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Wednesday, 13 December, 2000, 10:45 GMT
Pooh suffers 'psychological problems'
The original toys on which AA Milne based Tigger, Kanga, Pooh, Eeyore and Piglet
The inspiration for Pooh, Tigger, Kanga, Eeyore and Piglet
Winnie the Pooh, Christopher Robin and their forest friends are "seriously troubled individuals" according to Canadian researchers.

Far from being the innocent world it appears to be on the surface, Hundred Acre Wood is, say the reseachers, a place where psycho-social problems are not recognised or treated.

We cannot but wonder how much richer Pooh's life might be were he to have a trial of low-dose stimulant medication

Winnie the Pooh study
In a report published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, the specialists suggest AA Milne's characters would be better off with psycho-active drugs and more parental guidance.

Lead researcher Sarah Shea said the purpose of the tongue-in-cheek study was to remind people that anyone can have disorders.

Shaken bear syndrome

Pooh, a bear of very little brain, is said to suffer from the condition known as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

The Winnie the Pooh that AA Milne gave his son Christopher Robin
Pooh: A case of attention deficit disorder
His fixation with honey and his repetitive counting behaviours suggest he may also present obsessive compulsive disorder, according to the report.

Pooh's learning problems could also arise from him being dragged downstairs by Christopher Robin, bumping his head on each step - a possible case of "shaken bear syndrome", asks the study.

"We cannot but wonder how much richer Pooh's life might be were he to have a trial of low-dose stimulant medication," say the researchers.

Piglet obviously suffers from generalised anxiety disorder according to the study.

Anti-panic agent, it says, would have saved him from the emotional trauma experienced while attempting to trap heffalumps.

Role models

While the chronically depressed Eeyore and risk-taking Tigger are also prescribed different kinds of medication, some of their friends need support and better role-models.

Had his condition been identified early, Owl's dyslexia could been overcome through intensive support.

The researchers predict that Roo is likely to become a delinquent for lack of a good role model, while Kanga will probably miss the opportunity to get an MBA due to a social context that does not "appear to value education and provides no strong leadership".

Which brings us to Christopher Robin.

Not finding any diagnosable condition, the specialists express concern over several issues. Namely, the boy's lack of parental supervision and the fact that he spends his time talking to animals.

"Sadly the forest is not, in fact, a place of enchantment, but rather one of disenchantment, where neuro-developmental and psycho-social problems go unrecognised and untreated," conclude the authors.

Whether the readers of Pooh would benefit from the bear's visit to a child development clinic, as suggested in the study, is another matter.

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