* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where the mental health of the nation's beloved cartoon characters (other than the ones in Congress, we mean) is high on our list of priorities. In his first piece for us, Dan Smolinsky highlights some of the most tormenting afflictions suffered by our animated Americans.

Psychiatric Diagnoses From A Cartoon Universe

By: Dan Smolinsky

Wolfe’s Hypersexuality: Otherwise normal behavior is punctuated by periods of acute hypersexuality in the presence of certain sexual stimuli. Psychosomatic symptoms can occur, including intense, visible increases in body temperature, facial flushing, ocular bulging and vocalizations including howling, whistling or an “ah-oo-ga” noise. Occurs almost exclusively in males. If untreated the patient may begin to exhibit predatory behavior.

Acme Syndrome: The patient experiences a form of monomania in which he pursues a single goal through the use of increasingly complex mechanical devices. Treatment should be administered as soon as possible, as the patient is a danger to himself both physically and financially. Although the patient is frequently highly intelligent in technical matters, he may be incapable of seeing easier ways of attaining his goal. In one case study, the patient went deep into debt buying rockets, slingshots, etc., for the purpose of catching a bird when he easily could have purchased dinner instead.

Hundred Acre Schizophrenia: This is a subset of dissociative personality disorder. The patient attributes intentionality and various personalities to inanimate objects, such as plush toys. The sub-personalities may themselves suffer from other disorders. One patient, well known in the literature, had sub-personalities including a stuffed donkey with depression, a bear with a binge eating disorder, a piglet with generalized anxiety disorder, and a tiger-like creature with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The sub-personalities can cause the patient distress by becoming ensnared in problems such as upsetting a bee’s nest, becoming stuck in undersized doorways (due to chronic overeating), and starting intra-group struggles.

Audience Awareness Delusion: The patient suffers from a misperception that he is constantly being watched. Unlike in the case of paranoid schizophrenia, here the patient enjoys the sensation and attempts to interact jovially with his “observers.” Patient may exhibit a physical tick of turning over one’s shoulder to address the unseen observer. Comments may be conspiratorial in nature, reflecting the patient’s future plans, or may consist simply of snide remarks about the environment, situation or other persons — particularly the failures of those other persons.

Tasmanian Mania: Patient experiences an uncomfortable excess of energy, distracted attention, and frequently destructive tendencies towards property. This condition frequently coincides with binge eating disorder or pica as well as difficulties with anger management. The patient may also exhibit garbled speech. Dizziness can follow periods of especially high hyperactivity.

Paranormal Delusional Disorder: Patient claims to experience supernatural or paranormal occurrences. These are often accompanied by feelings of dread and anxiety. They may also be accompanied by other delusions, such as verbal communication from animals. Patient may comfort himself through attachment to a favorite pet. Psychosomatic symptoms can include running in place or feeling lost and confused in hallways with many doors. The relief offered by remission of these symptoms can be marked by periods of binge eating. The patient’s behavior can be harmful to the community at large by casting suspicions on upstanding business establishments, e.g. claiming that a popular amusement park is haunted, or that a popular museum exhibit is inhabited by a resuscitated mummy.

Professional Delusional Disorder: The patient frequently imagines himself engaging in activities completely unrelated to external stimuli. He frequently pictures himself in “heroic” professions such as lawyer, tennis player, hockey player, flying ace, or hack novelist. Acting out of the delusions may go so far as to include the use of props, or enlisting the help of small animals such as birds.

Antagonistic Personality Disorder: Patient picks a perceived enemy and harasses them, attempting to “thwart” the target at every turn. Behavior can become more obsessive and more complex over time. This condition may coincide with Fourth Wall Disorder or Acme Syndrome. Although the cause for such a link is unknown, this condition is frequently accompanied by speech impediments.

Comical Binge Eating Disorder: Patient feels compelled to eat absurd amounts of food — seemingly of greater volume than could fit within the patient’s body — at a rapid pace, sometimes literally shoveling food down his open throat. Sometimes certain foods are preferred, such as ludicrously large submarine sandwiches, entire platters of hamburgers, jars of honey, trays of lasagna, or the scenery.