Grinch likely depressed, suffers from lack of love, joy, expert says (w/ Video)

December 8, 2009 by Clinton Colmenares

(PhysOrg.com) -- Being irritable, grumpy and seeking social isolation are also hallmarks of depression, and could explain the Grinch's disdain for the Who -- the tall and the small -- his mistreatment of his dog Max and, ultimately, why he tried to stop Christmas from coming.

The Grinch, who lives atop Mt. Crumpet, is likely depressed, says University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill psychologist Cynthia Bulik, Ph.D.

“Everybody’s always so down on the Grinch,” says Bulik, the William R. and Jeanne H. Jordan Distinguished Professor of Eating Disorders in UNC’s Department of . “But one of the things I’ve always asked myself is whether the Grinch himself might be feeling kind of down.

“When people think about they often think about people being sad,” says Bulik, who has not officially treated the Grinch but is very familiar with his story.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

Being irritable, grumpy and seeking are also hallmarks of depression, and could explain the Grinch’s disdain for the Who - the tall and the small - his mistreatment of his dog Max and, ultimately, why he tried to stop Christmas from coming.

“Especially around the holidays you look around and everyone seems to be feeling the joy, but inside you’re just feeling dark and miserable,” Bulik says. “It’s that contrast between how you’re feeling inside and how all those happy people are feeling out there that can really be torture for someone who has depression.”

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Grinch isn’t alone. The lifetime incidence of depression ranges from about 8 percent to 20 percent. Depression “interferes with daily life, normal functioning, and causes pain for both the person with the disorder and those who care about him or her,” according to the National Institute of .

“One of the things that happens with people who are depressed, and we see this especially with the Grinch, is that people don’t really want to be around him, and he doesn’t want to be around people,” Bulik says. “So, he’s not getting a lot of love.”

And, she points out, depression can have physical manifestations. The Grinch is overweight, is badly in need of dental work and, Bulik says, “I think what we might be seeing is that his heart might be shriveling from a lack of love.”

The Grinch might also be suffering from seasonal affective disorder, which is associated with fewer hours of daylight, Bulik says. “There are a lot of people who get depressed as the days get shorter and fall and winter arrive.”

So, Bulik says, besides learning that Christmas doesn’t come from a store, we can learn from the Grinch that depression doesn’t always manifest as sadness.

“If there’s someone in your life who is just really irritable and miserable, and just not getting any joy out of life, you have to wonder whether they might be being challenged by depression,” Bulik says. “Reach out and see if some of your friends who are not doing well could use some help.”

Provided by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Explore further: Pregnancy may increase the risk of developing binge eating disorder

Related Stories

Older women more susceptible to depression than older men

February 6, 2008

Older women are more prone to depression and are more likely to remain depressed than older men, according to a new study by Yale School of Medicine researchers in the February Archives of General Psychiatry.

Obesity and depression may be linked

June 2, 2008

A major review in Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice reveals that research indicates people who are obese may be more likely to become depressed, and people who are depressed may be more likely to become obese.

Marking anorexia with a brain protein

June 23, 2009

Eating disorders are frequently seen as psychological or societal diseases, but do they have an underlying biological cause? A new study shows that the levels of a brain protein differ between healthy and anorexic women.

Recommended for you

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...

Quantum Theory May Explain Wishful Thinking

April 14, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Humans don’t always make the most rational decisions. As studies have shown, even when logic and reasoning point in one direction, sometimes we chose the opposite route, motivated by personal bias or simply ...

3 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

RobertKarlStonjek
4 / 5 (1) Dec 08, 2009
....so, he's the new poster boy for antidepressant medication...will his picture be on the next box of SSRIs you buy?
el_gramador
not rated yet Dec 09, 2009
....Robert. That was at once clever and well done. :D I like it.
maxmc
not rated yet Dec 09, 2009
this is the best article ever! hahaha i love it! This almost sounds like an Onion article! Good goin' Physorg!

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.