Does the Grinch have anxiety? (+5 Other approaches)

This detailed blogpost will be answering if the Grinch has anxiety and also show the symptoms of his mental health issues. Furthermore, we will be discussing in detail the various mental health issues of the Grinch as explained by different psychological schools of thought.

Does the Grinch have anxiety?

No, the Grinch does not have anxiety. The Grinch has depression according to mental health experts who have studied the story closely. However, the Grinch’s depression is not openly stated in the book or the movies.

While it is still not confirmed as to what mental illness the Grinch is suffering from, based on the symptoms and signs that are shown in the movie, viewers can clearly see that the character has depression. Some of the symptoms of depression that are portrayed by the Grinch are:

Isolating himself from others

The main hallmark symptom of depression is isolating oneself from others. The Grinch lives at the top of Mount Crumpit, far away from those in Whoville. He also does not talk to anyone and does not have any friends.

Constant irritability and frustration

The Grinch can be shown to be always irritated and frustrated for no reason at all. There are no trigger-factors that make him feel this way. This is another tell-tale sign of depression that not many people are aware of.

Irritation at the happiness of others

The Grinch not only feels irritated when he is on his own but also gets irritated when others are happy. When the Whos are getting ready to celebrate Christmas, the Grinch cannot help but feel increasingly grumpy and frustrated.

Living in a messy environment

The Grinch’s home at the top of Mount Crumpit can be seen to be filled with filth and is messy all the time, which demonstrates another symptom of depression – living in a messy environment.

Not taking care of his dog

While the relationship between the Grinch and Max, his dog, may seem quite ideal and very healthy on the outside, it actually is not. The Grinch absolutely does not take care of his own pet and perhaps his best friend, which also reflects his depressive symptoms.

Not taking care of his physical health

Last of all, the Grinch can be seen to be overweight for his height and also lacks personal hygiene. A lack of care for physical health and overlooking hygiene can also be symptoms of depression.

While many mental health experts do agree that the Grinch is suffering from depression, still many others blame his actions and behaviors on Antisocial Personality Disorder. The various symptoms of Antisocial Personality Disorder depicted by the Grinch are listed as follows.

  • The Grinch stole all the presents in Whoville along with the Christmas trees. He did this without thinking about the consequences of his actions.
  • When he was caught stealing a Christmas tree, the Grinch pretended to be Santa which shows that he is ready to lie and fake in order to get his way.
  • The Grinch constantly shows a major dislike towards other people, especially those from Whoville. He also actively takes steps to make their lives difficult, especially during the Christmas season.
  • He also shows a lot of impulsiveness and recklessness, fearing no danger for himself or even for others.
  • Until the end of the story, the Grinch did not show any type of remorse for his actions, even when he had really hurt others.

Other approaches to the Grinch’s mental health

The Grinch’s mental health issues can be explained through a number of approaches or psychological schools of thought. The various other approaches to explain the Grinch’s mental health have been described in detail below.

The Psychoanalytic Approach

The Psychoanalytic Approach as dictated by Sigmund Freud explains that the mental health issues or the personality of the Grinch is due to many emotional traumas that took place during his childhood.

The main take of the Psychoanalytic Approach on the Grinch’s personality is on his general attitude towards life, which is generally negative in nature. He also shows active aggression towards himself and towards others, demonstrating an oral aggressive behavior.

The Grinch on the whole, lives only to satisfy his own needs and pleasures, without giving a thought to social norms and principles. This can be mainly attributed towards an overactive ‘Id’ in the Grinch which is the source of his anti-social energy.

Another possible explanation of the Grinch’s personality from the Psychoanalytic school of thought is about his strong focus on destruction, mainly stemming from his own desire to die or to destroy himself.

The Neo-psychoanalytic Approach

The Neo-psychoanalytic Approach by Karen Horney can also be used to explain the main attributes of the Grinch’s personality and his mental issues. For instance, the Grinch shows a high need to obtain power and demonstrate his authority over others.

The reason for this need for power and authority of the Grinch can also be attributed to his own defense mechanism. His hurtful past with the Whos is the main reason for this, since he does not want to live through that trauma anymore.

The Adlerian Approach

The Adlerian Approach shows that the negative characteristics of the Grinch’s personality were actually activated by the influences in the environment around him. At the same time, they were also the reason for the Grinch’s transformation at the end of the story.

This approach further explains the actual reason for the Grinch’s isolated lifestyle. The Grinch does not live alone since he hates others, but lives alone in order to prevent getting hurt by the acts and behaviors of others, particularly the Whos.

The Grinch also goes back and forth a lot about his self-esteem as per this approach. For instance, the Grinch is seen to be suffering from inferiority in terms of the size of his heart, but also feels superior due to a delusion that his abilities are much better than that of others. 

The Humanistic Approach

The Humanistic Approach by Carl Roger can also be used to explain various facets of the Grinch’s personality, along with the mental health issues he faces. Mainly, the Grinch can be seen as a negative person since he only experienced negativities from others.

However, when his negative actions towards the Whos fail and they still end up celebrating Christmas, the Grinch takes a change of heart. This is mainly due to the love and affection shown by Cindy Lou who coaxes the people of Whoville to give the Grinch a chance.

The Maslowian Approach

The Abraham Maslow hierarchy of needs can also be used to explain the behavior and mental attributes of the Grinch’s personality. While his basic needs of food, shelter and stability were present, the Grinch still had many other needs left unfulfilled.

Apart from Max, the Grinch did not have any companionship and people whom he could talk to, and therefore, he could not go up another level since these needs were not fulfilled. However, this all changes when he finds Whoville actively including him as a member towards the end.

The turning moment for the Grinch comes when he saves Cindy Lou and the presents of Whoville from sliding down the mountain. At this moment in the story, the Grinch experiences what Maslow calls the Jonah Complex as he finds what he is truly capable of.


This detailed blogpost has answered if the Grinch has anxiety and also shown the symptoms of his mental health issues. Furthermore, we have discussed in detail the various mental health issues of the Grinch as explained by different psychological schools of thought.

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