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Mental Illnesses on Movies

Movie attractions about mental illnesses

Recently I wrote about the premiere of a new movie, Mania Days, which stars Katie Holmes and is based on the life of the author who has Bipolar disorder.  One of our Facebook friends asked where it could be seen.

Well, the answer, in short, is “not yet”.  It is an independent film and caught my eye because it premiered in Austin TX, near where Old Fox MovietoneI live. Unfortunately, no matter how good it is, it won’t be released on the “big screen” until the writer/director/producer has an offer from a large movie production company – for a lot of money.

He may get one of those offers at upcoming independent film festivals, and the prospects look good as the film has received positive reviews.  It is likely that no matter how good the film is, we won’t see it in theaters for several months, if not longer. (It will probably be available on DVD though)

Sorry if it was a big tease.  In any case, it got me thinking that there are some well-known and available movies that you can see.  Maybe you have seen them, but you probably haven’t seen all or even most of them.

The good news is that since mental disorders tend to produce notable or even outrageous and shocking behaviors, they do make good subjects for movies.  This list is only a few of the movies that I have seen – and in many of them, there is no clear “diagnosis” for the characters but the symptoms are there.

Borderline Personality Disorder

Most of the films that feature characters that may have borderline personality disorder focus on murderous women.  Certainly BPD doesn’t only affect females but it does make good movie fodder.

•    Fatal Attraction
•    Single White Female
•    Casino
•    The Cable Guy
•    Margot at the Wedding
•    The Crush

Anxiety Disorders –

Anxiety disorders are harder to see in a movie as a single issue as they often occur with other disorders – as they do in real life.

•    Ordinary People
•    Parenthood

Social Anxiety Disorder

Can result in avoiding being in public, speech disorders and fears of other social situations.

•    The Kings Speech

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

OCD is a real problem, but many people don’t realize how debilitating it can be.  In addition, it is also an anxiety disorder but doesn’t show as well on the screen.

•    The Aviator
•    As good as it gets

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

PTSD often follows a “war” event – but can follow other traumatic events. In most cases, these events are “acute” but in some cases they are chronic, occurring over a period of many years.

•    Prince of Tides
•    Forrest Gump
•    Born on the Fourth of July
•    First Blood
•    Sudden Impact
•    Reign Over Me
•    The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Autism

There is really only one good example that I know of – and it is a classic.  That said, it is not an exact example as Autism is a “spectrum disorder” that ranges from high-functioning to non-functioning.

•    Rain Man
•    The Boy Who Could Fly

Bipolar Disorder

There are actually a lot of movies that can be seen showing bipolar disorder though. Rarely do they discuss the actual diagnosis but here are a few good ones.

•    Mad Love
•    Blind Date
•    Michael Clayton
•    Manic
•    Of Two Minds

Clinical depression

In most cases, clinical depression doesn’t look good on a screen.  Unless the character has some other event going on, watching someone not do anything doesn’t attract movie attention.  In these cases, there were other things going on in the movie that made them interesting.

•    The Fire Within
•    Leaving Las Vegas
•    Rushmore

Silver Linings PlaybookAnd the winner for “Most Psychiatric Disorders Featured in One Movie” goes to:

•    Silver Linings Playbook
•    Girl Interrupted

Both movies show a number of intertwining psychiatric disorders including anxiety, depression, borderline personality disorder, bipolar disorder, and eating disorder, are great films and two you really shouldn’t miss.

Most of these movies should be available on DVD.

Melissa Lind

List of films featuring mental disorders

Teenager Depression and Moodiness

Don`t confuse moodiness with depression

These days, we recognize more and more that the pressures put on our children do indeed bring on depression. There was a time that if a teenager — or an adult for that matter — suffered from depression, it was kept silent, and only certain members of the family were aware of the problem (if they were aware at all).

Today, that is no longer the case. There has been so much research done in the area of depression that it is now an “open” topic. Thankfully, teenagers are more aware that they are not alone with their feelings or problems and that help is available.

Depressed Young Girl with HangoverTeenagers are often moody. That is a natural part of being a teenager, and it is caused by the chemical changes in the brain as they go through puberty. However, moodiness should not be confused with depression — and vice versa.

The symptoms of depression in teenagers include:

•    Irritability anger or hostility
•    Tearfulness
•    Crying
•    Withdrawal from friends, family, and usual activities
•    Sadness or hopelessness
•    Changes in sleeping patterns
•    Changes in appetite
•    Agitation
•    Restlessness
•    Lack of motivation
•    Fatigue
•    Difficulty focusing
•    Difficulty making decisions
•    Thoughts of suicide and increased thoughts of death in general

Teenager Depression SpecialistAside from these general symptoms of depression, one must be aware that teenagers express their feelings in ways that are different than most adults. For example, your child may start experiencing problems at school, run away from home, start experimenting with and abusing drugs or alcohol, develop an eating disorder, become addicted to the Internet, injure themselves on purpose, become violent, have a general reckless behavior, or attempt suicide.

Treatment for a depressed teen starts at home, where the parents need to discover whether the child is depressed or not or whether something else may be causing the problem.

It is important that your teen understands that he or she is loved and accepted and that you are there for them. An appointment with a family doctor is needed, and he or she will most likely point you to a specialist that is qualified to deal with teenagers depression.

A specialist is best-qualified to deal with teenager depression