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Analysis of Mental Illness via Girl, Interrupted (1999)

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Psychology
Wordcount: 1690 words Published: 19th Jul 2021

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In the movie, Susanna (Winona Ryder) is diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. Susanna bonds with a few different patients, including Lisa (Angelina Jolie) with sociopathic personality disorder, Daisy; Bulimia, Georgina; pathological liar and Janet as Anorexic. Susanna starts to work harder with her specialist (Vanessa Redgrave) and the medical attendant on the ward (Whoopi Goldberg). Girl, Interrupted was focused around the collection of memoirs of Susanna Kaysen, who truly did put in eighteen months a Psychiatric Hospital (Mangold,1999).

DSM-V Diagnosis Criteria & Consistency

Borderline Personality Disorder is defined as a pervasive example of precariousness of interpersonal connections, mental self view, influences, and checked impulsivity, starting by ahead of schedule adulthood and present in a mixed bag of settings as showed by 5 or a greater amount of the following; (a) Distraught endeavors to stay away from genuine or envisioned relinquishment,(b) An example of temperamental and extraordinary interpersonal connections portrayed by exchanging between extremes of admiration and cheapening, (c ) Personality aggravations: especially and diligently instable mental self view or feeling of self,(d) Impulsivity in no less than two zones that are possibly self harming,(e) Repetitive self-destructive conduct, signals, or dangers or self ruining conduct,(f) Full of feeling flimsiness because of a stamped reactivity of mind-set,(g)Chronic sentiments of vacancy,(h)Inappropriate, serious outrage or trouble controlling annoyance, and (i)Transparent, anxiety related jumpy ideation or serious dissociative indications (American Psychiatric Association,2013).

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The first criteria for BPD in Girl, Interrupted, was having self-destructive contemplations and doing things to help a conceivable suicide by endeavoring what Susanna called an “impotent endeavor” to murder herself by taking a dose of aspirin with vodka. At the point when the attendant attempted to hold her she says to be watchful in light of the fact that she has no bones in her grasp. Later on, the advisor asks her the means by which she got the container of Aspirin in the event that she had no bones in her grasp, she reacts saying “then they’d return (Mangold, 1999).

The second criterion was incurring damage on the body by cutting or wounding. After she endeavored suicide, she was hurried to the crisis room, and the cam point changed from everyone wildly moving around to help to her wrists. She had wounds everywhere on her wrists and she continued telling the specialists she didn’t have any bones in her grasp (Mangold, 1999).

The third criterion was Susanna’s endeavors to stay in the connections to abstain from feeling relinquished. At the center of the film, she has a flashback of the illicit relationship she had with one of the instructors and with a fellow that she met after her secondary school graduation. In both cases, she was having hazardous sex and staying in the connections with the goal that she felt needed and cherished, and not dismisses (Mangold, 1999).

The fourth criteria was filling the void that was generally felt by doing something she knew wasn’t correct yet provided for her rush. Susanna felt as though nothing was going how she needed it and she was the main individual feeling that way. In the film, Susanna and Lisa, a young lady in the organization, chose to escape the foundation and go on an excursion to visit an alternate young lady that had been there with them, Polly. Both of them knew they could cause harm, yet the proceeded at any rate (Mangold, 1999).

The fifth criterion was the point at which she encountered a shift in temperaments and felt like she had no feeling of herself whatsoever. Around the end of the film, there was a period Susanna was persuaded she wasn’t going to improve and she got preventive over what Dr. Wick was letting her know about her analysis. She proceeded and expressed how “she couldn’t have cared less” and her new most loved word to portray herself was conflicted in light of the fact that she said it implied she couldn’t have cared less any longer and she was going to do whatever she felt was correct (Mangold, 1999).

