Often characterized as the "Madman of the Middle East," Saddam Hussein had a both horrific and fascinating rise to power and subsequent fall. On the one hand, his rule was brutal and deserving of a civil revolution. On the other, his people were the victim of imperialist ideals that were manipulated to turn against Hussein while a looting of oil followed. Hussein's behavior, his tendencies, his paranoia, and his clenched fist of a rule are all suggestive of something deeper than dictatorship actions, and why I chose to diagnose his dictator self.
There are many recorded instances where Hussein exhibits behavior that deviates from the normal; his brutal rule over the Iraqi people where he arrested people he mistrusted, tortured them, freed them, then arrested them again, playing with their minds, shows a genuine appreciation for inflicting pain and psychologically manipulating victims. His habit of having a heavy entourage and taste testers shows a paranoia that rivals his lack of empathy. His dismissal of his son's, Uday Hussein, ghastly behavior of rape and assault also consolidates deviant behavior. His recorded behavior with his mistresses, where he shows excessive praise one minute and then physical abuse the next, also supports the deviant behavior.
With Axis I, which refers broadly to the principal disorder that needs immediate attention, Hussein seems to suffer from malignant narcissism, a severe form of narcissistic personality disorder. This is a disorder that is characterized by people who are grandiose, self-centered, oversensitive to criticism, and unable to feel empathy for others. They cover over deep insecurities with an inflated self-image and are usually very charming. Hussein's downfall was his lack of empathy that led to such a brutal rule over his people. His grandiosity came from reports that say he thought he was Iraq and barely cared to listen to anyone regarding the fate of the country.
Axis II lists any personality disorder that may be shaping the current response to the Axis I problem. This may be that Hussein suffers from antisocial personality disorder, evidenced by his narcissism, unconstrained aggression, and being undeterred by threats of punishment.
Axis III lists any medical or neurological problems that may be relevant to the individual's current or past psychiatric problems. There are no serious reported medical problems except psychiatrists who are diagnosing Hussein's mental health posthumously. However, something that Hussein has been through is his childhood, where reports say his mother suffered the death of both her husband and an elder son while she was pregnant with Hussein. She tried to commit suicide and to abort her son but was prevented in each case by members of a Jewish family who became her benefactors. When Hussein was born, the researchers wrote, his mother refused to look at him or take him in her arms. He eventually went to live with his uncle. This "unresolved conflict" with his mother perhaps set in motion that narcissistic personality that grew.
Axis IV codes the major psychosocial stressors the individual has faced recently; of course, being the head of Iraq comes with its stressors, from a son that murders your favorite cook out of anger at the fact that you remarried, to the Western world hinting at war then eventually invading the country you have begun to see as yourself. Hussein's life was a series of major stress-related situations from childhood.
Axis V codes the "level of function" the individual has attained at the time of assessment, and, in some cases, is used to indicate the highest level of function in the past year. It considers psychological, social, and occupational functioning on a hypothetical continuum of mental health illness. I would give Hussein, an unquestioned head of state, a score of 40-50, since he had to run a country while having narcissism personality disorder, and these individuals are often intelligent. His inflated sense of importance that ultimately led to his downfall obviously showed its symptoms, such as an excessive need for admiration (reported by the diplomats that worked with Hussein, where he justified all his actions for Iran and thought himself deserving of it), disregard for others' feelings (seen in his brutal rule and murdering of close advisors), an inability to handle any criticism, and a sense of entitlement that led to his downfall.
Because of the unresolved conflicts of his childhood and the lack of affection from his mother, I believe Hussein may have a mild form of antisocial personality disorder, evidenced by his many interactions with those who are apparently close to him and those who are not. His self-importance may stem from insecurities that festered in his childhood, which is why I believe he may have had malignant narcissism, with his grandiose justifications of his actions, his brutal rule and singular functioning. His narcissism eventually led to his downfall, with a people that hated him and which a foreign country used against him to justify their war.