Cartoon Characters With Mental Disorders
Many of our best loved cartoon characters actually display many traits that could be considered as mental health disorders. The quirks in their personality may be what makes them so endearing to us, but if we encountered these individuals in real life, we would probably direct them toward the nearest therapist.
Captain Hook from Peter Pan
This well dressed Pirate Captain with a bad attitude is Peter Pan’s arch nemesis. With a crew of oddballs under his charge, it can be highly amusing to see how his reaction when he hears the ticking of a clock. The reason behind his terror is the lingering effect of post-traumatic stress disorder, and who can blame him! His hand was chopped off by Peter Pan, and fed to a crocodile. The crocodile appears to have developed a liking for the taste of the Pirate, and chases him at any given opportunity. The clock in the croc’s belly is the warning signal, which triggers the constant state of fear that Hook finds himself in.
This character, from Sleeping Beauty could be considered pure evil. But, if you really look at the evidence, it could be argued that she suffers with borderline personality disorder. Maleficent has intense fears of abandonment, triggered when she is left off of the guest list at the Royal Christening Ceremony. Any criticism or unfair treatment triggers intense anger and violent outbursts. Maleficent also displays obsessive traits, waiting for many years to exact her revenge on a young innocent girl. Her mood swings are dramatic, going from sickly sweet to violent rage in a split second.
These crazy, lovable bundles of yellow energy from Despicable Me could readily be diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. They flit from one thing to the next, showing apparent difficulty in focusing on one thing for any length of time, and struggling to follow instructions through to conclusion. They are easily distracted and while it is amusing to watch in animation, they often put themselves and others in serious harm.
Glen Quagmire from the hit show Family Guy appears to be afflicted with hyper-sexuality, better known as sexual addiction. His behavior is crude at best and could be considered perverse. Glen’s behavior annoys and upsets others, and while this disorder is not recognized by the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, hyper-sexuality is a symptom of various manic disorders.
The sweet little boy from Calvin and Hobbes is well known for getting up to all kinds of mischief with his imaginary friend, who only comes to life when nobody else is around. While this could be put down to a childhood case of an imaginary friend it could also be n indication of schizophrenia. His hallucinations are intense and prolonged, so a trip to a therapist could be recommended if Calvin was a real little boy.
The sad sack old donkey from Winnie the Pooh is endearing in his constant pessimism and woe-is-me attitude. His chronic long term depression could be classified as the more serious disorder known as dysthymia. Sufferers often have reduced appetite, energy and very low self esteem.
Sweet nervous little piglet is also from Winnie the Pooh. When you stand back to look at how this creature handles daily life, it is all too clear that he is suffering from General Anxiety Disorder. He is in constant stress and fear, triggered by absolutely anything – and in fact quite often Piglet is distressed by the simple thought that something scary might happen.
It seems that the author of Winnie the Pooh was using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders to give his characters depth! Rabbit is an obvious sufferer of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. He worries non-stop about things being imperfect and not precisely as he wants them to be. He struggles to concentrate on anything else when visitors are behaving in ways that do not fit with his preferred methods. Rabbit is an absolute perfectionist and is distressed when he plans go awry.
This daily recognizable baddie from Aladdin is a possible example of a sociopath. He is extremely cruel, displaying zero empathy when he sacrifices a young boy for the realization of his goals. Jafar is antisocial, with no apparent moral responsibility or sense of conscience. He is charming and manipulative, and ruthless in his attempts to rule the Universe.
The beautiful mermaid, from ‘The Little Mermaid’ has captured the hearts of many young girls. But on closer inspection, she appears to be suffering from a few mental health disorders. On the one hand she has a clear case of disposophobia, otherwise known as hoarding. Ariel has filled a cave with random human items (that she has stolen from drowned individuals), that are of no use to her at all in the underwater world. She also displays extreme distress when they are destroyed. While disposophobia is not currently recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, it is a symptom of other mental health issues.
Ariel also appears to suffer from severe body dysmorphic disorder. She is unhappy with her body and wants to be changed in order to feel happy. She is fixated on changing her tail to human legs, feeling that she is trapped inside the wrong body. Ariel takes drastic, dangerous steps to become the person she feels she should be.
The Simpsons are a dysfunctional family that many people can relate to. With a mixed bag of bizarre characters in the town of Springfield, there is more than one mental health disorder that could be identified. We are going to look at Homer here though. It could be argued that he shows traits of borderline personality disorder, antisocial disorder and even substance abuse.
However, we are going to suggest that he suffers from intermittent explosive disorder – particularly in reaction to behavior by his son, Bart. These outbursts are not usually connected to alcohol. They happen suddenly, and Homer appears blind to anything happening around him as he flies into a rage, with one intention only…to throttle his first born.
The Evil Queen
One of the first animated baddies to grace the big screen, The Evil Queen from Snow White terrorized the dreams of small children, and no wonder. She seems to have a classic case of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. The Evil Queen spends her days gazing at her own reflection, demanding reassurance from a talking mirror that she is the most beautiful in the land. She becomes obsessed, delusional and paranoid when she learns that she has been demoted to second place in the beauty stakes by her step daughter. The power hungry Queen becomes crazed and plots to murder her usurper, stopping at nothing to ensure she can secure her spot at the top.
You may wonder what mental health disorder could possibly be tagged onto this happy go lucky spongey character. It is a more obscure condition, known as Williams-Beunon Syndrome. Those who are diagnosed with this are unusually cheerful and outgoing, even with strangers. They also tend to display a slight reduction in mental ability, and also suffer with low muscle tone, problems with their joints and cardiovascular problems.
While having a name which brings a song to mind, Cruella from 101 Dalmatians is certainly not a happy go lucky kind of woman. In fact, she could be defined as a psychopath. Cruella has absolutely no empathy. Nothing stands in her way as she fights for power, wealth and luxury. She even plots to kill cute little puppies for the benefit of her wardrobe – nasty!
Pepe Le Pew
This classic Warner Brothers character may seem harmless on first look. He is a charismatic French skunk, on a mission to find his true love. However, Pepe is not able to take ‘no’ for an answer. He chases his beau to the point of harassment, and has even been known to fake suicide in an attempt to gain attention (see clip below). His behavior could be considered reminiscent of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, with his arrogance and insensitivity. He thinks that the world revolves around him.
The Ice Queen from the enormously popular Disney movie, Frozen could be considered a likely candidate for the condition, agoraphobia. She is paranoid that she may harm others with her powers and makes the choice to isolate herself in a castle she creates far from civilization, where she refuses to receive any visitors.