Does Gollum have bipolar? (+7 Signs & symptoms)

In this blogpost, we will be explaining if Gollum has bipolar. We will also be checking out the signs of Gollum’s mental health issues from the ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy. Finally, we will be discussing the causal factors which may have contributed to Gollum’s emotional problems.

Does Gollum have bipolar?

No, Gollum does not have bipolar. Gollum actually has schizoid personality disorder. The character that appears in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, constantly battles between his two identities, Gollum and Smeagol.

For schizoid personality disorder to be diagnosed in a person, they need to display at least seven out of nine diagnostic symptoms. For instance, the person needs to display solitary habits and have poor interpersonal skills.

Apart from these, the person also needs to constantly show paranoia towards others and have delusions. As seen from the movies and the books, Gollum definitely fits all these criteria and therefore it is most likely that he suffers from this particular personality disorder.

However, many other mental health experts and those who have deeply studied the Lord of the Rings trilogy have expressed alternate theories as to what mental illness Gollum indeed suffers from. These alternate diagnoses are:

  • Schizophrenia: The most common mental diagnosis that might pop into anyone’s mind while thinking about Gollum is definitely schizophrenia. However, Gollum does not fulfill all the main diagnostic criteria for this mental illness.
  • Multiple Personality Disorder: Multiple Personality Disorder is another diagnosis that is tossed about when it comes to Gollum. This is mainly because of the two major identities that are present in the character, namely Gollum and Smeagol.

However, Gollum and Smeagol are clearly aware of each other and even interact and plan with each other. This is not possible in Multiple Personality Disorder which is another reason why this mental illness can be ruled out.

  • Borderline Personality Disorder: Other fans and experts on the Lord of the Rings trilogy have also explained that Gollum might have Borderline Personality Disorder. The character shows a lot of impulsivity and recklessness which matches this disorder.

The main reason for this is because of Gollum’s or more specifically Smeagol’s family background and past history. He shows antisocial behavior right from the start which is often seen in Borderline Personality Disorder.

  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is another diagnosis which is tossed around when it comes to Gollum. This is mainly due to his obsessive thoughts and compulsions regarding the ring.

In addition to these obsessive thoughts, Gollum also has many vocal and body tics which further add to the theory of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. At the same time, Gollum does not fit all the diagnostic criteria of this mental illness.

  • Addiction: In simple terms, Gollum’s relationship with the ring can be seen as an addictive one, which supports the theory that the character might be indeed suffering from an addictive disorder.

Signs of Gollum’s mental health issues

Gollum might be mostly suffering from schizoid personality disorder but also shows other mental struggles. Some of the signs and symptoms of Gollum’s mental health issues have been described in the following section.

He is isolated from the world

Gollum lives in a cave, very isolated from the rest of middle-earth. According to the trilogy, the ring drove him there so that it could poison his mind. Being very socially isolated from others can also be a sign of mental illness.

He is obsessed with the ring

Gollum also shows a high level of obsession with the ring. He literally cannot live without it. In case the ring is out of sight for even a little time, Gollum can be seen getting anxious and flustered.

He is obsessed to the point where the ring becomes his one-true love. He also does not hesitate to harm others and even kill others in order to get the ring and keep the ring to himself. Unhealthy obsessions like this are also a sign of an underlying mental illness.

He is paranoid of others

Gollum also shows a lot of paranoia when it comes to others and does not trust other people easily. He keeps doubting the intentions and actions of others, and is very paranoid that something bad is going to happen to him.

This paranoia is mainly centered on the ring, since Gollun continuously suspects that others are out to steal the ring from him and keep it to themselves. Ultimately, this paranoia drives him to his death at the end of the trilogy.

He can be physically dangerous to others

Apart from being paranoid of others and their intentions, Gollum also proves that he can actually be physically dangerous to others. In fact, his back story started with him murdering his friend over the ring.

Even in his appearances afterwards in the trilogy, Gollum has shown that he can indeed be very hurtful towards others. He also elaborately plans to send Frodo to Shelob’s lair so that the spider will do the killing for him.

He has poor interpersonal skills

Gollum also shows very poor interpersonal skills and communication skills with others. This is partly as a result of him isolating himself for years together with no one to talk to. At the same time, poor interpersonal skills are also a reflection of some deep-rooted mental issues.

He does not take care of his health

Gollum definitely has forgotten about his daily activities and chores from his earlier life as Smeagol. He does not take care of his physical health and also does not practice proper self-hygiene.

As a result of his poor health, his body can be seen to be severely malnourished, with his hair and teeth falling out. Poor self-hygiene and self-care are definite signs and symptoms of mental illnesses.

He has two separate identities

Gollum also lives with clearly two separate identities – Gollum and Smeagol. This cannot be termed as dissociation or even multiple personalities since they talk to themselves. Whatever the reason may be for the identities, it also denotes a deep mental health issue.

Causes of Gollum’s mental health issues

In the Lord of the Rings trilogy, there is not much information on the history and the family history of Smeagol/Gollum. Therefore, it can be hard to expand on the causal factors of his mental health issues. Some causes of Gollum’s behavior and emotional trauma are:

  • The Ring: The presence of the One Ring itself is the main reason for Gollum’s mental health issues. The ring has a negative influence on whoever surrounds it, and especially has a strong effect on Gollum’s weak mind.

The ring also destroys other people who have come into contact with it, such as Isildur who was betrayed by it. It also played with the minds of Boromir and even Frodo who was tasked with carrying it to Mount Doom.

  • His solitary confinement: The ring made Smeagol seek out the deepest and darkest of caves to live for hundreds of years without any social interaction. This prolonged isolation could have also led to detrimental mental effects on Gollum.

As a result of this, Gollum did not have anyone to speak to but himself which was the reason for his personality splitting up into two. He could not seek counsel or support from anyone, but his own demented mind, which further damaged his emotional health.


In this blogpost, we have explained if Gollum has bipolar. We have also checked out the signs of Gollum’s mental health issues from the ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy. Finally, we have discussed the causal factors which may have contributed to Gollum’s emotional problems.

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