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Insane No More

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A character is declared insane, then declared sane.

This can happen to someone with real issues that were genuinely resolved, medicated away or declared "fixed" by quacks to be Not Your Problem; it can also happen to someone who is sane, whether by being mistakenly committed to an asylum or a psychiatrist seeing they are Obfuscating Insanity for reasons such as copping an Insanity Defense.

May include a Pre-Insanity Reveal. Can result in Reformed, but Rejected.

Compare Bored with Insanity and Sanity Slippage. See also Sanity Strengthening, which may overlap.


Insane person declared sane:

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    Comic Books 
  • Batman: White Knight: After an intense chase and a beatdown, Batman forces a handful of pills down The Joker's throat. This cures his psychosis, which is confirmed by psychiatrists. The first thing he does is sue Gotham City, GCPD and Batman. The next thing he does is fight crime and run for office as the titular White Knight. The original Harley Quinn, reminding us she is, after all, a psychiatrist, explains he has a chemical imbalance, so he has to keep taking that combination of pills to keep from reverting back to the Joker.
  • The Dark Knight Returns:
    • The Joker is declared sane by a Straw Character psychiatrist (since with Batman gone, he had nothing to do but mope around the asylum). The Joker takes the opportunity to gas the studio where the psychiatrist is insulting Batman, killing him, the host, and the audience.
    • Two-Face receives plastic surgery to restore the damaged half of his face, paid for by The Wayne Foundation. The psychiatrist treating the Joker declares him sane and releases him. He scratches both sides of his coin, feeling the darkness has consumed him and Harvey Dent is gone. At least both sides match.


  • The penultimate book in the Artemis Fowl series has Artemis showing the symptoms of a mental disorder called 'Atlantis Complex', which eventually manifests itself as a Split Personality, and ends with him being referred for treatment at the Argon clinic. He's diagnosed as having made a full recovery in the first chapter of the final book.
  • Downplayed in Edgedancer with Nale — Lift does manage to bring him back to a semblance of sanity, enough for a Heel Realization and a sober conversation, but he admits that his mind is still slipping, and his ultimate fate is left uncertain as he leaves in a hurry.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Big Bang Theory: Played for Laughs with Sheldon Cooper. "I'm not crazy, my mother had me tested." His mother later confirms this is true... but admits she probably should have done a follow-up with that specialist in Houston.
  • Criminal Minds: The episode "Lucky" starts with a debate at a criminal asylum as to whether one of their inmates can be declared sane. He's been symptom-free for several years thanks to the constant counseling and anti-psychotic drugs provided, but they know that if he stops that regimen, he's likely to act out his violent fantasies again. Ultimately, they decide that they can't technically declare him sane, but since he was committed as a minor and has turned 18, they legally have to release him, so he's declared sane on a technicality.
  • Gotham:
    • Oswald Cobblepot, "The Penguin", is mentally tortured and brainwashed in Arkham Asylum into acting docile and non-violent, then given a declaration of sanity and released. He meets his biological father, then snaps when his father is murdered by his step-mother.
    • Barbara Kean is treated at Arkham, then released as cured. She is explicitly not sane. Barbara thinks she fooled Dr. Strange; Dr. Strange explains to his assistant that he knows damn well she isn't rehabilitated and he is knowingly and deliberately releasing a violently unstable patient into society For the Evulz.
    • Edward Nygma is released from Arkham by the new head psychiatrist through coercion from Cobblepot, now running for mayor.
  • In Smallville, Alicia Baker goes through this. She's declared cured of her mental illness after a year in Belle Reve. She goes from being an unstable Yandere to being remorseful for her actions and somewhat functional, despite the fact that her doctor is actually slowly become a yandere towards her. The problem is that she's now just a terrified teenager with terrible judgement, which lead her to make some brash and selfish decisions when placed in a bind, which she later realizes were idiotic.

    Video Games 
  • In Crusader Kings 2, your character can get the rather common (and hilarious) Insane trait which starts all sorts of funny events, and usually is incurable. But there is a rare event which lets you seduce a rose bush. You can then decide to either make love with the bush or realize that you have gone utterly bonkers. Realizing it has a slim chance of getting you your sanity back.
  • In Fallen London, if your character's Nightmare stat rises too high, they will temporarily go insane and enter "A state of some confusion".note  It's actually a Through the Eyes of Madness version of the Royal Bethlehem Hotel, a 5-star hotel where The Mentally Disturbed can stay for free. When your character recovers, the game states that they "would no longer be considered insane by most citizens of Fallen London".