We believe Susanna created these examples all the more in adulthood, yet everything originated from her youth occasions and they are reliably demonstrated in the motion picture concerning the indications of BPD in DSM V; in any case, at one purpose of the film, her sweetheart comes and says that she is not insane and that she doesn’t have a place there. She then says, “Yet I attempted to execute myself”. This shows how she has disguised what had persistently been tossed at her. He tries to persuade her to flee with him to Canada, however shockingly she says she has companions here and that she herself is crazy. As per Comer, 2010, one of the characteristics of people experiencing BPD is that sentimental sentiments seeing someone are not generally shared. However in the motion picture, in spite of her refusal to flee with him, their shared adoration stays in place, in this manner demonstrating a conflict with the DSM-V as of right now (Mangold, 1999).

After a long discussion with the office head, Susanna gets more disappointed in view of what she says and takes a great deal of pills. The following morning she experiences difficulty awakening the superintendent acknowledges what has happened and completes her of quaint little inn her in the shower tub to wake her up. She has a fit, and gets to be exceptionally indiscreet. The superintendent tries to clarify to her that she is not insane and that she is simply a “lethargic, liberal young lady who is making herself insane” (Mangold, 1999).

The following morning Susanna finds that Daisy had submitted suicide by hanging herself and she calls the police and is taken again to the clinic while Lisa vanishes. At the clinic she has a discussion with her Doctor where she says that she wished she could have done something to help Daisy. She additionally states, “I’ll never know what it’s like to be her but I know what it’s like to want to die, how it hurts to smile, how you try to fit in and you can’t, how you hurt yourself on the outside and try to kill the thing on the inside” (Mangold, 1999).

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There are a few distinctive perspectives on how an individual like Susanna could have created BPD. One view that scholars have, is that an early absence of acknowledgement by parents may prompt a loss of respect toward oneself, expanded reliance and a failure to adapt to division (Comer, 2010). In the motion picture, Susanna’s mother made a remark on when Susanna was an infant, she was transforming her diaper and she turned around for a part second and that was when Susanna moved off the quaint little inn her leg. She said the specialist place Susanna in a full body cast and her guardians went on a 4,000 mile outing with Susanna locked in the rearward sitting arrangement in the body cast (Mangold, 1999).

Cultural Differences

In a collectivist society like Sri Lanka, close family relatives would be exceedingly concerned if an individual showed such feelings or practices. They would be extremely terrified and attempt to do whatever they can, striving to help them. It would not be a theme that would be talked among each other individual, presumably just close relatives and companions. Once an individual has been diagnosed and at last cured, the enduring impression would not be of the said individual being totally recouped. They would presumably still expect or think at the once again of their brain that they are not totally cured or may tend to backslide. Notwithstanding they would at present be extremely steady as it is in their tendency to be so. These relatives and family would likewise feel that an individual being diagnosed with a certain issue is because of the “Karma” which is the where their circumstance is ascribed to sins of the past births.

Some parents of family members are regularly embarrassed to concede that their youngster is having BPD disorder. They attempt to lock their youngsters in a room in order to prevent embarrassment from the society. In the event that the kid does not so much succeed then the youngster is censured, debased or rebuffed, which may influence the kid’s self regard and trust in a radical manner. One of the principle purposes behind this is on the grounds that the absence of mindfulness about the issue accordingly there is a probability, where the perspective towards the kids and the issue of BPD may slowly change in the promising new years.


To sum up, the movie indicates how the emotional sickness had a huge effect on Susanna as it demonstrates how she would holler insanely in the night and be extremely befuddled since she didn’t recognize what wasn’t right with her or felt caught on the grounds that she felt that nothing really wasn’t right with her (Mangold, 1999). We personally think she would have gotten better if she was simply at home, while being given personal treatment and care without confining her to a setting that induced, provoked or aggravated her disorder or she could have been given the dialectical behavior therapy which most clinical today utilize this therapy method.


American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual Of Mental Disorders: DSM V (5th ed).Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Publishers.

Comer, J.R (2010) Abnormal Psychology (7th Ed.). New York: Worth Publishers.

Wick, D., Konrad, C., (Producers). & Mangold, J. (Director). (1999) Girl, Interrupted. United States: Columbia Pictures. Retrieved from http://ffilms.org/girl-interrupted-1999/ (2014)


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