29.08.2023 in Psychology

Psychology in the Movies

Nowadays filmmakers have opportunity to make movies about anything and in any way to show the main idea. There are many tools to realize almost every project, especially if the team includes talented staff. Due to wild interest, people always want to watch kind of pictures that scares them as it is a great spectacle and amusing entertainment. The bright example of such type of movies is films about mental illness. In many movies, mental illnesses are presented in both realistic and fictional ways. This essay will show the difference between portraying the same mental disorder in two thrilling movies, namely Shutter Island and The Machinist.

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Shutter Island depicts marshal Teddy Daniels, Caucasian male in his mid-thirties, who presumably suffers from delusional disorder, its mix type to be precise. According to the DSM-V, the delusions can be compared with high functioning on emotional, cognitive, and social levels. During the film, the main focus is on Daniels’s state. The film’s events even symbolically take place at Ashecliffe Mental Institution. Due to taking part in World War II and facing traumatic experience in Germany at the Dachau Concentration Camp, Teddy developed a mental illness. There are many scenes showing disorder manifestation. For example, the marshal has had many hallucinations, where his wife appeared and told him to kill a patient number 67. In the film, George Noyce, a schizophrenic patient gave Teddy a notice about this patient. Also, Daniels has been chasing the conspiracy theory. One time, he stopped trusting his partner Chuck as thanks to hallucinations, he realized that the latter had been lying to him. However, in reality, Chuck was his specialty psychiatrist, who also took part in a role-play therapy to treat Teddy.

Speaking about the second film The Machinist, viewers get acquainted with ill Trevor Reznik. This machine shop worker has emergency insomnia, deep stress, and different bizarre occurrences. In addition, he deals with growing paranoia. During the film, Trevor sees many hallucinations. On the basis of all this, it is possible to reach a conclusion that he has the same delusional disorder, including paranoid psychosis. The manual confirms Trevor’s diagnosis because his delusions exist for more than a month. Also, Trevor’s state is generated not by mood issues or drug addiction. The film has many scenes that prove Trevor’s diagnosis. For instance, there is a scene when Trevor realizes that another worker at the factory, Ivan, is a product of his imagination. Another depressive episode shows Trevor’s “weird” state of mind on the basis of chronic anorexia due to sleepless nights. The illness was progressing since Trevor got to the traumatic event, which provoked feelings of guilt.

Taking into account the symptoms of two characters, it should be mentioned that their diagnosis seems justified. There are enough reasons to confirm it. If I were a therapist of either Teddy or Trevor, it will not be difficult for me to see the illness clearly. I will be definitely certain about it in both cases without any hesitations and doubts. It will simply take time to be completely sure. Both Teddy and Trevor’s cases require to discover, first, the core cause that provoked the illness. In Teddy’s case, it is the participation in World War II and murder of his wife (after she killed their children). Looking through Trevor’s case, it is also the accident, connected with the child’s death. Thus, each illness is based on trying to repress the painful memories.

Considering the Teddy’s symptoms in Shutter Island, there is a probability that the case seems strange to the ordinary watchers. Actually, the diagnosis is believable on the spot to the people, who do not understand psychotic and psychological disorders. Anyway, the mixed delusions type appears in the forms of Teddy’s beliefs. He thinks that he is a privileged marshal during investigation at the hospital. He also feels that he does not get simple painkillers medications, thus suspecting that even cigarettes are full of drugs to make him powerless. The Trevor’s case is clearer, comparing with the previous one: a traumatic experience that involved death, difficulties with sleeping, and interactions with imagined people. However, Reznik meets ordinary people as a normal and healthy person. Two illness pictures look similar to a certain degree, but there are slight differences. The first case seems more complicated and realistic. However, the second case is a little bit another presentation of the health problem.

Each of two characters definitely needs treatment since they got a serious illness. From the beginning, Trevor does not receive any treatment. If I treated him, I would use a cognitive-behavioral approach combined with relevant drugs such as SSRI to refresh his mind, beat depression, and return good sleep Fortunately, Teddy Daniels receive treatment that includes middle-effective psychotherapy with medications. Assuming the medical treatment, there can be anti-psychotics such as Clomipramine or another kind of antidepressants. This treatment is right., but there is a critical requirement to provide individualized treatment for the patients with the mental disorders.

In my opinion, each of the films has represented illness in a good way. In general, both pictures are partly distorted. Mental illness in Shutter Island was shown as a solvable problem. There is treatment, probably with particular progress. It seems that hospital’s staff aggregate enough power to help Teddy. Considering the Trevor’s image, it is less positive. There exists negative perception of the character, including pressure and rejection because of his mental disorder. However, Trevor is a strong man, and he bears his hardships with head held high.

Analyzing the mental illness in the considered films, the conclusion is that these films belong to the A-list, and my rate is perfect. Despite the illness theme, there is a remarkable play of actors along with the breathtaking scenario. Returning to the topic of mental disorders, there are notes regarding approach to treatment. There should be solid treatment after determining the core cause of disorder with its further therapy. The delusions do not mean that a sick person cannot have a fruitful life. Today the medicine is on a very high level, and there is inexhaustible number of opportunities to save lives and provide people with happy life.

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