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Winnie the Pooh Mental Disorders | Reading Between the Lines

Winnie the Pooh Mental Disorders | Reading Between the Lines
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Most of us are familiar with the story of Winnie the Pooh. As children, we joined Winnie on his adventures with friendly peers including Piglet, Owl, Tigger, Kanga, Rabbit, Eeore and Christopher Robin. While no one can doubt the lighthearted nature of the classic story, perhaps a darker side exists behind the main characteristics of Winnie, Christopher Robin and friends. Believe it or not, each of the characters of Winnie the Pooh demonstrate some type of mental disorder ranging from obsessive-compulsive disorder to generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder and more. You might have your doubts, but let’s take a closer look at some of the Winnie the Pooh mental disorders.

Winnie the Pooh: Eating Disorder, Impulsivity, OCD and ADHD

Our revealing of the Winnie the Pooh mental disorders begins with the main character, Winnie. At first glance, the most obvious mental disorder associated with Winnie is an eating disorder. While you might not consider an eating disorder to be a mental disorder, a mental health professional might label Winnie’s obsession with consuming excessive amounts of honey as a psychological response resulting from low self-esteem. Clearly, his obsession puts Winnie in a category of concern for a psychological problem.

A psychologist might also consider Winnie’s obsession with honey to be a highly impulsive behavior, particularly regarding his willingness to take all kinds of risks to obtain another tasty jar.

Interestingly enough, an article by the Canadian Medical Association also diagnosed Winnie the Pooh with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) due to his repetitive counting. Finally, Winnie’s inattentive, careless and indifferent behavior towards his peers places him into the category of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Piglet: Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panophobia

Next on our list of Winnie the Pooh mental disorders is Piglet, who exhibits not only great stress but also anxiety and general nervousness. A psychologist might attribute these characteristics to a significant self-esteem injury in Piglet’s past. Piglet also suffers from a distinct speech impediment recognized as a stutter along with a subtle twitch of his ears. Both of these conditions could result from the irrational anxiety he experiences throughout the course of his daily life. Panophobia may also be a concern for Piglet, which is a medical condition that causes a person to fear everything.


Tigger: ADHD, Substance Abuse, Impulsivity

When you observe Tigger in any type of situation, the first psychological term that comes to mind is hyperactivity. However, Tigger’s mental health problems stretch far beyond the boundaries of simple hyperactivity. Tigger also has difficulty paying attention, which may indicate the existence of ADHD. Furthermore, Tigger is prepared to try any substance or matter that crosses his path, which is a tell-tale sign of a substance abuse problem. Impulsiveness is another psychological concern for Tigger along with his generally questionable behavior, which puts many of his peers at risk of getting into trouble. Of all the Winnie the Pooh mental disorders, Tigger’s is perhaps the easiest to spot.

Owl: Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Dyslexia

Owl exhibits one of the more interesting cases of the Winnie the Pooh mental disorders. Despite being extremely bright, a psychologist might consider Owl to be a dyslectic. However, his cleverness puts him at risk for another mental disorder – Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Similar to the excessive narcissist, Owl is excessively preoccupied with himself. In his own mind, Owl is without a doubt the cleverest animal in the woods. He even stretches his narcissism as far to believe that all the other animals have “fluff” for brains.

Kanga: Social Anxiety Disorder

Kanga exhibits all the characteristics of an overprotective mother, which places her on our list of Winnie the Pooh mental disorders. Many mental health professionals would consider her behavior to be a form of what psychologists call suffocation. Kanga clearly tries to control her young, ensuring that no child makes any mistakes or decisions and that no child has any time on their own.

Rabbit: Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Over-organization only scratches the surface of Rabbit’s obsessive-compulsive tendencies. Rabbit is obsessed with order and method, and exhibits some of the most common symptoms of OCD including excessive cleaning and being what many would consider to be an extreme neat freak.

Eeore: Depressive Disorder

A major general downcast and negative outlook on life puts Eeore at an increased risk of depressive disorder. Eeore is perhaps the exemplary example of someone susceptible to major depression, exhibited by his inability to experience joy, excitement and other positive emotions.

