Guide Book to Life
Guide Book to Life

Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde- The Medical Facts Behind the Fictional Story

August 11, 2018 Admin 5 min Health, Beauty and Fitness
Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

The Fictional Account

Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde – is a Victorian era novel, written by Robert Louis Stevenson and first published in 1886. The story revolves around Dr Henry Jekyll – a well known ,respected Doctor and established member of society ,and with many resourceful friends; his alter ego – Mr Edward Hyde, is a hideous, depraved, despicable character. The whole story is told from the perspective of one of the friends of Dr Henry Jekyll – Gabriel Utterson. The story revolves around Dr Jekyll, who besides being a famous doctor, is also a brilliant scientist; and has invented a serum that would enable him to totally isolate the good from the evil aspect of his personality ie he drinks a serum that can make him a younger, smaller ,stronger, evil persona with no compassion or remorse – a character, who calls himself Mr Hyde and drinking an antidote would turn him back to Dr Henry Jekyll. Mr Hyde is a total contradiction to everything that Dr Jekyll stands for. Dr Jekyll believes this invention of his is a triumph of science, as now the total good and total bad of a person can be totally separated by taking a serum, that he invented.

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
The work of Fiction

But as time goes by Dr Jekyll finds that once he becomes Mr Edward Hyde, his immoral and sometimes violent actions, usually goes out of control . In this changed form, he commits many violent actions, including a murder of a member of parliament . His metamorphoses to Mr Hyde becomes uncontrolled & comes spontaneously & involuntarily (and no longer influenced just by, intake of the invented serum) whenever Dr Jekyll is faced with some weakness; and to revert back to Dr Jekyll form successfully , the dose of antidote needs to be increased successively. Finally comes a stage, when Dr Jekyll is fixated in Mr Hyde form, as the antidote is no longer working, and as a murderer the police is searching for him. The novel ends in tragic note, as Dr Jekyll / Mr Hyde, commits suicide after writing a detailed note of confession; and body of Hyde wearing Dr Jekyll’s cloths is discovered by his friend Gabriel Utterson, along with the confession letter.


The novel explores the dichotomy of human nature; how every person is the amalgamation of good and evil and how the evil tries to triumph over the goodness of human nature. As per theory of Freud, unexpressed desires which are subdued in an unconscious state, can affect the actions in a conscious state. The novel explores the eternal battle of good and evil, that takes place not just outside in the real world, but also inside a human mind . But is this story, just a symbolic manifestation, of a deep seated psychological conflict, or different manifestation of a single individual is possible in the real world also ??


Some Medical Conditions, That May Mimmic the Aforesaid Story

1) Multiple Personality Disorder /Dissociative Identity Disorder

This is a condition, in which two or more different personality states are present in the same individual, each personality state may manifest during different time, depending on the situation. Some individuals describe themselves to be possessed during these events and some may experience memory loss. Each of these different personality traits, may differ from one another in age, sex, name, attitude/thinking and maturity level. Dissociative identity disorder may be seen in people, who in their childhood suffered from long term physical/ emotional/ sexual trauma . This condition may effect the individual’s personal/ professional/ social life tremendously, as they may have no control over their actions and impaired memory makes the situation worse.


The expression of different personality, at different times, is usually linked to stress. The most common symptoms are usually depression and headache . Other associated psychiatric comorbid conditions like Bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder and major depressive disorder may coexist .People suffering may complain of hearing imaginary voices inside their head, which commands them to do things, that they would not rather do in normal situations. They feel sudden burst of strong impulse or strong emotions, which is beyond their control. They may cause harm to others or themselves in this situation. Treatment by a qualified psychiatrist, and long term psychotherapy, antidepressants, antianxiety drugs and tranquilisers, help many people to lead near normal life.

