Characters With Psychological Disorders: Adrian Monk and Dr. Gregory House

Characters With Psychological Disorders: Adrian Monk and Dr. Gregory House

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It seems recently that the entertainment industry has provided America with authentic portrayals of characters that are suffering with psychological disorders. At first glance these characters seem to depict the disorders they are given in a somewhat realistic light. At closer examination though, the truth of the seriousness of these disorders seems minimalized and at times even glorified. Two characters that come to mind are Adrian Monk, of the USA network show Monk, and Dr. Gregory House of the Fox TV show House.
Adrian Monk was brought to life by actor Tony Shaloub, and was a funny and enjoyable detective show, which has now ended after eight successful seasons. Adrian Monk is a very likeable “Colomboesque” detective who was suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. The storyline shows Monk as a former police detective who suffered from OCD throughout his life, but upon the murder of his wife, Trudy, found himself unable to properly function in society, especially in regard to his employment with the police department. The show depicts Monk working through his OCD with the help of a full-time nurse/assistant and also with the help of a therapist. Having so much help in dealing with his disorder is not very realistic to begin with! I don’t know many people that can afford to hire a full time nurse assistant and have years of visits to a therapist, without the worry of insurance being cancelled (they did address the insurance topic at one point in the show, during the eighth and final season). Monk exhibits many of the commonly known OCD behaviors such as his hand washing rituals, doing daily activities in a strict pre-established sequence, having items in his home organized in one specific way and never deviatin...

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...s and the response of the people around them seems to be trivialized and sometimes even glorified. In the case of Adrian Monk, his Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder was often depicted as a funny little idiosyncrasy, annoying at worst, and only rarely shown as something that was bringing misery to the character’s life. In the case of Dr. Gregory House, his Antisocial Personality Disorder is depicted as a side-effect of his brilliant mind or an annoying, if rude, personality quirk, and sometimes even dismissed as an effect of his addiction instead of the psychological disorder that it truly seems to be. It seems as though the entertainment industry is more willing to take risks with flawed characters headlining shows, however, as is often the case on TV and in the movies, it still doesn’t truly depict the world as it truly is for people suffering from these disorders.

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