The litany of Hitler's physical ailments is long. He experienced severe abdominal spasms, as well as belching, bloating and constipation. Beginning in the 1930's, he complained of buzzing and ringing in his ears. He was afflicted with hypertension, headaches and heart trouble. And he had problems with his vision: After a mustard gas injury in World War I, he experienced two episodes of ''blindness,'' at least one of which Dr. Redlich judges to have been hysterical, and in later years Hitler described eye pain and hazy vision, ''as if he was viewing objects through a thin veil.'' Toward the end of his life, the Nazi leader also suffered from Parkinson's syndrome.
Dr. Redlich adds several new medical diagnoses to the list. He believes that Hitler probably had both spina bifida occulta -- a not uncommon hereditary condition that is largely symptomless, but can cause difficulties in urination and frequent bladder infections -- and hypospadia, an abnormally placed urethra. Dr. Redlich made these diagnoses by piecing together information from Morell's diaries, and from interviews with Henriette Hoffman von Schirach, daughter of Hitler's photographer, and Prof. Ernst Gunther Schenck, a doctor and former Nazi who was the author of a German medical biography of Hitler.
Dr. Redlich learned, for example, that Hitler had mentioned both conditions to Dr. Morell, leading the author to believe that they had been diagnosed earlier by another doctor. If the Nazi leader did have these abnormalities, Dr. Redlich argues, it might help explain his sexual inhibition, and the frequent hand washing that other authors attributed to psychological compulsion.
Dr. Redlich also offers the opinion that Hitler probably suffered from temporal or giant cell arteritis, an autoimmune disease associated with inflammation of the arteries. A diagnosis of giant cell arteritis, Dr. Redlich asserts, would explain many of Hitler's complaints, including his headaches, cardiac symptoms and vision problems.
A commonly repeated notion is that Hitler had only one testicle, an assertion made in the autopsy report filed by Soviet pathologists who examined bodies removed from shallow graves in a garden near Hitler's bunker, including one the Russians concluded was Hitler's. Various historians have either accepted this finding or rejected it as an attempt by the Bolsheviks to portray Hitler as sexually defective. Dr. Redlich remains neutral on this question, though he points out that monorchism, as the condition is called, is sometimes associated with hypospadia. And there is no evidence, the author writes, to show that Hitler had syphilis, despite persistent rumors that he contracted the disease from a Jewish prostitute.
Hitler's personal physician, Dr. Morell, to whom the Nazi leader was devoted, has always been controversial figure. Some biographers have deemed him a charlatan and an exploiter. Others have said that he deliberately tried to harm his patient. Dr. Redlich concludes, in contrast, that while Dr. Morell was ignorant and made mistakes -- at one point he gave Hitler both very potent laxatives and opiates, a dangerous combination -- he ''was proud of his historical role,'' enjoyed the perquisites it provided and never caused deliberate harm.
Was Hitler a drug addict? Dr. Redlich thinks not. Dr. Morell did prescribe amphetamines for Hitler, but this was a common practice at the time, the author says. ''I think he took drugs, but he did not become addicted,'' Dr. Redlich said in an interview. ''And when he realized they were harmful, he stopped.'' He added that Hitler was a teetotaler, and fiercely opposed to the use of nicotine.
In the end, Dr. Redlich concludes that ''Hitler's crimes and errors were not caused by illness.''
Hitler scholars who have reviewed the new book said they were impressed with the scope and detail of the author's research. Dr. Ian Kershaw, a history professor at the University of Sheffield in England, whose own biography, ''Hitler 1889-1936: Hubris'' (W. W.Norton, $35) will be published in January, has called the book ''the most thorough investigation yet undertaken of Hitler's medical condition.'' Dr. John Lukacs, a retired historian and author of ''The Hitler of History'' (Knopf, $25.50), calls Dr. Redlich's work ''a great contribution.''
Yet the psychiatrist does not limit himself to a discussion of Hitler's physical self. In the last section of the book, he goes beyond that, delving into the Nazi leader's psyche and constructing what amounts to a psychiatric profile.
