The Harry Potter DSM: Cluster B Personality Disorders

Edit:  I googled “Harry Potter personality disorders” today [June 6th] and realized Apollo, MD had already had the same idea – back in 2008.  So.. yes.  Unintentional, but still: I feel bad. Please check out his post as well. It’s great.
Antisocial PD

“I can make bad things happen to people who annoy me. I can make them hurt if I want to…  I knew I was different,” he whispered to his own quivering fingers. “I knew I was special. Always, I knew there was something.” 

Antisocial Criteria:  To the surprise of approximately no one –  it’s Voldemort.  I mean,  “Lack of remorse”, “reckless disregard for others”, “deceitfulness”…  hell, he goes above and beyond every criteria except “marked irresponsibility”.  (I don’t think you get to go from anonymous orphan to Dark Lord without having some serious time-management skills.)

And god knows Tom Riddle would’ve qualified for Conduct Disorder as a kid, so this seems pretty open and shut.  In fact, his narcissistic traits and shallow, charming mannerisms will make this an even better fit if the proposed revisions to this disorder go through.

Borderline PD

I’m Moaning Myrtle! I wouldn’t expect you to know me! Who would ever talk about ugly, miserable, moping, Moaning Myrtle? AHHHHHHHHHH!”  *dive-bombs into toilet*

Myrtle: “Peeves upset me so much I came in here and tried to kill myself. Then, of course, I remembered that I’m—that I’m—
Ronald Weasley: “Already dead?

Borderline Criteria:  Affective instability?  Inappropriate anger?  Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats? Check, check, and check.  In fact, she’s shown pretty much everything but self-damaging impulsivity.  (Granted, I don’t know how a ghost would show pathological levels of impulsivity – especially a ghost who haunts plumbing.  Perhaps angrily flooding your own bathroom is the ghostly version of casual sex and spending sprees.)

Another Borderline tendency is “splitting“: seeing people as either all-good or all-bad.  And Myrtle splits like nothing else – it’s hard to think of anyone she’s met that she doesn’t have strong feelings about.  She had nothing but disdain for Ron and Hermione from the moment she first saw them, but latched onto Harry… at least, until he disappointed her by not visiting often enough.

After that, he was just as likely to get splashed with toilet water as everyone else.

Histrionic PD

This is a weird situation where none of the book characters qualify (nobody really uses sexuality as a weapon in this series), but the movie version totally has a dead ringer.

“AVADA KEDAVRA!  … Oh, it was just a fox.”

Histrionic Criteria:  Oh yes.  “Rapidly shifting and shallow expressions of emotion”, “shows self-dramatization, theatricality, and exaggerated expression of emotion”, inappropriately sexual, suggestible – no problems here.

But my favorite criteria for Bellatrix is “Considers personal relationships to be more intimate than they really are”.  I bet Voldemort would have something to say about that.

Narcissistic PD

“Let me introduce you to your new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher… me. Gilderoy Lockhart, Order of Merlin, Third Class, Honorary member of the Dark Force Defense League, and five times winner of Witch Weekly’s Most Charming Smile Award.”

Narcissistic Criteria:  What I love about Lockhart is that he doesn’t just embody the pop-culture traits of narcissism (it’s not too hard to find characters who are full of themselves) – but he also shows the lack of empathy necessary to really make the diagnosis.  He casually destroys people’s memories, leaving them to live out the rest of their life without an identity, just so he can claim their victories for his own.

And in true narcissistic fashion, he never doubts for a minute that his actions were justified – even fair.  After all, he’s obviously more special and important than they were.

My second favorite thing about Lockhart is that JK Rowling has repeatedly said that he’s deliberately based on a real person she once knew – and that the world will probably never truly understand that she didn’t exaggerate in the slightest.

The Harry Potter DSM: Cluster A Personality Disorders

Personality Disorders seem like the sort of thing you’d remember best by actually seeing somebody with the diagnosis – not just by memorizing criteria.

But with a Psychiatry final in one week, that’s not going to happen – so instead, I’m just going to kill some study time by mock-diagnosing Harry Potter characters.  As one does.

So!  Here are the General DSM Requirements for a Personality Disorder.  Let’s go.

Paranoid PD


Paranoid Criteria: Mad-Eye seems like the logical pick here – and he does meet some of the criteria.  But I have some reservations:

1.  Are these traits really pervasive throughout other areas of his life?  I just don’t know that I can see him accusing a significant other of cheating, or suspecting he’s been short-changed by a cashier.

2.  More importantly, you’d have to rule out PTSD – which, given his past, would seem more likely.

3.  And doesn’t he have a good, solid reason to think Voldemort could come back at any moment and the Death Eaters are out to get him?

… Well, seeing as how those guys stole his eye and stuffed him in a trunk – yeah, probably.  (Though it might be interesting to interesting to interview a teenage Moody and see what he’s like.  After all, being paranoid doesn’t necessarily mean people won’t eventually be out to get you…)

Schizoid PD

Severus Snape

He wasn’t very sociable either.  Snape never had friends” – Alan Rickman

Schizoid Criteria:  He only needs to meet 4, but I believe he shows elements of all of them.

I know he loved Lily and wanted to be with her, which isn’t exactly prototypical Schizoid.  I guess I could either say “Dude, he’s the closest character I could think of,” or  “Actually, her rejection likely led directly to his preference of an avoidant attachment style – a key feature of the Schizoid personality.”  (NYT article, Proposed DSM 5 Revision).

(To be honest, between his unstable home life, constant teasing, and rejection/death of the one person he ever loved, I think being withdrawn and avoidant sounds downright reasonable.)

Schizotypal PD

"A Wrackspurt - they're invisible, they float in through your ears and make your brain go fuzzy," she said. "I thought I felt one zooming around in here."

Schizotypal Criteria:  Ideas of reference, odd beliefs and magical thinking, unusual perceptual experiences, and “behavior or appearance that is odd, eccentric, or peculiar”?  This is so Luna.  There’s no doubt in my thoroughly uneducated M1 mind that Luna Lovegood would be the queen of this personality type.

Granted, she’d have to be over the age of 18 to qualify – but given what we know of her father’s personality type, she might have a familial disposition.  (Fictional Genetics!  Totally a thing.)