Do Winnie the Pooh Characters really represent different mental disorders?

Winnie the Pooh Books are popular and widely read – I certainly had a few on my shelves growing up and loved them. I guess I related to some of the issues the characters faced and enjoyed the kind approach to helping each other to solve problems. But there are various reports on the web suggesting that each character in Winnie the Pooh represents a different mental disorder, so what are they, and is it true?

These reports stem from an article by the Canadian Medical Association, which “diagnosed” each character. However, given that AA Milne died in 1956 and the term “learning disability” wasn’t even introduced until 1963, it seems unlikely that Milne consciously linked each character to a known type of disorder. However, he may well have been ahead of his time in recognising that some children have specific issues which can cause them difficulties in their everyday lives – and Winnie the Pooh characters may well have been based on these observed differences. It’s not likely that we will ever know for sure.

What are the “diagnosed” disorders?

Could Eeyore be suffering from depression?

Winnie the Pooh: An eating disorder, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), meaning it is very hard to focus he also has impulsivity with obsessive fixations.

Piglet: Generalized Anxiety Disorder. The theory states that he may have suffered from an injury that crippled his self-esteem, and that his stuttering problem most likely developed from said injury.

Owl: Dyslexia and Short-Term Memory Loss. Even though he’s shown as being exceptionally bright, it’s shown that he has trouble reading. An example would be in Pooh’s Grand Adventure when he mistook the word school for “skull.” Also Owl tends to forget things as quickly as he says them.

Tigger: ADHD. Tigger is always seen bouncing and can never stay in one place for a long period of time.

Kanga: Social Anxiety Disorder. She is very overprotective of her son, and she would never let her son make his own decisions because of her overprotectiveness.

Roo: Autism. He lacks awareness of danger and has an attachment to sitting in his mother’s pouch.

Rabbit: Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). He is very orderly and obsessive, and the theory also questions his sexual orientation due to his feminine behavior.

Eeyore: Depressive Disorder. He always has a bleak outlook on life, and never feels any positive emotions like happiness and excitement.

Christopher Robin: Schizophrenia. It is believed that all the characters from above are manifested depending on Christopher’s mood.

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47 Comments on “Do Winnie the Pooh Characters really represent different mental disorders?

  1. Every cartoon character ever written could be said to have a disorder. Donald Duck, Daffy Duck, Tom, Jerry, Mickey, Bugs, Elmer Fudd, Wile E Coyote, etc., etc. The whole idea is stupid and absurd.

    • the writer himself had a son named Christopher who was schizophrenic so he gave his son stuffed animals to help understand his moods better and so he wrote the books based on his understanding of his sons imagination

    • I love Winnie & his friends. My kids grew up on Winnie the Pooh. They even thought me a few things. One of the first things my kids noticed when they were old enough to understand that ppl are different is that these characters are also different from each other. My children cried when one of the characters were sad or when one was being talked about. Believe it or not these animals taught my kids alot abt human kindness, being different & sharing. Children learn what they see & hear. I just sent my grand daughter the original set of Winnie the Pooh collection box set. I told her after she gets to know the animals/characters she can also pick these animals personalities to members of her family, there are 6 siblings, 20 + cousins & alot more so she has alot to choose from but I asked her to make it more about closer relatives if she can. Kids will do what kids do best, be honest. Of you spend any time w/children, one thing that will do from a very early age is be honest. I expect honesty from my grandaughter while she’s reading these books. She’s 11, some think she’s too old for these but a toddler cannot read a book as thick as a novel let alone 4 of them. I’m so looking fwd to sharing these stories w/my grand daughter.

      When I was little my fav cartoon was Tom & Jerry, guess what, it still is!!! To me the cat & mouse, the dog, all the other characters have personality!

    • But these are shown and are made to help kids with these disorders so did you just call the kids with these disorders stupid

  2. Beyond laughable the garbage people come up with these days. It’s only because mental health has become fashionable in recent years that people are making this comparison. In reality 3 of these disorders weren’t even a thing when pooh was written. ADHD wasnt even recognised until 30 years after the book was written. All a load of tripe

    • So you seem to believe mental issues are just a way for people to get attention and they are fashionable . Your an idiot . Yes some of these disorders were not recognized in that time but they are now , so people are putting the pieces together . If you watch just one episode of the show with this page open you would recognize each disorder . I’m guessing you never seen any of the shows or at least not since you was little before you could understand such things but are now spewing out your arse .

