5 Mental Disorders Dorothy Clearly Has in “The Wizard of Oz”

In honor of the film’s 75th anniversary, let’s take a stroll down the yellow brick road of her mind, shall we?

With The Wizard of Oz returning to theaters (in 3D!) this week, we’re paying tribute to the iconic film by psychoanalyzing one of it’s main characters: Dorothy Gale, the most famous Kansas farm girl in history. Below, we re-live some iconic scenes from the Victor Fleming classic and break down five psychological disorders Dorothy might suffer from.

Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD)

From the moment Dorothy appeared on screen, we knew something was off.  She spoke like she was performing on a Broadway stage and blew minor situations way out of proportion. We’re no shrinks, but it seems like Dorothy could be suffering from HPD, a disorder that manifests itself through attention-seeking behavior, intense theatricality, and a shallow array of emotions. Sounds like our girl, no?  In the first scene alone, Dorothy tells everyone about how her dog (and only friend) Toto has been threatened by some evil lady named Ms. Gulch, and when no one seems to care, she pouts, falls into a pig pen, and then kicks and screams as she’s being rescued. Even Auntie Em effectively tells her to get lost, and, never one to pass up an opportunity for drama, Dorothy proceeds to sing about it. Here we go again.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) 

In oversimplified terms, PTSD patients are those who suffer traumatic events and live to tell about them. In the case of Dorothy, that whole getting-sucked-up-into-a-twister thing is the traumatic event. A quick plot recap: After a pretty crappy day, Dorothy runs away from home. She soon returns to find a tornado heading straight for her farm. She takes cover in her bedroom, but a window flies off its hinges and knocks her out. The tornado rips the home from its foundations, and before you know it, she and Toto are all up inside the cyclone. Most people wouldn’t survive the initial impact, so hey, maybe things aren’t all that bad for the Kansas native. However, surviving this ordeal leaves her with deep emotional scars and likely causes her to have acute panic attacks every time she feels a slight autumn breeze for the rest of her life.

Achondroplasiaphobia (Fear of Little People)

There’s something mildly unnerving about a town full of “little people” as is; but add on a town full of little people celebrating murder, and you’re asking for a trip to the psychiatrist. Dorothy finds herself in this unusual situation after her house lands on the Wicked Witch of The East, and the Munchkins start hailing her as their savior. With their creepy tailcoats, flower pot hats, and upturned shoes, they sing, dance, and party like it’s Mardi Gras. And let’s not forget the infamous “Lollipop Guild.” We’re predicting Dorothy’s going to need some serious “couch time” if she ever gets out of Oz. Good luck ever enjoying a trip to the circus or fun-sized candy bars after this.


We’re just gonna put this one out there: Dorothy is every guy’s worst nightmare. She’s emotional, dramatic, and worst of all, clingy. So it’s not that surprising that her closest companion is a dog. Amid her travels, Dorothy meets the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion. Completely ignoring the fact that they’re middle-aged men, and that’s weird, Dorothy is just happy to have these newfound strangers to accompany her on this journey, and even asks the wizard to grant their wishes before hers. Even more disturbing is how Dorothy refers to them as her “best friends.” She’s known them for what, two days? They’re practically strangers, lady – not to mention that they’re not even real people. But her desire to please combined with a lack of awareness about personal boundaries and a willingness to put other’s needs before hers are classic signs of a co-dependent person. In the clip above, Dorothy says a tearful goodbye to the best friends she barely knows. “Lions and tigers and co-dependent girls, oh my!” (Even Aunt Em and Uncle Henry get sick of hearing about her friends from Oz, and ultimately send her off to get shock treatment in the 1985 Disney sequel Return to Oz. So, that happened.)

Paranoid Personality Disorder

There’s probably some truth to the idea that someone is always out to take advantage of the naive farm girl, and that realization can cause some serious paranoia. In this case, if it’s not the witch trying to kill her or the wizard letting her down, it’s Glinda manipulating Dorothy for her own personal gain, pitting Dorothy against the Wicked Witch. Thanks to Glinda’s shabby treatment, every time someone tries to help, compliment, or befriend Dorothy, they’ll be met with mistrust and resentment. Tough break, Dorothy, but at least you’ll always have Maxim in your corner. (Especially if you share some of those “crops” from your family’s farm; because as far as we can tell, that shit ain’t corn, and we’re looking to “take a trip to Oz” as soon as we get out of work, if you catch our drift.)


Photos by Mary Evans/Warner Bros. /Everett Collection