Psychopathology in the Movies

The Aviator focuses on Howard Hughes life from the sass’s to sass’s. After his father’s death, Hughes inherits the small family fortune and moves to Los Angels to become a film Director in Hollywood. His movie Hell’s Angels, a huge film success, takes three years and a large sum of money for him to finish with a change from silent to sound. When he becomes romantically involved with Katharine Hepburn, she helps Hughes alleviate his symptoms of COD. Even in the movie, his passion for aviation maintains constant throughout his life, as he designs new planes, sets flying records and flies around the world.

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His COD symptoms worsen especially after an aircraft crash that causes him severe injuries. Hughes founded his own airline, Trans-World Airlines, his ideas creating a huge success as well as gaining many enemies like his rival Jon Tripper, the head of Pan American Airlines and Senator Brewster. Senator Brewster tries to prove that Hughes is using his plane designs to earn money through government contracts. Hughes successfully counter attacks Brewster accusations and continues on his projects. However, the movie ends with Howard relapsing into an extremely severe state of COD. . Diagnosis: a) In the movie The Aviator, the main character Howard Hughes suffers from a mental illness called Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or COD. Hughes declining mental health is only hinted at in the beginning of the movie, but it gradually worsens. His symptoms consume him when he goes through periods of high emotional stress and is usually able to snap out of it, except at the end of the movie where the audience sees that Hughes mental condition has considerably worsened and will continue to do so in his life.

Hughes has obsessions and compulsions about repeating phrases, washing his hands, the need to have things in order, etc. These symptoms affect his daily life and consume his actions. (b) The American Psychiatric Publishing (2011) describes compulsions by having “repetitive behaviors (hand washing and ordering) or mental acts (repeating words) that you feel driven to perform” and that obsessions “cause marked anxiety or distress” and tend to revolve around “repeated thoughts about contamination, repeated doubts, a need to have things in a particular order”.

Throughout the movie, Hughes presents all of these symptoms. A major storyline is Hughes obsession with contamination and making sure things stay clean. One of the first examples in the movie is when he requests a bottle of mild, unopened and wipes his hands clean. In addition, when he is in his screening room watching Hell’s Angels, he holds his hands up to the projector light, afraid that they are not clean enough because he scratched the chair in front of him. During the premiere of his movie Hell’s Angels, he is distressed by the proximity of the crowd as well as the photographers.

The constant flashing of the bulbs and stepping on the broken bulbs unnerves him, but he does not react yet to these stresses. Howard also fears contagion from sharing his food and from other people. In a bathroom scene, Howard uses his own soap to wash his hands and sees a man behind him on wash his hands except when the man asks him to pass a towel. Although Howard feels guilty about it as he says, “l really can’t do that. I’m sorry’ (The Aviator) clearly offending the man. Carney and Truly (2012) state that, “The person recognizes that the obsessions or compulsions are excessive or unreasonable” (p. 09). Hughes obviously regrets his decision, but his COD overpowers his ability to do otherwise. Hoard’s mental condition begins to decline and his COD significantly impairs his ability to function or socialize. For three months, Howard secludes himself in his screening room, avoiding the outside because it is filled with germs. In addition, he seldom lets people in, and only under strict guidelines that they do not touch him or the food he ate. While Hughes believes himself to be in a clean place, for those three months he did not bathe himself.

Then when he finally leaves the room, his house is separated into “germ free zones” (The Aviator). One of Hoard’s compulsions is to wash frequently, is dramatically displayed when he scrubs his hands so hard that he rows blood, which is a common compulsion that many suffer from COD. One of Hoard’s obsessions is his need to have things in order. This is first exhibited when he demands that the rivets of his plan be flush to prevent maximum wind resistance and another example is when he requests cookies, “l want ten chocolate chip cookies, alright.