Christopher Robin: Schizophrenia

Perhaps the most interesting and controversial of all the Winnie the Pooh mental disorders is the case of Christopher Robin – the boy with a youthful imagination that so closely resembles the auditory hallucinations commonly linked to schizophrenia. In fact, the entire plot of Winnie the Pooh is based on Christopher’s hallucinations that his stuffed toys are alive. Accordingly, no one can doubt the general malfunction in his perception of reality.

Beneath the surface of Christopher Robin’s hallucinations, a psychologist might label each of the aforementioned characters as individual representations of the feelings Christopher experiences in his internal world. A child still learning to interact with the outside world, Christopher Robin could possibly project different internal feelings onto the main characters of the story. The entire story could all be a means of Christopher learning to cope and deal with the process of learning to function socially.

That wraps up our list of Winnie the Pooh mental disorders. Hopefully, you will still be a fan of the classic story despite any darkness that may exist behind the characters.

Let us know, did you suspect any of the Winnie the Pooh mental disorders on our list? Do you think the story was written with these mental disorders in mind or that it is all a strange coincidence. Share your thoughts in the comments below.

mental disorders
Written by Anthony D'Aconti

Anthony D'Aconti is the Founder of Breathe Into the Bag, an anxiety magazine created to help people suffering from generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), OCD, PTSD, panic disorder, phobias, acute stress disorder, agoraphobia and social anxiety disorder. You can also find Anthony D'Aconti on Google+, Facebook, and Twitter

  • Michelle

    And such is life! Really, we all have family members who have some form of a disorder. It’s my thought that we label when in fact that’s all part of being human and it’s normal. We just insist on putting people in a box and want them to conform to what “one” thinks is normal. Simply teach love, kindness and forgiveness to our young and maybe one day we there would be room for all types of personalities…

    • Anthony D’Aconti

      I agree. For some reason, it’s hard for people to accept anxiety as a normal, human response. Like I always say, “normal” is just a setting on the washing machine.

  • Jon

    Pretty good, but what about Roo and Gopher? Also, I know that Lumpy the purple elephant has PTSD

    • Anthony D’Aconti

      I will look into the mental states of Roo and Gopher. Maybe I will post a follow-up article on those two and Lumpy.

      • Michal Ilana

        Due to his over protective mother, Roo has likely developed or has tendencies towards Dependent Personality Disorder. Gopher works constantly, doesn’t seem to take breaks for anything fun, avoids a lot of interactions with others, hmmm. I haven’t taken a psychology class for awhile or been diagnosed with anything that would resemble that but it sounds like is going on with Gopher as well. I would love to see a follow-up article.

  • twelfthnight

    “He even stretches his narcissism as far to believe that all the other animals have “fluff” for brains.”

    But they DO. Gopher and Owl might be real animals, but Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, Kanga, Roo, Eeyore, Rabbit, the Heffalumps etc. all have ‘stitching’ that you can see in much of their artwork. They are toys. Which is why when Pooh has a thread come loose, he spills out stuffing, not entrails.

    • Anthony D’Aconti

      Interesting. I suppose they literally do have “fluff” for brains. Perhaps he isn’t as narcissistic as initially suggested.

  • KDJ Scribbles

    Sure, of course people, especially psychologists can spot faults and problems in fictional characters. But faults and … well yes, mental disorders specifically, are purposefully used in the character creation process; especially for children entertainment media. If each character were to be “normal” then the characters would appear bland and wouldn’t teach the young viewers how to accept and get along with the people in real life that might have those same issues.

    If you look carefully, almost all childhood cartoon and book characters will have issues that resemble mental disorders. … so its kind of not a big deal. To me, its actually a good thing – it helps kids realize that there are a wide variety of personalities and thought processes out there, that no one is the same. And in a world that is becoming less and less tolerant of the “un-normal”, this is important and should be used more often.

    Its not *dark*, its *educational* and helps kids find friends with people that are different from themselves.

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