What mental illness does the Joker actually have?

Fans know the Joker is mentally insane, but does Batman’s mortal enemy actually have a specific mental illness – and can he get help?

the Joker is well known to comic book fans as from batman crazy enemy…but what specific mental illness does he actually have? The Clown Prince of Crime has apparently broken every conceivable law in Gotham City, ranging from petty theft to metropolis-wide mass murder. All of his crimes are tied together by his twisted sense of humor and desire to prank his victims – and that’s a clue to the Joker’s specific mental illness (and whether or not he can be cured ).

Diagnosing the Joker can be difficult as the character has changed drastically over time. His first appearance in Batman #1 portrays a criminal who has shown few normal non-neural qualities. During the 1950s and 60s, the Joker’s crimes were limited to glorified pranks thanks to the draconian Comics Code Authority – and thanks to a rule that a criminal in a comic book must never get away with a felony, the Joker was arrested at the end of each issue (this cemented Arkham Asylum as an easily escaped prison in the eyes of fans, perhaps indirectly damaging the CCA with each story of Joker sold).


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Bipolar disorder is a common diagnosis among fans; the Joker may indeed be possessed by sudden mood swings and anger – but that doesn’t explain his propensity for murder (or show little to no remorse after the fact). Dissociative Identity Disorder (incorrectly described as Multiple Personality Disorder) is also often brought up, but the Joker has rarely shown other personalities like the split that defines Harvey Dent and Two-Face. But a medical diagnosis describes the symptoms of Joker in T: Witzelsucht.

Joker laughing.

Those who suffer from Witzelsucht (German for “joke addict” or “joke addiction”) feel compelled to pun and tell inappropriate jokes at inappropriate times. They often have frontal lobe damage and an altered sense of humor; they find slapstick and puns funnier than other long jokes, as they often struggle to relate the setup of a joke to a punchline. This means that they are perfectly capable of narrative a joke, but i’m having trouble agreement other people’s jokes. Joker rarely laughs at other people’s jokes (unless they’re the butt of a joke through their own actions) and pain is indeed a big part of slapstick comedy. Unfortunately, it looks like The Joker I can’t tell how much the pain is too much – and even murder makes him happy.

There is a treatment for Witzelsucht: the antidepressant Venlafaxine can relieve symptoms in some patients. Unfortunately, the diagnosis is incredibly rare, and the small sample size makes in-depth studies difficult. If he is indeed suffering from Witzelsucht, there is still hope for the Joker – but his case is particularly serious, not to say dangerous for anyone who tries to help him.

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