Girl, Interrupted is a movie that shows the story of teenage girls that have various mental disorders. Their problems have led them to hospitalization at a psychiatric clinic. Susanna is a protagonist on whom the film is mainly focused. During the narration, she meets many characters, and Daisy Randone is among them. Daisy is a young female suffering from eating and mood disorders, which is evident from many scenes. She is a significant but considerably devastating person in the movie. Randone is admitted to the mentioned hospital on a seasonal basis – from Thanksgiving to Christmas annually (Mangold, 1999). Below, the peculiarities of Daisy’s mental state, the related symptoms, and personal reflections and assumptions in this regard will be provided.
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Description of the Symptoms
During the plot, there are a plethora of opportunities to get acquainted with Daisy’s mental state peculiarities through the lens of symptoms. Her first appearance takes place when Susanne is called to get her drugs. Randone is standing close to the drug dispensing point, waiting for her turn. When the nurse does not give them the drugs she wants, Daisy insists, but after the refusal, becomes angry.
In the following scene with Daisy, Susanne knocks on the door to Randone’s room to offer her the drugs Daisy wanted. Before knowing Susanne’s intentions, she replied in a rough manner to this unexpected visitor and tried to send her off using swear words. Nevertheless, after Susanne clarified, “I’ve got what you need,” Randone calmly opened the door and let her in, as well as started a peaceful conversation. It should be noted that there were a number of other symptoms in addition to the depicted mood changes in this scene. Daisy was sitting on the bed and eating a fried chicken that her dad had brought to her. She was not doing this in the common dining room, which implies her alienation from society. It is also evident from her absence in many events in which many other characters took part.
At this point, “the chicken issue” should be explained in more detail as it seems to be crucial for the following section on diagnosing particular disorders. Under Daisy’s bed, Lisa found many remains of the fried chickens. Given the fact that Randone does not reveal her obsession with this dish by proudly claiming that her dad owns a café that produces these chickens, Daisy has some issues with her weight. Moreover, Daisy says that she “throughs up” if taking any other food. Then, Randone does not control her speech at times – Daisy accidentally says “chicken” instead of “kitchen” without recognizing this mistake. Finally, she is addicted to laxatives, which indicates her notable concern about weight because she tries to control it in such an inappropriate way.
After Randone leaves the clinic, we meet her again in her new “bought-by-dad” cozy home during the escape of Susanne and Lisa. She still seeks the drugs that Susanne offers, and Lisa finds the only food in Daisy’s fridge – the fried chickens. Lisa also shows Randone’s wrists with multiple scars – attempts to commit suicide. Here, it should be stressed that Daisy’s mood during the movie does not change significantly. She is continuously sad, her eyes are always wet, she avoids social contact, and the only one she cares about is her dad, as well as the fried chickens. After Lisa produces an abusive speech to and about Daisy, the latter takes it calmly, but her tears are dropping. By the next morning, Susanne finds Randone hanged herself.
The first disorder that is to be diagnosed refers to the group of eating disorders. Based upon what was observed – which is exhaustively presented in the section above – it could be Binge Eating Disorder or Bulimia Nervosa. Both are similar because they imply a patient who consumes food in large quantities. However, in the case of Daisy, it seems that Bulimia Nervosa is the correct diagnosis due to the following.
First, it should be admitted that these crucial criteria are met (both for Binge Eating Disorder and Bulimia Nervosa): “1. Eating, in a discrete period of time … , an amount of food that is definitely larger than what most individuals would eat in a similar period of time under similar circumstances. 2. A sense of lack of control over eating during the episode …” (APA, 2013, p. 345). However, the misuse of laxatives indicates that Daisy is considerably concerned about her weight, as well as that she is involved in inappropriate compensatory behaviors. The latter statement allows assuming that Bulimia Nervosa is the disorder from which Daisy suffers, given that these inappropriate compensatory behaviors are the specific characteristic of Bulimia Nervosa. Unfortunately, the film does not show the exact amounts of the fried chickens she consumes and the regularity of such intakes, but taking into account her obsession with this dish, the current severity is extreme.
Then, it seems apparent that Daisy suffers from a depressive disorder, and it should be specified from which one. There is a substantially difficult choice here between Major Depressive Disorder and Persistent Depressive Disorder. The latter “represents a consolidation of DSM-IV-defined chronic major depressive disorder and dysthymic disorder” (APA, 2013, p. 168). Daisy is depressed for most of the day; she overeats, has low self-esteem, has issues with social relations, and has not had any manic or hypomanic episodes. These are the foundation for the assumption that Persistent Depressive Disorder should be diagnosed, especially given that the mentioned criteria have been inherent to Daisy for more than two years (APA, 2013).
Then, the specifier should be given for Persistent Depressive Disorder. Here, the choice is between atypical features and seasonal patterns. The film shows that Daisy visits the clinic annually from Thanksgiving to Christmas. However, the scene at her new home presents that she still suffers from Bulimia Nervosa and Persistent Depressive Disorder. In turn, Randone meets the criteria of mood reactivity (when she changes her attitude towards Susanne after she offers Daisy the drugs), weight gain, and rejects interpersonal relations. Thus, Daisy seems to have Persistent Depressive Disorder with atypical features; severity – moderate-severe, given that she constantly meets four or five criteria (APA, 2013).
Although the movie does not show it directly, Daisy might be involved in intimate and incest relations with her father. Her addiction to the chickens that she associates with the dad, as well as her suicide after Lisa’s words about this intimate relationship with the father, indicate that the mentioned relations took place indeed. She understood that such a state of affairs could not be accepted by the established social norms, and she avoided being in society, but she could not do anything with these relationships because she knew no other life. This pressure resulted in depression, and her inappropriate relations with her father were reflected in “the chicken issue.”
The crucial ethical/legal issue here is the information regarding the possible incest relations. The physician cannot report this fact to the corresponding instances due to the client’s privacy, but he or she can push the patient to perceive the situation appropriately and take the related measures. Another ethical consideration is that the patient’s problems with weight should be treated delicately, respecting her right to be what she wants to be in this regard but still delivering the idea of causing no harm to health.
According to APA (2013), Surveys of major depressive disorder across diverse cultures have shown sevenfold differences in 12-month prevalence rates… and the degree to which the presence of the disorder raises the likelihood of comorbid substance abuse (p. 166). Hence, Daisy’s individual cultural peculiarities should be taken into account as this comorbid substance abuse may be a great issue, given her actual addiction to laxatives. Her value system is to be respected; however, I should show what aspects of this system might be corrected.
Overall, the film precisely depicts the features of the diagnoses that are inherent to Daisy Randone. It is evident from the above discussion because all the necessary symptoms were identified, as well as the possible causes. Moreover, according to APA (2013), Bulimia Nervosa and various types of depression significantly correlate, which is another notable aspect of Daisy’s mental disorders in the movie. Nevertheless, there are some issues with the depiction of the other characters’ diseases, but this is out of this paper’s scope.
The essential skill that was gained during the case study is the critical evaluation of symptoms that a patient has. Through the lens of appropriate background provided by the American Psychiatric Association, the vital provisions regarding eating and mood disorders were learned. Now, I might claim that I can apply the gained knowledge in practice, given the experience that was obtained while analyzing Girl, Interrupted within the theme’s framework.
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APA. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). American Psychiatric Publishing.
Mangold, J. (1999). Girl, Interrupted [Film]. Columbia Pictures.