10 Syndrome Diagnoses by Literary Characters

Medical or psychological disorders named after popular literary characters.

Medical practitioners and psychologists use the term “syndrome” to refer to a set or pattern of symptoms that usually occur together and are indicative of a particular disorder, disease, or a social condition. Most syndromes are named after the physicians who first discovered or detected the association of the symptoms.

However, there are exceptions. As follows are medical and mental syndromes that are named after popular literary figures:

1. Rapunzel Syndrome

Named after the lovely Brothers Grimm’s fairy tale princess with amazingly long-flowing hair. Medically called trichobezoar, this rare condition is characterized by intestinal obstruction caused by hair ingestion, and occurs mostly in patients diagnosed with from trichotillomania, a psychological condition manifested by an uncontrollable urge to pull out head and body hair.

2. Othello Syndrome

A scene from the 1995 film, starring Lawrence Fishburne as Othello and Kenneth Branagh as the villain Iago.

Named after the Shakespearean character that murdered his wife out of intense distrust. Also called delusional jealousy, it describes a person’s stubborn belief that their mate is being unfaithful; and would therefore make incessant groundless accusations of infidelity, taking considerable pains to test their mate’s trustworthiness even to the extent of displaying stalking and violent behavior.

3. Lady Windermere Syndrome

Named after the vivacious but meticulous, difficult woman, the main character from an Oscar Wilde’s play. This mycobacterial lung disease exhibits symptoms as persistent cough, shortness of breath and lethargy; and is typically treated with strong antibiotics and anti-tuberculosis drugs.

4. Peter Pan Syndrome

Named after the well-loved J.M. Barrie character that simply refuses to grow up. Accepted in popular psychology, people with this syndrome display immaturity in most areas of his life; they shun responsibility, oppose accepted norms, focus more on fantasies than on reality and often need to be mothered.

5. Mowgli Syndrome

Named after the main character in “The Jungle Book” by Rudyard Kipling. This syndrome is used to describe children with weak mental and/or physical traits, especially those who have suffered tremendous emotional stress due to parental neglect and abuse. It is also used to refer to children who grew up without the influence of human contact, such as those said to be raised by wild animals.

6. Cinderella’s Syndrome

Cinderella’s cruel stepmother Lady Tremaine and stepsisters Anastasia and Drizella

Named after Charles Perrault’s fairy tale character popularized by Disney. Adopted children or stepchildren may sometimes be observed as having this syndrome; they would make up outrageous stories about how they were abused and/or abandoned by their adoptive mothers or stepmothers.

7. Pickwickian Syndrome

Named after an excessively fat boy named Joe Pickwick, a character in Charles Dickens’ very first novel. Medically known as obesity hypoventilation syndrome, this medical condition involves the combination of excessive obesity and obstructive sleep apnea, a life-threatening disorder characterized by repetitive breathing interruptions during sleep.

8. Huckleberry Finn’s Syndrome

Huckleberry Finn – Illustration by EW Kemble on the original 1884 edition of the book.

Named after a very popular adventurous boy-character created by the great American writer Mark Twain. This condition refers to the habitual neglect of responsibilities by kids of superior intelligence because of parental disapproval and feelings of rejection; or the inability to adjust socially and psychologically of normal/bright children born to mentally impaired parents.

9. Dorian Gray Syndrome

Named after the character from Oscar Wilde’s novel about a handsome young man who desires his picture would grow old instead of himself. This describes people who are overly critical of their own physical appearance despite the lack of any defects. They have difficulty dealing with aging; and thus, try to cling to their youth by depending heavily on cosmetic procedures and products.

10. Alice in Wonderland Syndrome

Named after the curious wandering character from Lewis Carroll’s most famous work. This neurological disorder is a condition wherein a person suffers from visual image distortions, perceiving parts of their body or any other objects as having been altered in size. Though most closely linked with migraine, it is also a sign of epilepsy, mononucleosis and hallucinogenic drug consumption.

Click the following for more unusually named medical/psychological conditions:

·         10 Uniquely Named Syndromes 1

·         10 Uniquely Named Syndromes 2

·         10 Behavioral Complexes that Make Life Complicated

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  1. Incredible kinds of syndromes that we are prone, humans.
    Very interesting stuff.

  2. Great article! Actually, this is the first time I’ve read some of them. :)

  3. This is a very interesting article, well done my friend, thank you for sharing it.

  4. Excellent article bro. I have identified myself with one of those. I wish I could rid it off…Thanks for important info.

  5. Very Interesting Article.

  6. this is good bro,

  7. I definitely have Peter Pan Syndrome and proud of it! Lol

  8. Interesting read!
    But I am looking for a particular syndrome. Maybe you can help.

    The novel ended with this famous phrase. This novel was made into a movie.

    The interpretation of this phrase was later known as a syndrome.

    And the syndrome’s name is the name of the character who voiced this famous phrase

  9. intersting only???

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