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Introducing the Celebrity
Dorothy Dandridge was a famous African American singer and actress. She was the first African American who was nominated for Oscar as the best actress. She performed many roles, but she is most known for role in the movie Carmen Jones (Mills 15).
Identifying the Symptoms
Dorothy had severe nervous disorders because of being subjected to physical and sexual abuse in her childhood by her mother’s partner Geneva Williams. Her miserable childhood, failed personal relationships, pitfalls in her career, as well as personal struggles with depression after two unsuccessful marriages left its imprint on all her mental health (Introducing Dorothy Dandridge). Her first married to Harold Nicholas, the father of her mentally retarded daughter Suzanne Nicholas.
They later divorced because of the difficult relationships that worsen after they found out that their child is seriously ill. The second marriage with Jack Denison, but they soon divorced because of financial problems and domestic violence. She began to use antidepressants and alcohol to suppress her fears and frustration. Feeling depressed and desperate, Dorothy Dandridge suffered from unfulfilled roles in her life – as a mother, and a wife.
There were occasions when she felt absolutely depressed because of her battle with her insecurity. Because of such anxieties, the actress seemed to experience physical illness during her performances (Introducing Dorothy Dandridge). A range of hardships Dandridge had to encounter nervous breakdowns which turned into her extreme addiction to alcohol. To relief her emotional pain and despair, her mental and physical state worsened, leading to death as a result of drug overdose.
Summarizing the Main Criteria of the Disorder
The research has shown that major depression disorder is marked by depressed mood, particular the evident feelings of emptiness and sadness, lack of interest in the daily activities that would be enjoyed, sleep difficulties, reduced energy level, lack of concentration and attention, and suicidal intentions (Major Depressive Disorder).
While presenting the environmental factors influencing the development of the disorder, one should mention such issues as job difficulties, lack of support, financial struggles. All these factors can significantly worsen the symptoms, as well as act as the actual symptoms as well. In addition, personal factors can also trigger the development of mental disorders including physical, sexual, and emotional abuse.
Findings and Conclusions
An analysis of the patient’s symptoms, as well as an overview of the criteria for the major depressive disorders, has revealed that the actress had relevant symptoms defining her mental disease. It can be assumed that Dandridge had difficult childhood because of suffering from sexual, physical, and emotional abuse which led to problems in her personal life. She had problems with intimacy because of the sexual assaults of her mother’s lesbian partner, which led to two failed marriages.
She could not fulfill herself as a mother and a wife. Because Dorothy was reluctant to have her daughter institutionalized, the first husband left her, as it has been presented in the movie (Introducing Dorothy Dandridge). Therefore, the second unsuccessful marriage was followed by substance abuse and frequent nervous breakdowns. She had problems with her recognition in professional spheres because of existing racial stereotypes at that time, because she was the first African American nominated for Oscar.
Social environment has also negatively contributed to the actress’s overall psychological state. She was withdrawn for the leading roles in the movie and her affair with Otto Preminger also failed after the filming of Carmen Jones ended Disappointment in the surrounding people and reluctance to resist to negative setting she was involved in was also among the major causes of mental frustrations.
In this respect, the symptoms conform to the ones represented in the DSM description. Biological, social, and environmental factors contributed to the development of the mental disorder and frequent nervous breakdowns.
Introducing Dorothy Dandridge. Ex. Producer Martha Coolidge. Los Angeles: City Entertainment, 2003. DVD.
Major Depressive Disorder. The Virtual Psychology Classroom. 2003. Web. http://allpsych.com/disorders/mood/majordepression/
Mills, Earl. Dorothy Dandridge: An Intimate Biography. US: Holloway House Publishing, 1999. Print.