Psychoanalyzing Hitler has been a popular endeavor ever since the United States Government's Office of Strategic Services commissioned a psychological profile of Hitler in hope of finding novel ways to defeat him. After Hitler's death, efforts to explain his behavior in psychological terms proliferated. Among them are Rudolph Binion's 1976 biography, ''Hitler Among the Germans'' (Northern Illinois University Press), which traces Hitler's aggression to his rage at his mother's doctor, and Robert Waite's ''The Psychopathic God: Adolf Hitler'' (Da Capo Press; $16.95), which concluded that Hitler was sexually perverse.
Indeed, Dr. William McKinley Runyan, a professor in the school of social welfare at the University of California at Berkeley, said Nazi Germany became, in a sense, ''a test case'' for the budding genre of psycho-history. ''Most people who write about psychohistory end up writing about the Nazi era,'' Dr. Runyan said.
For his part, Dr. Redlich does as much to temper what he considers exaggerated interpretations by previous biographers as he does to add his own psychiatric insights. Though his own training is psychoanalytic, Dr. Redlich says he is dubious about how much psychoanalysis can contribute to an understanding of Hitler: there are simply not enough available data. ''I find these psychoanalytic treatises are too simplistic,'' he said. ''To blame the Oedipus complex or the castration complex for Hitler's problems -- these are universal concepts and you need something much more specific.''
Yet unlike some historians, who distrust any application of psychological theory to historical figures, Dr. Redlich believes one cannot adequately assess Hitler's actions without taking into account not only the historical facts, but the Nazi leader's ''psychological reality.'' For example, Hitler believed that his father was half-Jewish and had died of syphilis. These beliefs, the author argues, may have affected the Nazi leader's behavior, whether or not they were true. (There is no clear evidence, Dr. Redlich writes, to support either claim.)
Dr. Redlich theorizes that Hitler may have thought his physical abnormalities -- his hypospadia and spina bifida occulta -- were signs that he had inherited syphilis from his father. And his rage at this may have fueled his anti-Semitism, and his obsession with syphilis as a ''Jewish disease,'' a theme he dwelled upon for 10 pages in ''Mein Kampf.''
One of the most puzzling aspects of Hitler's childhood is that investigators have been able to find little there to foreshadow the adult he would become. He did not torture animals (though there is a single, often repeated, story about a billy goat), and from the little that is known, he seemed a fairly normal child, though sexually shy in adolescence. ''Psychohistorians assume that the child had troublesome, deep conflicts (including ambivalent feelings about his mother and father),'' Dr. Redlich writes. ''I am more impressed with the fact that useful data about eating habits, sleep disorders and toilet training are lacking.''
Indicators of Hitler's peculiarities in later adulthood, of course, are abundant, from his sexual inhibition (he may never have had sexual intercourse with Eva Braun, Dr. Redlich writes) to his phobias of disease, his explosive rages, his delusions and his conviction that he would die at an early age (he died at 56). In his book, Dr. Redlich runs through a list of psychiatric symptoms -- paranoia, narcissism, anxiety, depression, hypochondria, to name a few -- and finds some evidence for every one. Proof that Hitler was overtly self-destructive or sexually perverse is sparser and less compelling, the author says.
Yet Dr. Redlich concludes that attaching a formal psychiatric diagnosis to the Nazi leader is not very useful. When applying such diagnoses, he writes, he often feels ''as if I were in a cheap clothing store: Nothing fits, and everything fits.'' Ultimately, the psychiatrist portrays Hitler as a man who was more than the sum of his pathology, entirely responsible for his actions.
Some have argued that any attempt to explain Hitler is wrong, because understanding inevitably breeds excuse. Dr. Redlich disagrees: ''I tried to put myself as far as I could into Hitler's shoes, to study him as a psychiatrist would study a forensic patient, to understand what makes him tick,'' he said. ''Empathy is not the same as sympathy.'' In fact, there is little possibility that in trying to fathom Hitler's actions this particular author could also forgive him. Dr. Redlich, 88, is himself an Austrian of Jewish descent, who trained in Vienna before the war and fled the Nazis for the United States in 1938. ''This book,'' he said, ''is in a way my answer to Hitler.''