Medium chips, none too close to the outside” (The Aviator). A main symptom of Hughes COD is his tendency to repeat phrases and gradually becomes harder for him to suppress. At the very end of the movie, Howard is trying to control his compulsive affinity to repeat but fails miserably. C) The assessment of a multi-axial diagnosis of Howard Hughes was from the end of the movie. On Axis l, Howard Hughes was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, which was argued for in the previous section.

However, a secondary diagnosis could conclude that Howard may be combine with Major Depressive Episode. When Hughes shuts himself away for three months, he falls into a deep depression. Howard is intelligent enough to engineer aircrafts and airplanes, so it is clear that he is not mentally retarded. However, Howard presents symptoms for Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder (COOP). In the movie, Howard crashes an aircraft after one of the engines malfunction. From the success of his movies, Howard was wealthy and did not have to worry about any economic situations.

However, his relationships with Katherine and VA caused him stressed as well as his rivalry with Juan Tripper. Hughes levels of functioning at the beginning of the movie was only affected slightly by his symptoms of COD. He was able to function normally until his stresses caused him to breakdown where he did not maintain his personal hygiene and he refused to leave his house. Axis l: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (primary); Major Depressive Episode (secondary) Axis II: Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder Axis Ill: Aircraft crash causes severe injuries Axis lb.

Problems with relationships; Occupational problems Axis V: GAFF Score = 71-80 (beginning); GAFF score = 11-20 (end) (e) Two alternative diagnoses for Howard could be Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder (COOP) and Paranoid Personality Disorder (PDP). His COD symptoms are very similar to COOP, in that he always wants to maintain in control and is preoccupied with orderliness, detail and rules. The planes that he designs must be perfect, and cause of that, it takes him a very long time to complete his projects, if he even gets to finish them.

Howard focuses on the minutest details, such as how flush the rivets are on a plane, if there are clouds in the background of his movie so that the audience can see how fast the planes are flying, etc. His first movie took two years to complete and it cost him an exuberant amount of money. Then, when a sound film was released at the same time, Hughes spent another year and more money to change his film from silent to sound. Howard is very successful at his career but suffers with his relationships. This is what causes his symptoms of PDP.

After his first relationship with Katherine Hepburn, his trust was broken after she leaves him. He burns all of his clothes and calls Noah to get him new clothes. However, his paranoia is high and he asks Noah if he is recording their conversation. Noah denies it and Howard says, “l trust you” (The Aviator) but there is doubt in his voice. Another example of his paranoia is when he plants microphones and phone taps VA Gardener’s house, his current lover, to keep track of her. 3. Etiology: At ten years old, Hughes is being washed by his mother as he is spelling he word “quarantine” (The Aviator).

His mother warns him of diseases and firmly states, muff are not safe” (The Aviator). One etiology that can explain Hughes symptoms is Family Factors. As a young child, his mother instilled his fear of germs and disease. She was overprotective of Hughes and therefore rewarded his anxiety of contamination and encouraged it. In fact, it was likely that his mother modeled anxiety’s behavior in front of him, causing him to display this behavior as well. Another etiology that may have caused Hughes COD is Neurological Features.

In he brain, neurotransmitters can alter the mood and behavior a person exhibits due to Neurological changes. The Neurotransmitter most closely linked to COD is serotonin. Carney and Truly (2012) state that serotonin affects “mood and motor behavior” and is “related to depression” which can explain “the high Commodity between anxiety and depression” (p. 118). These Neurological changes could have caused the eccentric behavior Hughes portrayed leading to his abnormal behaviors. In addition, these changes could have caused the depressive episode when his COD symptoms become extremely difficult o deal with. . Treatment: Since Howard Hughes is never officially diagnosed with COD, he never went through treatment for his disorder. However, two possible treatments for this disorder are Controversialists Therapy in conjunction with medication. If a doctor prescribed Approach, which is an antidepressant, it would moderate the levels of serotonin in the brain. Carney and Truly (2012) state that “serotonin levels are not always well regulated in people with anxiety disorders, so antidepressants drugs are often used to treat people with obsessive-compulsive disorder” (p. 129).