Different personalities exist in the same person
Different personalities exist in the same person

2) Jekyll and Hyde Syndrome

This has nothing to do with Dissociative Identity Disorder. This basically is a condition when the person concerned is hypersensitive and can become angry very easily (abusive mood swings). It basically manifest itself as aggressive outburst, and should not be ignored. The other name for this is irritable male syndrome, as it affects only males. Mostly older males are involved. The people suffering from this syndrome, always blame others for their emotional outburst. They never take responsibility for their actions and do not recognize their own hypersensitivity; they believe that everyone else is going out of their way to irritate them. Most of the time their emotional outburst is directed to the person who is closest to them (mostly against their wives). Sometimes instead of outburst, they withdraw into a total silenced isolation. This syndrome mostly manifest itself in those people, who were ignored and neglected by people they loved in younger age, which causes an anger, which gets out of control after an initial period of suppression.


3) Sadistic Personality Disorder

This is a personality disorder in which, the concerned person inflicts cruel, aggressive, sadistic and demeaning behaviour on others . The person concerned lacks empathy for others, and derive pleasure (sometimes sexual) by humiliating or hurting others. These actions are done just for fun and in all cases lack any justifiable cause. Recurrent episodes of aggression and cruel behaviour may be seen.


4) Drugs Abuse

Drug addiction can also cause a person who was previously calm and friendly to be violent. The affected person can harm others and put others around him at risk . Very commonly the near and dear ones may be totally ignorant of the fact that the concerned person is taking drugs. It is caused mostly by taking drugs that are stimulant in nature, and cause paranoia or hallucination on the user, making the concerned person believe, that people are trying to harm him. The common drugs of this class are – Cocaine, Amphetamine, marijuana . So when a previously normal person, shows change of nature and violent outburst, drug abuse should be ruled out.

Drug abuse can cause similar problem
Drug abuse can cause similar problem

5) Pseudologia Fantastica / Mythomania

This is a psychological condition, also known as pathological or compulsive lying, in which the person concerned, habitually lies. This was first described in the late 19th century by the German doctor, Dr Anton Delbruck. This may manifest itself over a period of years and sometimes even lifetime. The lies are not due to any environmental or social factors or for any practical benefits, but for an internal need to lie. These people may be aware that they are lying; or may believe that, they are mentioning the truth, being unaware that, they are describing facts which are not accurate. They are unable to change their habit, hence also called as pathological liars. Confronting them with the truth may lead to confusion, anger and sometimes violence.


6) Alcohol Intake

Very few people ( only a small minority ), after alcohol intake, become violent. But it can cause serious problems for friends and families, who can be unsuspecting target. Usually people who are irritable and have poorer anger control in sober state, have the tendency to be violent after alcohol intake.


7) Supersoldiers of Nazi Germany

The use of medication to change a persons physical and mental state, was used in a large scale, during second world war, by Nazi Germany. During second world war, drugs were frequently used to improve the performance of pilots, sailors and infantry troops, by the German administration. The drug most commonly used was Pervitin or pure methamphetamine . The drug was very much over used in the Nazi Germany . It was supposedly made the soldiers fresh, cheerful, self confident, gave increased concentration, made them euphoric and stimulated & alert ,and to have a vigorous urge to work. Soldiers taking it said that, it made them more efficient in the war front, as they could work without food ( as hunger was suppressed) and very little sleep. Of course, it led to a heavy addiction to methamphetamine with positive effects steadily decreasing among frequent users; and with side effects like depression, hallucinations, nausea and severe dehydration. Deaths because of heart failure and suicide were also reported. A grim reminder of the end of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde story.

A methamphetamine tablet container used during 2nd world war
A methamphetamine tablet container used during 2nd world war

The above mentioned examples clearly shows that, as Oscar Wilde said, life imitates art far more than art imitates life.

(Disclaimer – Mental disorders can manifest in many different forms and discussing all of them is not possible here .This article is just for general discussion and certainly not a substitute for a face to face consultation with a qualified psychiatrist/psychologist, which a person with psychological imbalance should get, as soon as possible)

( DECLARATION - All the images used in this site, are either from personal collection, or are images available in Public Domain. The owner of this website is grateful to all those, who donated their images to – Wikipedia, Wikimedia, Flickr, Deviant Art, Pinterest, Pixabay and all other sites; for free use, as images in Public Domain.)

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