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Med students diagnose Gollum with ‘schizoid personality disorder’

02.22.10 | Kunochan | 1 Comment

Originally published on JRR Tolkien Examiner.

gollum_250x188A psychiatrist and a group of medical students at the Royal Free & University College Medical School in London have diagnosed Gollum, the wretched creature from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, with schizoid personality disorder.

Working from depictions in the books and in the Peter Jackson films, lecturer Elizabeth L. Sampson and her students published their findings on the website of BMJ (the British Medical Journal).

Sméagol (Gollum) is a single, 587 year old, hobbit-like male of no fixed abode. He has presented with antisocial behaviour, increasing aggression, and preoccupation with the “one ring.”… His forensic history consists of Deagol’s murder and the attempted murder of Samwise Gamgee. He has no history of substance misuse, although like many young hobbits he smoked “pipe weed” in adolescence..

Several differential diagnoses need to be considered, and we should exclude organic causes for his symptoms. A space occupying lesion such as a brain tumour is unlikely as his symptoms are long standing. Gollum’s diet is extremely limited, consisting only of raw fish. Vitamin B-12 deficiency may cause irritability, delusions, and paranoia. His reduced appetite and loss of hair and weight may be associated with iron deficiency anaemia. He is hypervigilant and does not seem to need much sleep. This, accompanied by his bulging eyes and weight loss, suggests hyperthyroidism. Gollum’s dislike of sunlight may be due to the photosensitivity of porphyria. Attacks may be induced by starvation and accompanied by paranoid psychosis…

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.

Before any fans complain, it should be pointed out that the full article considers the possibility of a supernatural, non-medical source for Gollum’s symptoms (contact with the One Ring).

For more info: Via “NCBI ROFL: Did Gollum have schizophrenia or multiple personality disorder?” on Discover.com; original article on BMJ (requires free registration).
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