While medication is very effective, those who have very severe disorders that are combine with other disorders require more than medication, as it Therapy (CB) for obsessive-compulsive disorder (COD) involves two components: Exposure and Response Prevention and Cognitive Therapy’. The person would be exposed to their obsession but must not be allowed to engage in their compulsion. Instantly, the person’s anxiety levels would be high, but over time, the anxiety levels would decrease until the person does not act out their compulsion and the negative thoughts cease. Both Brinkmanship. Mom (2011) and the International COD Foundation 2010) claim that CB and Exposure-Response Prevention Therapy is the most successful therapy for COD, saying that they are successful about 80% of the time in reducing the obsessions and compulsions from COD. The medication prescribed, Approach, would help alleviate Hughes depressive symptoms. After treatment from CB, Hughes would be able to wash his hands with the soap found in the bathroom and not use one of the towels to open the door, because he would not fear of contamination. Hoard’s need for things to be orderly would decrease.

While it would still be effective for his engineering of planes, his need to have twelve peas n a plate, in three successive rows or ten cookies with medium chocolate chips would subside. In addition, his paranoia would also decrease allowing him to have normal relationships with his lovers and his friends. 5. Consumer Considerations: In the movie The Aviator, Howard Hughes never receives treatment for his mental disorder, COD. Due to the competition between Hughes and Tripper, Senator Brewster orders the FBI to investigate Hoard’s house, due to fraud charges that he is profiting from the war.

The FBI investigators track dirt all over the house and touch all of his Hoard’s possessions. This incident causes him severe psychological trauma. Senator Brewster tells Hughes that he will drop the charges against him if he agrees to sell TWA to him and support Brewster Commercial Airline Bill. When Hughes refuses, he is sent into a deep depression. After 3 months, Gardner visits and grooms him so that he can stand trial before the Senate. Fortunately, Howard wins the trial. Both parties were completely aware of Hughes mental condition, but they continued to stand trial.

This issue is unethical; Hughes should have had to undergo a thorough mental assessment to determine his competency to stand trial, which is “whether a person can participate meaningfully in his own defense and can understand and appreciate the legal process” (Carney and Truly, 2012, p. 462). While Hughes won his trial and was dismissed of all charges after defending himself, he could have been punished for a crime he did not commit. 6. Stigma: Leonardo Didactic did a very good Job portraying Howard Hughes in the Aviator.

There were not any inaccuracies in the portrayal of Hughes symptoms of COD. However, Hughes never received treatment for his mental illness. The public arterial of his mental illness in the movie can be seen in a few ways. After his successful movie premieres, his lover Katherine Hepburn tells Howard that the public is very Judgmental, “Howard, we’re not like everyone else, too many acute angles, too many eccentricities. We have to be very careful not to let people in or they’ll make us into freaks” (The Aviator). In return, Howard tells her, “They can’t get in here, we’re safe” (The Aviator).

However, Kate knows that is not true COD, throughout the movie, he is tagged with several terms that are offensive or such as “eccentric”, “lunatic” and “demented”. During a scene with Kate, he confesses to her that he is worried and fears that he may be losing his mind. In the movie, it also portrays how people try to exploit Hoard’s mental illness. Tripper, refuses to let Hughes get the better of him, “I’ve heard some disquieting rumors about Mr….. Hughes. I’d like to know everything there is to know about Mr….. Hughes” (The Aviator).

The FBI appears at his house under orders from Senator Brewster to touch everything. At a lunch meeting, Brewster leaves a fingerprint on Hughes glass and serves him not fully cooked fish Just to screw with his mind. Through all of events, Brewster is trying o derail Hughes, in hopes that Hughes will sell him TWA. After the FBI searches his house, Hughes becomes depressed and shuts himself in his screening room. His fear of germs escalates, and Hughes becomes extremely paranoid and detached from reality, at one point peeing into several empty milk bottles.

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