Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Diagnosis of Darth Vader

Realspace writes (6/6/05) "Watching Star Wars 3 (much better than the first two), I couldn’t help the train of thoughts running through my mind: Paranoid delusions. Grandiosity. Impulsivity. Inflexibility in thinking. Black and white thinking. Anger management issues. Issues with authority figures. Tendency to aggression and violence. Ambivalence. Labile. Poor coping style. Difficulty with trust. Psychomotor agitation. Lack of insight. Query psychosis. Query antisocial personality disorder, possibly psychopathic. Query borderline personality disorder. At very high risk of PTSD, depression. Management? Likelihood of medication compliance? Need for involuntary treatment order? We’d need a lot of backup.."
I think Realspace is on the right track when he mentions the cluster B personality disorder diagnoses of antisocial personality disorder and borderline personality disorder, though I would vote for a diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder (he has a grandiose sense of self-importance, is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited power, believes that he is special and should only associate with other high-status people, requires excessive admiration, has a sense of entitlement, shows arrogance, and is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him. He also lacks empathy, at least at the end of the movie). Anakin is very grandiose and believes that the jedi masters are envious of his power; at the same time he envies their postion on the jedi council. He wants the admiration of others and does not feel that he is getting due respect from the other Jedi. Anakin is preoccupied with power; near the end of the movie he talks about taking over the Galactic Empire from Palpatine.
I agree that he would have been at risk for developing depression and PTSD after he killed his wife and got burned, but there was no direct evidence for either of these diagnoses in the movie. I did not detect any true psychosis in Anakin/Vader.
Managment: he might have been a candidate for intensive psychodynamic therapy before he went to the dark side; after that he was essentially untreatable. Don't think any mediction would have helped. I don't think anyone is powerful enough to enforce an involuntary treatment order on Vader, and it can be hard to get an involuntary treatment order for an axis 2 diagnosis in many jurisdictions. He could have been imprisoned for killing the jedi younglings, but soon after he did this most of the police (jedi) were killed by order 66.


aafan said...

Dang! I was writing a post on this, and you beat me to it! Oh well, I'll link to you. :^)

Anonymous said...

very nice analysis, i'd like to check his blood pressure and cholesterol, and perhaps get him set up for a colonoscopy.

Anonymous said...

realized i didn't have a link to you up for some resaon, fixed it, will be back more

Michael Rack, MD said...

Thank you, Shrinkette and Dr. Charles.

Anonymous said...

Didn't realise that anyone had thought any more about this..

Now that I've begun looking a bit more at personality disorders, I think you're right. He's not quite self-destructive enough to qualify for Borderline Personality disorder, although he does demonstrate that idealising/despising tendency, doing everything he can to save Obi-Wan at one point, then doing everything to destroy him the next. And problems with people relationships.. Narcissistic he certainly is though.

Good call on the management as well :)


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