Fans know that the joker is mentally disturbed, but does so Batman’s mortal enemy really suffers from a certain mental illness and can he get help?
The Joker is known to comic book fans as Batman’s mad foe…but what kind of mental illness does he actually suffer from? The clown prince of the underworld, it seems, has broken every imaginable law in Gotham City, ranging from petty theft to mass murder on the scale of the entire metropolis. All of his crimes are related to his perverted sense of humor and his desire to “spot” his victims – and this is key to the Joker’s particular mental illness (and whether it can be cured).
Diagnosing the Joker can be difficult because the character has changed drastically over time. His first appearance in Batman #1 portrayed a criminal who has few non-neural normal traits. In the 50s and 60s, the Joker’s crimes were limited to glorified practical jokes thanks to the draconian comic book code, and thanks to the rule that a criminal in a comic book should never commit a crime, the Joker was arrested at the end. every issue (this cemented Arkham Asylum as a prison from which it is easy to escape in the eyes of fans, possibly indirect damage to CCA with every Joker story sold).
Bipolar disorder is a common diagnosis among fans; the Joker may indeed be obsessed with sudden mood swings and anger, but this doesn’t explain his propensity for murder (or almost complete lack of regret afterwards). Dissociative identity disorder (mistakenly described as multiple personality disorder) is also frequently mentioned, but the Joker rarely showed other personalities, such as the cleavage characteristic of Harvey Dent and Two-Face. But a medical diagnosis describes the Joker’s symptoms as T: Witzelsucht.
Those who suffer from Witzelsucht (German for “joke addict” or “joke addict”) feel obliged to make and tell inappropriate jokes at the wrong time. They often have frontal lobe injuries and an altered sense of humor; they find slapstick and puns funnier than other long jokes because they often have trouble connecting the staging of a joke with a twist. This means that they are quite capable of telling a joke, but have a hard time understanding other people’s jokes. The Joker rarely laughs at other people’s jokes (unless they’re the subject of jokes because of their own actions), and pain is indeed a big part of slapstick comedy. Unfortunately, it seems the Joker can’t tell how much pain is too much, and even killing seems funny to him.
There is a Witzelsucht treatment: the antidepressant venlafaxine can relieve symptoms in some patients. Unfortunately, the diagnosis is incredibly rare and the small sample size makes extensive research difficult. If he really does suffer from Witzelsucht, the Joker still has hope, but his case is extremely serious, not to mention dangerous to anyone who tries to help him.