      • Its either you are or you’re..
        I think its fun to look now at Milner’s characters and discuss their traits. The one thing he achieves is to make us love all those characters equally.They are all part of the delightful..inexplicable soup!

        • Back in the day of these characters coming alive there weren’t labels on ppl like there is today. We loved these characters despite what they did & how they acted, they all loved each other & we loved them, we still love them. Here we have a bunch of grown ups acting like children bc of the imagination of a man who had written many other books besides Winnie the Pooh series. We all have our favs, whether it be mysteries, non-fiction, biographies, etc. From what I’ve seen on this page we should let each other have their opinion, not put someone down bc they like or don’t like, make fun of our spelling. I say that the bullies on these pages are no better than kids in school. I love your short account of Mikne’s characters & be able to discuss them. Back in the day 8f a person had seizures they were locked up as crazy! We now know it’s epilepsy. Maybe it’s a good thing that the labels weren’t learned or discovered back then. I love Winnie the Pooh, I might make spelling errors & the ppl who pick apart such things are being petty. Thank you, Leona, I like your comment.

      • Thats not what they even said ADHD wasnt even knowen in that time so A.A mill woudnt know what ADHD was

        • Just because it wasnt discovered/ labeled dose not mean it didn’t exist.
          It was normal to be different then
          Now its considered an abnormality

    • If you don’t like it so much why did you read it take your hate and everyone else’s hate with you because no one needs it anyways this was the authors opinion NOT yours btw I think the disorders match up perfectly

    • Mental health is not fashionable… how insensitive can you be? As technology has evolved, so has our insight into “mental disorders”. Maybe you have one?

    • Seriously?! This theory has been around for ages. It’s not just because mental health is trending you twit!!! Heck I heard about this when I was in elementary school. That was over 18yrs ago. I have depression and anxiety and to see someone say that we just do it for attention makes me sick!!! So many kids look up to this show and book series because if gives them someone to relate to .

    • I believe the author of Winnie The Pooh wanted each character to have a unique personality. Although ADHD wasn’t recognized until 30 years after the book was written,like you stated the author could have still came up with this idea. To support my idea,if you know anything about A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens you know that the idea of time travel is used,and the book was written in the 1800’s when time travel wasn’t even considered and I’d say nobody thought about it. Their is always that minority that think outside the box. That is all I’m saying. Who honestly knows? Probably nobody.

    • Regardless if it was “a thing”, people did suffer with illnesses prior to their discovery/naming…
      Milne obviously did not diagnose his character with terms that were not used yet, but the traits of these characters are clearly traits that humans have that he gave to his characters.
      After countless years of extensive research, individuals are finally being diagnosed and these traits he gave his characters are key symptoms for many mental illnesses.
      Also, fashionable? I think we should use phrases such as- bringing awareness, teaching acceptance and educating to recognize symptoms to know if they or others need help.
      This post is quite scary and sad to read and I hope you have been educated since you posted this absurd “laughable” post last year.

    • mental health is not “fashionable”, what a disgusting thing to say. you think the people that genuinely struggle with these disorders and mental illnesses think that they’re fashionable? kingly pull your head out of your ass.

    • That is not true because Winnie the Pooh was published on October 14th 1926 and ADHD was first mentioned back in 1902. Generalized anxiety disorder was first talked about and published in a book back in the 18th century. Dyslexia was first known about back in 1877 and then talked more about an 1881 and was official in 1887. Autism was first talked about in 1911 and was officially diagnosed in 1943. OCD was first talked about back in 1691 and officially diagnosed in 1838. Schizophrenia was first noticed in 1809 and finally diagnosed in 1887.

  3. I think this is true to be honest with you and saying that a mental health condition is fashionable now a days is absurd. Jesus Christ

  4. For those of you saying that Milne did not purposely write this book with mental disorders in mind, A.A. Milne was a veteran from WWI and suffered from PTSD. He probably wouldn’t tell you that Pooh had ADHD since it was not a thing back then, but there were plenty of people with ADHD in the early 1900’s, just because it didn’t have a name doesn’t mean it wasn’t a mental disorder.

