I’ve figured it out.
After observing Charlie’s erratic behavior on television networks, reading his Twitter account, and analyzing his past interviews in contrast with his current behaviors, I collected some data, did some research, considered what others had to say about him, and I finally came to a conclusion: I think Charlie Sheen suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) and is currently using drugs. My guess is that he’s using both meth and coke. I only speculate on the meth because he goes for long periods of time – for instance, during interviews – where he’s not seen sniffing anything, and he’s definitely not crashing.
Dr. Drew Pinsky has diagnosed Sheen as “hypomanic,” which is a symptom of Bipolar Disorder, the psychotic effects of which can be prompted by drug use. PsychCentral.com’s Sherrie McGregor, Ph.D. explains, “Speed (methamphetamine, crank, crystal) and cocaine are two that have sent many abusers into mania, often followed quickly by deep depression and psychotic symptoms. Hallucinogens, including LSD and PCP, can set off psychotic symptoms as well.” And, of course, who’s ruling out LSD or PCP? Either way, there’s something a little #tigersblood going on here…
Although I concur with the hypomanic diagnosis, hypomania is commonly comorbid (coexistent) with NPD – and so is substance abuse. I don’t think for a second that Charlie has stopped using drugs, even if he has found a way to circumvent the results of his urinalysis. (Obviously it’s a stupid idea to let him take the urine test in his own house. Duh. Cheating.)
According to the DSM-IV, symptoms of NPD are:
- Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)
- Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
- Believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
- Requires excessive admiration
- Has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations
- Is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
- Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others
- Is often envious of others or believes others are envious of him or her
- Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes
Charlie appears to feature all of the symptoms associated with the disorder and, as a child star, has many of the risk factors for NPD. The risk factors for NPD are:
- An oversensitive temperament at birth is the main symptomatic chronic form
- Being praised for perceived exceptional looks or talents by adults
- Excessive admiration that is never balanced with realistic feedback
- Excessive praise for good behaviors or excessive criticism for poor behaviors in childhood
- Overindulgence and overvaluation by parents
- Severe emotional abuse in childhood
- Unpredictable or unreliable caregiving from parents
- Valued by parents as a means to regulate their own self-esteem
In an interview with ABC, when questioned about whether or not he’s bipolar, Charlie says, “I’m not bi-polar; I’m bi-winning… if I’m bi-polar, aren’t there moments where a guy, like, crashes and is, like, in the corner like, [mock crying] ‘Oh my god, it’s all my mom’s fault,’ [as a frustrated respondent to the crying guy] Shut up! Shut up! Stop! Move forward.” Shunning this make-believe person for crying is somewhat telling as well. Dr. Daniel A. Bochner, Ph.D. and author of “The Therapist’s Use of Self in Family Therapy” writes, “The narcissist grows up in an environment in which vulnerability is unacceptable. Any sign of weakness in this environment is met with disdain and disgust.”
Idealization and devaluation are also components of NPD. People are all good or they’re all bad. For instance, on his radio show, Sheen’s Korner, he used the tagline, “You’re either in Charlie’s corner, or you’re with the trolls.” In contrast to the trolls, he idealizes his live-in porn stars, referring to them as “Goddesses.” (Unfortunately, this lofty moniker simultaneously makes them faceless, nameless and disposable.)
A person who is suffering from NPD lives in a black-and-white world. It’s good or bad, right or wrong, love or hate. Here’s a quote from his radio interview on the Alex Jones Show:
“My motto now is you either love or you hate, and you must do so violently. And the reason you must hate violently is because – and you have to hate everybody that’s not in your family, because they’re there to destroy your family… and, therefore, there’s nothing in the middle. I don’t live in the middle anymore; that’s where you get slaughtered, that’s where you get embarrassed in front of the prom queen… and it’s just not an option…”
Check out some of his interviews here:
His recent behavior in comparison with his past conduct is drastically different.
And when I think about the fact that Charlie Sheen is, in fact, suffering from a disease, and decomposing, in front of billions of people, I almost feel sorry for him… until I think about this. And this. And this. And this. And this. And this.
And then I smile and watch, quietly amused, as he publicly self-destructs. And, suddenly, it seems like – for once – the victims are WINNING.