We begin our discussion exploring the hypothesis that disorders are as or more prevalent than in earlier periods. Mood disorders are disturbances of affect (emotion). In major depressive disorder, individuals experience a long lasting depressed mood that interferes with their ability to function, feel pleasure or maintain interest in life. The feelings have no apparent cause, and the individual may lose contact with reality (psychosis). In bipolar disorder, episodes of mania and depression alternate with normal periods. During the manic episode, the person is overly excited, his or her speech and thinking are rapid, and poor judgement is common. The person also may experience delusions of grandeur and act impulsively.
Question 1) Despite the best efforts of psychologists, psychiatrists, and medical researchers, psychological disorders appear to be as prevalent today as they ever were—if not more so. What might be the cause of this phenomenon? Inadequate genetic makeup? Inadequate parenting? Inadequate social structures? What is different in our culture today than in previous generations? Please provide support for your opinion.
Some of Hollywood’s most popular and influential films are steeped in depicting the plight of the mentally ill and their treatment. Now, consider how people with mental illness are generally portrayed in the movies… They are either cruel, sociopathic criminals (Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs) or helpless, innocent victims (Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Angelina Jolie in Changeling). Likewise popular films about mental illness often feature mad doctors, heartless nurses, and brutal treatment methods. Although these portrayals may boost movie ticket sales, they also perpetuate harmful stereotypes.
Question2)At some point in your life you may think you need therapy. At some point in your life you may think a co-worker or a family member needs therapy. Should you find yourself in that situation, which type of therapy would you recommend for another person or yourself: psychoanalysis, cognitive, humanistic, group, behavioral, or biomedical (medication and/or surgery)? Why? (If you would recommend no treatment for yourself or a coworker, please explain your rationale for doing that.)