December 21, 2004

Was Gollum Schizoid?

The latest British Medical Journal features an article , written by a group of medical students, that discusses the mental health of everyone's favorite disturbed ring-bearer, Gollum. (Here's a report from Reuters.) Its conclusion:

Gollum displays pervasive maladaptive behaviour that has been present since childhood with a persistent disease course. His odd interests and spiteful behaviour have led to difficulty in forming friendships and have caused distress to others. He fulfils seven of the nine criteria for schizoid personality disorder (ICD F60.1), and, if we must label Gollum's problems, we believe that this is the most likely diagnosis.

Gollum, the article concludes, was not schizophrenic and did not suffer from multiple personality disorder. Personally, though, I was more amused when I first read this December 2000 article from the Canadian Medical Association Journal, discussing the pathologies of Winnie-the-Pooh characters:

Our neurodevelopmental group agrees about poor Owl: obviously bright, but dyslexic. His poignant attempts to cover up for his phonological deficits are similar to what we see day in and day out in others so afflicted. If only his condition had been identified early and he received more intensive support!

But see this rival diagnosis, suggesting that Winnie the Pooh suffers from Prader-Willie syndrome:

Winnie the Pooh clearly suffers from Prader-Willie (not Winnie)syndrome: mental retardation manifested by his concrete and simplistic vocabulary, "I am a bear of no brain", compulsive overeating and insatiability, physical anomalies (typical Prader-Willie facies, small hands and feet, very small chin and hypogonadism: no pants but nothing detectable), overall cheerful mood (except with food related frustrations). Empirical evidence: all medical students and residents rotating through my service receive the task of diagnosing Pooh (only clue given is the fact that it is not a disorder in DSM): over 80% get the diagnosis in less than two weeks and bring in pictures of Prader-Willie patients.

I'm sure that someone more knowledgeable than I am could write some profound commentary on these articles, but I have nothing insightful (or amusing) to add.

Posted by Ed at December 21, 2004 04:12 PM

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