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The documentary presented by Southern Poverty Law Center (2015) is dedicated to the story of Jamie Nabozny who was bullied at school for being homosexual. The video suggests that Jamie had Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD); also, adjustment issues may be found in his story. Based on the diagnostic features that are described by the American Psychiatric Association [APA] (2013), the following aspects of Jamie’s case are noteworthy.
First, there were multiple traumatic events that Jamie had to live through as a result of his bullying. Some of the examples include name-calling, tripping, spitting; in one situation, Jamie was pissed on by another boy. Bullying can be viewed as a stressor, which means that adjustment issues could follow from it. However, Jamie was also exposed to more extreme instances of bullying. In one case, which is described during the seventh minute of the film, he was subjected to what could be considered groping. Moreover, he was beaten; one such event, which was accompanied by death threats, resulted in wounds so severe that he required surgery.
Thus, Jamie was subjected to sexual battery, injury, and life-threatening situations, which, according to APA (2013) can result in PTSD. With respect to PTSD, the film does not directly mention intrusive symptoms in Jamie, and Jamie’s insistence on leaving his school was associated with self-preservation rather than avoidance of PTSD-related stimuli. However, mood alterations were mentioned: the person who apparently diagnosed Jamie noted his depression and anxiety.
The latter may also be the film’s way of referring to arousal and reaction alterations. Moreover, APA (2013) describes suicidal and other “reckless” behaviors as an element of PTSD. Jamie attempted suicide at a very young age, and he also repeatedly run away from home. These actions can also be viewed as adjustment issues since they demonstrated the difficulty that Jamie experienced when trying to cope with the stressors of bullying; Jamie’s suicide attempt had taken place before he was subjected to the more extreme bullying.
However, the film does not present enough data for diagnosing Jamie with particular stress disorders (including PTSD, adjustment, or acute stress disorder) or for differentiating between stress and depressive or anxiety disorders. In summary, the film does not provide all the information that is necessary for a definite diagnosis, but if it specifies the correct one, the evidence that PTSD is an appropriate descriptor for Jamie’s condition can be found.
American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders; DSM-5 (5th ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Publishing.
Southern Poverty Law Center. (2015). Bullied: The Jamie Nabozny story. Web.