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The Psycho of Wall Street: Diagnosing Patrick Bateman in American Psycho

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Fifty years ago, a person breaking the law would either be called crazy or a criminal. Today, the mental health community has much more specific diagnoses. However, the explanation of certain behaviors may be difficult because there is much overlap among mental conditions. In Bret Easton Ellis’ American Psycho, the protagonist, Patrick Bateman, is apparently simply a psychopath. However, Bateman can be diagnosed with other mental illnesses such as Asperger’s syndrome, obsessive-compulsive disorder, schizophrenia, narcissism, and antisocial personality disorder. In both the book and film adaptation, Bateman’s actions can be understood more accurately when analyzed in light of modern psychology.
Asperger’s syndrome is one of the mental illnesses that manifests itself in Bateman the most. He displays a high functioning form of Asperger’s syndrome, yet there are still symptoms present in Bateman of which even the highest functioning people with Asperger’s syndrome cannot rid themselves. One of the key symptoms in Asperger’s syndrome is the need for strict routine. Routines are an essential part of an Asperger’s patient’s life. Individuals who suffer from Asperger’s follow strict routines that they cannot break. If these routines are interrupted, individuals with Asperger’s can get very upset to the point where a disruption in their daily routine can even ruin their entire day (Moreno).
Bateman demonstrates various routines throughout the novel. The first routine encountered in the book is his morning routine. He has a specific daily routine that he follows every day. “I take the ice-pack mask off and use a deep-pore cleanser lotion, then an herb-mint facial masque which I leave on for ten minutes while I check my toenails” (Ellis 24)....

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