Psychological Disorders in American Psycho

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About this sample


Words: 579 |

Page: 1|

3 min read

Published: Mar 6, 2024

Words: 579|Page: 1|3 min read

Published: Mar 6, 2024

Table of contents

  1. Narcissistic Personality Disorder
  2. Antisocial Personality Disorder
  3. Dissociative Identity Disorder
  4. Conclusion

American Psycho, a novel by Bret Easton Ellis published in 1991, explores the dark and disturbed mind of Patrick Bateman, a wealthy investment banker living in New York City during the 1980s. The narrative delves into Bateman's psychopathic tendencies and the unraveling of his sanity, shedding light on various psychological disorders prevalent in our society. This essay aims to analyze and examine the portrayal of psychological disorders in American Psycho, focusing on Bateman's narcissistic personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder, and dissociative identity disorder.

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Narcissistic Personality Disorder

One of the central themes evident in American Psycho is Patrick Bateman's narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). Narcissistic individuals exhibit grandiosity, an unrealistic sense of self-importance, and a craving for admiration. These traits are strikingly prominent in Bateman's character, as he meticulously maintains his physical appearance, obsesses over his clothing and grooming, and fixates on external validation from his peers. Bateman's excessive preoccupation with material possessions and his overbearing need to flaunt his wealth further emphasize his deep-rooted narcissism.

In addition to exhibiting grandiose tendencies, Bateman also demonstrates a lack of empathy towards others, a classic hallmark of NPD. He treats individuals as disposable objects, dehumanizing them to fulfill his sadistic desires. Throughout the novel, Bateman engages in acts of extreme violence and brutality without remorse or guilt. His callousness towards the suffering of others reinforces the diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder, showcasing the severe impairment of his ability to form genuine emotional connections.

Antisocial Personality Disorder

Bateman's character also exhibits traits commonly associated with antisocial personality disorder (ASPD), formerly known as sociopathy. Individuals with ASPD display a blatant disregard for the rights and feelings of others, often engaging in criminal behavior and showing a lack of remorse. Bateman's acts of violence, including murder and torture, align with the antisocial nature of his disorder. He derives pleasure from inflicting pain and enjoys the power and control he exerts over his victims.

Moreover, Bateman possesses a profound ability to manipulate those around him. He effortlessly conceals his true nature by presenting a facade of normalcy, blending into social gatherings and professional settings without raising suspicion. This manipulative behavior is frequently observed in individuals with antisocial personality disorder, who often excel in deception and maintaining a dual identity. Bateman's deceptive nature further solidifies the presence of ASPD within his character.

Dissociative Identity Disorder

A less pronounced but significant element of Patrick Bateman's psychology in American Psycho is the possibility of dissociative identity disorder (DID), commonly known as multiple personality disorder. Throughout the novel, Bateman experiences occasional episodes where he questions his own identity and sanity. These instances suggest a potential dissociation, wherein Bateman's consciousness becomes fragmented, leading to the emergence of alter personalities.

The presence of DID is evident when Bateman encounters characters such as Paul Owen, who he believes he has murdered, only to stumble upon him alive and well later in the story. These inconsistencies in Bateman's perception of reality, coupled with his sporadic memory loss, indicate potential dissociative identity disorder.


American Psycho provides a thought-provoking exploration of psychological disorders, utilizing the character of Patrick Bateman to portray various manifestations of mental illness within our society. Through his narcissistic personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder, and possible dissociative identity disorder, Bateman exemplifies the complexities and destructive nature of these conditions.

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By analyzing and discussing the psychological disorders depicted in American Psycho, we gain insight into the devastating effects of such mental illnesses. The novel acts as a cautionary tale, highlighting the importance of early detection, proper diagnosis, and effective treatment for individuals suffering from these disorders.

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Cite this Essay

Psychological Disorders in American Psycho. (2024, March 06). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 30, 2024, from
“Psychological Disorders in American Psycho.” GradesFixer, 06 Mar. 2024,
Psychological Disorders in American Psycho. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 30 May 2024].
Psychological Disorders in American Psycho [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Mar 06 [cited 2024 May 30]. Available from:
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