Friday, May 25, 2007

Psychiatry and Pooh

One of my friends sent me an article on whether or not Anakin Skywalker has a DSM-IV psychiatric disorder (long story short, he probably does and in all likelihood, more than one). Since I absolutely detest the new Star Wars and only moderately like the old ones at best, I thought I would instead follow the link to a more interesting and humorous study on fictional characters: "Pathology in the Hundred Acre Wood". And you thought Pooh's honey-lust was endearing, not a cry for help. My favorite line: "This unfortunate bear embodies the concept of comorbidity."

To be honest, as much as I enjoy making fun of childhood classics, it's not really surprising that so many fictional characters would display traits consistent with a psychiatric disorder. When you think about it, many psychiatric disorders contain traits that we all experience at one time or another, but to such an extreme degree as to cause significant disruptions to life. All of us are have been happy or sad or irritable or excited at one time or another. Fortunately, not everyone has a major depressive or manic episode. Considering that good stories usually require something unusual happen, it seems reasonable to give some of these traits to characters. After all, do you want to read a fictional tale of an average guy doing average stuff? No thank you; I'll take the OCD bear and his gender-identity disorder pal.

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