The Diagnostic Criteria For An Adjustment Disorder Essay

The Diagnostic Criteria For An Adjustment Disorder Essay

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To meet the diagnostic criteria for an adjustment disorder, an individual must show emotional or behavioural symptoms in response to an identifiable stressor that occur within three months after the onset of the stressor. These symptoms must be out of proportion to the severity or intensity of the stressor and must significantly impair the individual’s social or occupational functioning (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). Alex Forrest’s behaviour following the breakup with Mr. Gallagher are certain out of proportion considering it was an affair that only lasted over the course of a weekend. She becomes suicidal and violent, and even stalks Mr. Gallagher (Jaffe & Lansing, 1987). The symptoms for an adjustment disorder must not meet the criteria for another mental disorder or be the result of a stressor exacerbating an already existing condition, however (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). Ms. Forrest’s symptoms certainly meet the criteria for another psychopathological disorder, and thus the diagnosis of an adjustment disorder should not be made.
The diagnostic criteria for Antisocial Personality Disorder states that the individual must have a pattern of disregard for and violation of the right of others, indicated by at least three antisocial behaviours (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). The antisocial behaviour often begins in early adolescence or childhood and continues into their adult life (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). Alex Forrest shows a disregard for social norms by engaging in an affair with a married man, and by later stalking the same man and performing actions that would be grounds to be arrested. She kills his child’s pet rabbit, pours acid on his car, and even kidnaps his child (Jaffe ...


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...13). They may idealise a person one minute and despise them the next. An example of this “splitting” is the tape Alex leaves for Mr. Gallagher. Her words to him at the beginning of the recording make it seem like she cares deeply for him. However, as the tape continues to play, her words become harsh and antagonistic (Jaffe & Lansing, 1987).
As a result of their symptoms, individuals suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder have difficulty forming stable relationships (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). As a result of the lack of interpersonal relationships they crave, the individual may suffer from chronic feelings of emptiness (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). Alex Forrest is not shown to have any positive, stable relationships in the film. She is never shown to have any friends, and there is no mention of her family aside from her late father.

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