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Mental disorders associated with superheroes

Mental disorders associated with superheroes

September 19, 2022

Something that greatly enriches fictional characters is their psychological definition, because it facilitates the construction of their development and evolution. We have film classics in which mental disorders are the main protagonists, such as Best impossible, A wonderful mind or Rain Man. However, in the world of superheroes, the extreme of their powers is also often accompanied by psychological characteristics very to the limit. It is because of that it is possible to associate some of these superheroes with mental disorders .

Superheroes and mental disorders

If there is an archetype of character whose narrative benefits greatly from mental fragility, it is that of the so-called superheroes, since this resource allows humanizing them and facilitating the identification by the spectator.


In that sense, we can illustrate elements of psychology with these colorful characters, and some of the most popular heroes whose interest lies in some mental disorder They can be the following.

1. Spiderman

Spider-man got the ability to climb the walls thanks to the bite of a radioactive spider, but it was not until he was the victim of the tragedy that this property got. At first he used his powers in the entertainment world, with selfish ends, and it was not until he let a thief escape, that he would kill his beloved Uncle Ben, who would learn his famous mantra: all great power carries a great responsibility.

From then on, the character acquires inflexible moral values, sacrificing his personal life whenever he could use his power to help someone. So, repeatedly his excessive dedication to duty It has led him to abandon personal relationships, job opportunities or to confront the police or other superheroes, illustrating symptoms that can be found in Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder.


2. Hulk

After exposure to radiation, Bruce Banner acquires the curse of becoming a destructive monster called Hulk. In clear inspiration from the work of Lewis Stevenson, The amazing case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (which had some influence in the first psychodynamic studies), the personalities of Banner and Hulk were completely opposite, being a brilliant and introverted scientist and this an irrational brute with the intelligence of a child, in an evident case of dissociative disorder of identity, in which none of the personalities has memories of what the other did when he was out of control.

In addition, the transformation in Hulk it occurs when there are high levels of stress , so that Banner has learned in several technical versions of breathing, meditation, etc.

3. Iron Man

Iron Man was conceived as an antithesis of himself: he was an iron man with a severe heart disease. This concept was extended over the years to the psychological field and, although it has been sometimes oriented to the narcissistic personality disorder because of its high ego, the truth is that, above all, we find symptoms associated with the consumption of substances, specifically with alcoholism .


And it is that Tony Stark closed the commitment of his editorial against this social problem, being a millionaire businessman who could not control his consumption of alcohol, leading him to lose his social relationships, his company, his house and his armor, although finally he was able to overcome and become stronger, like so many other victims of this condition. Of course, since then the character only drinks water, avoiding the discriminative stimulus that could trigger the whole process again.

4. Wolverine

Better known in Spain as Wolverine, Wolverine is a mutant who suffered the intervention of a government experiment in which they reinforced their adamantium bones, the hardest metal in the fictional universe of Marvel comics. As a result of the trauma, the X man suffered a retrograde amnesia that prevented him from remembering part of his past. However, over time it was also discovered that the memories he kept were only "memory implants" inserted in the same experiment, that is, false induced memories in the same way as in the studies of Elisabeth Loftus.

5. Batman

Bruce Wayne witnessed the murder of his parents by an armed robber while still a child, a situation that led him to use his inheritance to become the crime fighter named Batman. Bruce relives the experience of the murder of his parents on specific dates (the anniversary of death, mother's day ...) or whenever he goes to the scene of the crime, as it happens in post-traumatic stress disorders .

In addition, he has problems falling asleep and, sometimes, high irritability and, although exposing himself to situations similar to the stressful event would contradict the diagnosis, this symptom is usually reflected in comics and movies because of Batman's constant avoidance of firearms.


Top 10 Superheroes With Mental Illnesses (September 2022).


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