; Regina’s like, really mean, but people don’t turn out that way for no reason. There could be a psychological explanation for her sour attitude…

HISTRIONIC PERSONALITY DISORDER
This somewhat difficult-to-pronounce disorder is what plagues Regina. Some of the symptoms include:

*Discomfort in situations where Regina is not the center of attention
This is most obvious whenever someone is paying attention to Cady Heron instead, especially if the person paying attention to her is Aaron Samuels (He’s so dreamy).

*Uses physical appearance to draw attention to herself
Regina in Her Jammies
Regina's Peepshow
Regina the Bunny
…You get the picture.

*Expresses emotions in an attention-seeking way
OMG! Regina's on the Phone
This one isn’t super obvious, but yeah, it definitely happens.

*Highly suggestible
While Miss George is rather manipulative herself, she is willing to go along with whatever Cady tells her. New skin cream and Kalteen bars are evidence of Cady’s influence over Regina – which is not questioned, even when Regina cannot fit into her Spring Fling dress.
Regina's Gettin' Heavy

*Considers relationships to be more intimate than they are
Yes, Regina cheats on Aaron with Shane Oman in the projection room above the auditorium (Everyone knows that…well, except Aaron). But this symptom does appear to manifest in the mean girl when it comes to her former friend, Janis Ian.

Does Regina Have an Eating Disorder?
Yep. The DSM-V acknowledges a really interesting food-related psychosis called Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder. It does not exclusively eliminate symptoms of Anorexia Nervosa or Bulimia Nervosa, but instead entails severely limiting one’s diet.

The telltale sign is that she severely restricts her diet, but she still falls in a normal weight class for her age and height. Between only drinking cranberry juice to negative comments about her looks and a Kalteen bar binge, Regina definitely fits the profile for someone with this problem.

Is Regina a Sociopath?
Regina Preys
No. Sociopaths – people that suffer from Antisocial Personality Disorder – have gained a lot of attention in the media in the last decade or so. Serial killers and other infamous personalities tend to have this disorder, so the diagnosis brings up both controversy and fascination (Mostly in the form of Law and Order marathons).
Though Regina tells an array of lies with no regard for the consequences or apparent guilt, this is but one of many markers that indicate a sociopath. Regina George is not one of them because most show a disregard for the law by the time they are teenagers. Mean she may be, but Regina is not a criminal (Not even the fashion police can arrest her).

Is There Hope for Regina?
Regina Considers
Yes!
Regina’s penchant for lacrosse implies that she has found a way to channel gossip and petty lies into aggression on the field. Being an athlete, Regina will probably find her restricted diet hard to maintain, and being less frustrated will probably make her feel that her diet doesn’t need to be restricted anyway.
Regina will be okay.

What Do You Think?
Regina's Like, "What?!"
Try not to be too mean, but share your thoughts with us!