  5. Having “feminine attributes” does not make a male gay. Just like being masculine does not make a female gay. That’s just a stereotype. There are plenty of straight men in the world who are feminine because that’s just who they are.

  6. All off y’all think metal disease is fashionable well it’s not it’s life so if the author of this has there own opinion then they can but y’all don’t have to be hating on people with ADHD or depression

  7. Of course it is fashionable. Fashionable to play a victim and to make excuses for your shortcomings nowadays.

    Unless you crap your pants and are non-verbal, you don’t have real autism.

    • I think you need to learn what autism is, before you say stuff like this. There are many types of autism. Also try telling the teenagers who spend every lesson dreading the teacher calling their name because they don’t want talk in front of the class or the ones who feel so strongly about what others think of them that they nearly stop eating all together, that it’s “just fashion” see how many friends that leaves you with.

    • That isn’t true and for a lot of you do you’re research out actually know people that are diagnosed with these disorders and you will know the truth y’all really just say something just cuz you feel like you can but truth is y’all prove how stupid you really are to everyone

    • That’s disgusting you undignified twat. Justin bro, you know that autism is a brain developmental disorder? (Idk if I got that correct but my brain knows so shhh) anyway, it’s a spectrum you ancient garden knome. Get a damn life. Your on the internet you may aswell just search up what autism is while your here. Let me explain a little what autism is
      -communication in more than speech
      -body language
      -the way that ppl who are autistic process things
      It’s a disorder that affects the nervous system
      -social interactions
      And just so you know, if affects all areas of the brain but no single person with autism is the same and none of them have the same levels even if it’s by 0.2% in one and 100% difference in the other. I know multiple people who autism all of witch have some traits more so than the other.
      1. Wtf ppl with autism don’t need to crap their damn pants. Some people might but it could be a bowl issue autism affects the brain not your shit.
      2. It’s proffered as non vocal you selfish imbosile. Because you communicate in multiple ways, like expression or body movement, non verbal means the inability to movement or to not to be able to cause distracting things like hand waving etc
      3. Again ITS A SPECTRUM
      4. JUST SHUT UP

  8. One thing I know is true. This story is a great teaching tool as it is even used in college courses, allowing professors to connect and make the study of psychology “real” to their students. If that gives one student a path in life and that path leads to a break-through and we, or someone we care about benefits, then I’d like to thank the author for giving us a vehicle to help make the world a better place through the interpretations of this classic childhood story.
    If you are so intrigued do a little research on “Bambi” and the connection of that story to WWII. Just remember when we share an educated discussion on any topic and respect each other’s opinions we make the world a better place.

  9. While it is debatable if that was intended each character having some kind of disorder. The behavior each exhibit can be linked to some kind of disordered. Even gopher has a speech impediment in the cartoon. Any book or cartoon is open to interpretation. Mental disorders have gained more since a lot of celebrities having issues themselves. It has nothing to do with being a victim. Most who have disorders don’t see themselves as victims. The idea of them being a “victim” blaming everything on the disorder comes from a lack of understanding. Some people do use things as a crutch for sympathy or special treatment but nobody I know who suffers from depression is looking for pity.

    • It is true that these disorders were unrecognized at the time of the creation of “Pooh” but the probability of their existence is strong. But is it possible that because of the mysticism of the disorders is why they are portrayed as stuffed child’s toys? Sometimes when humans struggle with emotions it’s easier to put a face to them. I believe stuffed animals are far less scary than monsters. Children see their troubles and fears as monsters, why can’t an adult see theirs as harmless, less intimidating toys? We are all troubled in our own ways whether you want to believe it or not.

  10. Ok I honestly think it’s dumb y’all are fighting over this. Obviously he put these mental disorders in here for a reason, it was meant to teach us to be happy with ourselves, not be mad at people who disagree. So whoever thinks that these mental disorders were put in here for a reason, just ignore people saying it isn’t true, because you know you’re right and they’re wrong. Love each other

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