Saturday, July 30, 2011

Anders Breivik Might Have Schizotypal Personality Disorder.

This is only my theory based upon education, observation and a little research. Qualified Psychiatrists, which I am not, no doubt should weigh in but I hope they will consider this possible disorder before coming to their final pronouncements.

So far the police officers and lawyer who've met and talked with Breivik came away from their interactions with him with the conviction that he is absolutely insane. But they do not understand the significance of the symptomatic behavior he has exhibited.
Breivik actions and personality reminded me of something I came across while memorizing the DSM in school and so I examined current descriptions of the disorder. That disorder is Schizotypal Personality Disorder. Every medical and psychiatric site has a slightly different description of it but it all fits Breivik to a T.

Odd beliefs - An early definition of this from years ago said people with this disorder often seem lucid but will relate things that cannot be true. Someone with this might go to the police and calmly and rationally insist that their neighbor is pointing a death ray at them, or that they have been abducted by a UFO. But in all other respects they seem perfectly mentally competent.

The police officers and lawyer were flummuxed by the sheer oddness of what he was saying to them (I don't know if it was the same as in his "manifesto").  Police all have experience with paranoid schizophrenics so would have realized pretty quickly that his cognition and perceptions were impared if they had been. But they didn't seem to be even though he was saying such odd things.

Extreme eccentricity- we all saw the photos and he spent god knows how long patching together that "manifesto".

Social avoidance- He took a year off to play video games. And have you noticed that there have been no friends comming forward to talk about him?

Odd manner of speech (I think this was described by police but am not sure. I think they did discuss his general extreme oddness aside from his beliefs).

Paranoia (bingo) yet not full blown paranoid schizophrenia with attendant breakdown of congnitive functions. If you have ever had the distinct discomfort of talking to a paranoid schizophrenic they at first seem insistant about something , then you think you are having trouble following what they are saying, then you realize it is in fact a stream of conciousness where one sentance is leading to another with no actual connected narrative. In contrast Breivik was saying extremely odd things but in a coherent way.

Chance of degredation into schizophrenia, that may be what changed him from being a quiet loner into a violent pscyhopath. He may have started on his way to full blown paranoid schizophnrenia yet still have worldly competance.

Chance of violent psychotic attacks. Nothing needs to be said.

Conversly he does not appear to conform to the definition of Narcissism.

Such people require constant POSITIVE reactions and ONLY POSITIVE reactions (hysterionics require any reaction). Breivik did not expect a positive responce for his act.

They brag about themselvs and are envious so constantly PUT EVERYONE else down. Breivik expresses admiration for Al Quida of all things, just the sort of nemisis a narcissist would need to belittle. (caevat: he does put down the EDL people who were doing far more then he ever did).

Such people interact with others in order to manipulate and exploit them. It doesn't seem like Breivik, who didn't appear to actually have any social life whatsoever. Not even people who hate him. Which there would be if he was a narcissist. Though people might yet come forward, the press hasn't appeared to find anyone.

I am not saying he is not responsible for and does not understand the consequences of his actions. I am not saying he is deserving of an insanity plea. There are all sorts of disorders where the person is fully lucid and competant and understands the results of their actions.

Here is a video of a psychiatrist describing Schizotypal Personality Disorder. See if it reminds you of Breivik.

Schizotypal Personality Disorder

You should also find on that page a vid of this psychiatrist describing narcissism.

UPDATE: The Psychiatrists who examined him concluded that he has Paranoid Schizophrenia and was Psychotic during the mass murder. The assessment is was published in english and is fascinating reading. The comments below it also bear reading but are more technical. Psychiatric assessments are not written in stone but these were working experts who had direct access to Anders Breivik so their conclusions should be taken with far less salt than mine.

As far as that highly innacurate assesment that he is a Narcissist that was bandied about by a psychiatrist on the TV news- the assessment does discuss his lack of empathy regarding the victims and their families but at no time say he is Narcissistic. They say that symptoms of his paranoid schizophrenia have to be noticiably absent for a period of time before his underlying personality can even be assessed. So it is far too soon to say he has any personality disorder at all, let alone what it might be.

Schizotypal Personality Disorder is on the Schizophrenia scale so isn't really a personality disorder per se despite it's name - So my assessment that he could have had SPD which turned into Paranoid Schizophrenia is still an acceptable interpretation - though it's possible that it was paranoid schizophrenia without previously being SPD.

Forensic psychiatric statement — Anders Behring Breivik


  1. Update: The proffessional personel observing and interacting with him have said that he now has considerably impared mental functioning. It does look like he has schizophrenia.

  2. The proffessional's report discussed his life before the attacks. It now looks as if he was experiencing a slow decline into schizophrenia over years. This started in his youth when he dropped out of school for no discernable reason.

    This is the link to that report:

    This is the original unbiased report and was achieved thru long observation and many interviews. There was public furor over it and a second observation was implemented with a political goal rather than the streigtforward goal of this observation.