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The movie centers on the unfortunate events that mangled the life of Susanna Kaysen when she was only eighteen years old. She was presented as a young woman who prompted to engage in things that were considered as unusual and sometimes, socially unaccepted. Primary of which is her tendency to involve in casual sex with men in undiscerning manner. She is somewhat aloof with other people and she does not have many friends. Flings actually surpass friendships for her. As a result, she often gets the disapproval of her parents, especially that of her mother who wants her to strictly live by the acceptable norms of the society at that time.
Eventually, things between her and her family worsen as it is revealed that she is having an affair with the husband of one of her mother’s friend. Unable to cope up with the pressures of the situation, she tries to commit suicide through vodka and aspirin. However, she fails to end her life, and instead, ends up in a mental institution for women.
There, she struggles to live with a variety of mentally-ill people she meets such as an anorexic, a sociopath, a bulimic, and many more.
The movie then centers on how Susanna manages to interact with the people and survive in such a place. Borderline Personality Based on the DSM-IV Personality Disorders, Borderline personality disorders refer to a state of the person where he or she experiences a persistent pattern of problems about self image and interpersonal relationships.
A person with Borderline personality generally experiences persistent instabilities in moods, views on self, behavioral patterns which then cause chaotic interpersonal relationships.
Sometimes, extreme negative thoughts on self and those whom they share interpersonal relationships can lead to persistent depressive modes, if not suicidal tendencies. In the case of Susanna Kaysen, she is correctly diagnosed as having borderline personality syndrome since she was classified to have unstable relationships with her family and the boys she have sex with. She also has identity confusion, impulsivity in promiscuous sex, constant feelings that she is not worthy to be in existence, and because she has engaged in thoughts of having herself killed or mutilated.
However, an appropriate alternative diagnosis for Susanna may be a mood disorder- particular that of a Bipolar disorder. This is because her actions and her overall behavior may be just a way for her to cope up with persistent episodes of abnormally elevated moods as carried by one who has bipolar disorder. Such elevated moods may e due to the depression that the conflict between her tendencies to explore things as part of her teenage years and that of her families wish for her to comply with the societal norms create.
It may be that her unconventional ways were just part of her exploration of her youth and the disapproval of her parents just prompted her to have several manic or depression attacks which then caused her the desire to commit suicide or mutilate herself. The DSM DSM stands for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR). It serves as the guide for physicians when they are diagnosing patients with possible mental illnesses. It was developed by the American Psychiatric Association and it acts as a classification method for various categories of mental illnesses.
The various categories in the guide state the various sets of signs and symptoms for each specific category and classification of mental disorder. If a patient has the symptoms and signs, then he/she is diagnosed to have that specific mental disorder. Basically, the DSM has five axes, or main classifications of mental disorders: Axis I: this describes clinical disorders and major mental illnesses (i. e. developmental and learning disorders) Axis II: This discusses pervasive and/or personality conditions Axis III: This states physical disorders and acute medical situations
Axis IV: This deals with psychosocial disorders Axis V: This explains the global assessment of functioning for children under the age of 18. The Borderline Personality disorder which Susanna Kaysen has belongs to the Axis II, along with antisocial personality disorder, schizotypal personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, and mild mental retardation. The Recommended Therapies For Susanna Kaysen: The best therapy for Susanna is the dialectical behavior therapy. It is a form of cognitive-behavioral techniques characterized by negotiations between the client and his/her therapist.
They usually talk about self-harm issues, efficiency in interpersonal skills such as socialization and assertiveness, problem coping, and emotional control. This is appropriate for Susanna since she is still capable of developing a trusting relationship with her therapist. However, it will be best if she can have a treatment with a group of people so she can start applying and developing her interpersonal skills with them. Other important components of the training are mindfulness skills, emotion modulation skills, and the ability to handle and tolerate distress. For Lisa Rowe:
In the case of Lisa Rowe, who is a sociopath, it will be best if she is treated through family therapies since the presence of someone whom she can trust is greatly needed. The main focus of the therapy should not be her negative traits or incapability. Instead, it should focus on her feelings and how she can effectively generate positive ones. Also, appropriate actions in relation to the development of her emotions should be the core focus of her therapy.
Antisocial Personality Disorder Treatment (nd). Accessed December 13, 2007 from http://psychcentral.com/disorders/sx7t. htm Profile of the Sociopath (nd). Accessed December 13, 2007 from http://www. hss. caltech. edu/~mcafee/Bin/sb. html Hare, R. D. , Hart, S. D. , Harpur, T. J.. (nd) Psychopathy and the DSM—IV Criteria for Antisocial Personality Disorder. Accessed December 13, 2007 from http://www. psych. utoronto. ca/users/peterson/psy430s2001/Hare%20RD%20Psychopathy%20JAP%201991. pdf Zeigler-Hill, V. ; J. Abraham (June 2006). "Borderline personality features: Instability of self-esteem and affect". Journal of Social & Clinical Psychology 25 (6): 668-687.
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