    Western Animation 
  • Batman: The Animated Series: In "Harley's Holiday", Harley Quinn receives a clean bill of mental health and is thus paroled. Harley declares she is a Reformed Criminal and, thinking her outfit (rather than her pet hyenas) was freaking out passersby, she buys a new outfit but leaves before the security tag can be removed which sets off the alarm, so the clerk sends a security guard to remove the tag. Harley thinks she's being arrested again, panics and sets off a chain of events that cause her to kidnap Veronica Vreeland and subsequently return to crime. At the end, her psychiatrist states she is on a path to recovery.
  • Inverted in the Futurama episode "Insane in the Mainframe": Bender and Fry plead insanity to being accomplices to armed robbery. The judge sentences them both to be committed to a robot asylum, as the human asylums were full after the same judge declared poverty a mental illness. Bender plays along, but Fry goes insane and starts thinking and acting like a robot, which gets him declared sane and released.

Sane person declared sane:

    Comic Books 
  • In Batman Villains Secret Files and Origins, an innocent man is declared guilty of a particularly gruesome murder and sent to Arkham Asylum. His lawyer, however, fights back and successfully gets a court order for his release. Unfortunately, by that time, the man has been subjected to countless denigrations and electroshock therapy, rendering him a pitiable madman no different from any of the Asylum's regular inhabitants.

  • The Green Mile: Bank robber and murderer "Wild Bill" Wharton is deemed mentally competent to stand trial for his crimes and is sentenced to death.

    Live-Action TV 
  • M*A*S*H: Corporal Klinger is Obfuscating Insanity, dressing in women's clothing in an attempt to get a psychological discharge. In one of the earlier episodes, Dr Sidney Freeman interviews Klinger and determines he is sane (and not particularly original in his attempts), but offers to declare Klinger insane and eligible for a discharge if Klinger would declare himself homosexual. Klinger refuses.

    Western Animation 
  • Batman: The Animated Series:
    • In "Sideshow", Killer Croc is reclassified as sane and thus guilty of his crimes, so that he can be sentenced to a term in Levitz Prison instead of Arkham Asylum. However, he soon escapes from the train that is supposed to take him there.
    • In her Backstory episode "Mad Love", Dr. Harleen Quinzel diagnoses the Joker as Obfuscating Insanity. Though she believes his stories, falls in love with him and becomes his girlfriend/henchwoman, it's implied that she's right.
  • King of the Hill: In one episode, Boomhauer, asleep while floating in an inner tube on a trip to a lake, drifts downstream while sleeping until he ends up under a bridge in a city centre. Wearing only a speedo and his Motor Mouth speech pattern cause him to be involuntarily committed for 72 hours for psych evaluation. Too embarrassed to call Hank for help, he calls Dale instead. Dale bribes a patient with cigarettes to take his place and sneak in... and can't get out. Dale and Boomhauer call Bill to sort everything out, but Bill finds a flyer for voluntary commitment and commits himself. When their escape attempt fails, they call Hank, who sorts everything out and explains Boomhauer was only committed for 72 hours, which had since expired and Boomhauer was deemed not a danger to himself or others so he was free to go, Dale was never actually admitted to the hospital so legally, he was free to go (though the doctor felt Dale should keep taking his medication) and that Bill's health insurance wouldn't cover his stay.
  • The Simpsons: In "Stark Raving Dad", due to a laundry accident, Homer wears a pink shirt to work and must fill out a psychiatric survey. He's too lazy and instead has Bart do it, who fills it out with answers that highlight Homer's multiple issues to the point of making him sound insane, which causes him to be institutionalized. When Marge proves to the doctors Bart exists and is not Homer's delusions, Homer is released. His psychiatrist apologizes for the ordeal and declares him sane. Homer asks — and receives — this declaration in writing, but has difficulty washing off the "INSANE" stamp the staff put on his hand.