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Analysis of Psychopathology

This is an analysis of psychopathology as depicted in the 1988 film “Clean and Sober.”

The protagonist, Daryl comes off first as a cocaine addict. He has a good job until he wakes up next to an unconscious lady who later dies from cocaine overdose. Daryl has also embezzled company money and this, coupled with the death makes him run. He ends up in a rehabilitation center and is helped to stop using the drug. The movie scores well in portraying a substance abuse psychopath.

It is important that we first familiarize ourselves with the term psychopathology. It is the study of any illness related to the mind, this encompasses: mental distress, mental illness and abnormal or maladaptive behavior. The term psychopathology is most often used in the psychiatry field where pathology refers to an illness process or disease processes. Abnormal psychology is a similar term used more frequently in the non-medical field of psychology. In this paper, Psychopathology will be analyzed by use of a movie that depicts the protagonist, Daryl as a psychopath due to substance abuse.

The Comprehensive Assessment of the Symptoms and the history of psychopathology was developed for research studies of schizophrenia spectrumconditions. It is thus applicable to Daryl in many ways. The assessment is meant to provide an all round information base concerning currentand past signs and symptoms, cognitivefunctioning, socio demographic status, premorbid functioning, treatment, and courseof illness. Since the information base is big and dynamic in nature, the assessment is not tied to a specific system but rather allows medical professionals and investigators to make the diagnoses using a broader range of systems, they are: Research Diagnostic Criteria, DSM-III-R, DSM-III,and the International Classification of Diseases. Owing to thefact that disorders in the psychiatry field are not defined at the etiologicalor pathophysiological level, The criteria for diagnosis are prone toongoing revision as the knowledge base is improved be researchers. Research strategiesrecommend that investigators maintain a flexible database so as to be able to adapt to the changes that might occur. It is generally found that Psychopathy is a common phenomenon in society.

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In the film an assessment of Daryl shows that in terms of previous signs, it is shown that he had been an adduct for long from the way the film starts off. The current signs in the movie are hid denial, lies, personality confusion, his bad debt and the way he goes to lengths to get the drug. His cognitive functioning is very okay as Daryl apart from being a cocaine addict led an active life as a real estate sales man. Looking at the storyline, he underwent a successful treatment phase. It was as usual characterized with his denial bit at last he be come’s clean and is freed of the drug that had ruled his life. He begins a path of acceptance and that is at the end of the film he has been clean for thirty days and is awarded. In making the assessment, the cause of the illness is important. For Daryl, it is clear that he has led a normal life. He has a good job and thus we are led to believe he was if sound mind. In fact, the film goes on to show how he is an enemy to himself. He is the route cause of it all; the cause of the illness can thus be narrowed down to cocaine because he brought this drug into his life.

This is the DSM-IV diagnosis of Daryl, the protagonist. The diagnosis will feature in two parts: substance abuse and substance dependence (Hersen 2006). The first-DSM-IV Substance Abuse Criteria-will is used to see how Daryl is depicted as a psychopath.

Substance abuse can be defined as a maladaptive pattern of substance use that leads to clinically significant distress or impairment as manifested by the protagonist in the movie.

The signs should occur within the first 12 months and they are:

A recurrent use of the substance the subject is addicted to resulting in the user not fulfilling his major obligations in all fields. The fields are at home, school and the work. Such will amount to repeated absences or poor work performance related to the use of the substance; work/school suspensions, substance-related absences, it could also lead to neglect of children or the household at large).At work, Daryl is in trouble for embezzling $92000 from the company and has an addiction to cocaine.

Another sign that is well depicted by the protagonist is that there are legal problems that haunt him due to his general dependence on cocaine. He has to run from both his employers and the police as a result of his indulging in drugs. He has the death of the girl at his hands and a case to answer for using the company’s funds.

Another sign depicted by Daryl is his continued use of cocaine despite recurrent interpersonal and social problems which all arise due to cocaine dependence. Daryl has lost a significant of the real estates company money in the stocks, an addiction he will not accept and continues to spend the rest on women and cocaine.

The symptoms for abuse have never met the criteria for dependence a substance like cocaine. According to the DSM-IV, it is either person is abusing the drug or is dependent on it and not both of them at the same time. After looking at the second part of the criteria, it is clear that Daryl meets the Substance abuse level more than the dependence level. The film does not for example depict him as a withdrawn person but rather as a social person who even believes he is Gods gift to women. Daryl is thus abusing Cocaine at this level. He meets the full criteria of a drug abuser by scoring the four major signs of a drug abuser.

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The positive messages the film portrays include the protagonist trying to rectify his addiction by undergoing a therapy session, this is a very positive message to all addicts like him. It is seen when he decides to check himself into a substance dependency program, that way maybe the police won’t find him, and if his employers do find him they’ll realize he has found the error of his ways and is trying to rectify himself. Though once in rehab he runs head long into Craig (Morgan Freeman) who knows Daryl better than he knows himself. Craig has been there before and is reformed addict. It is a positive way of showing that anyone can change for the better. It also shows medical practitioners as a positive influence to their patients. Craig in portrayed as a very close person to his patients, probably because he knows what they are going through. He even orders Daryl to go to an AA (Alcohol Anonymous) meeting and find himself a “sponsor” to guide him through the recovery process.

The negative is the way the disorder takes away Daryl’s life and makes him to be on the run. One actually sympathizes with him. He goes to extents of telling his friends to send him drugs on the mail. The disorder also creates in him an egoistic manner in that he believes he us doing the right thing at all times. This goes to extents that he believes women need him as he is sent to them by God. He even instead of looking for an appropriate sponsor at the AA goes for a lady.

Cocaine has created in him a man who believes he can change himself but looking at the destruction it has caused him, there is slim chance of that happening. At first one may find the medical field as harsh to the patient. Craig, the counselor comes out as an uncompromising and strict man. Considering the patients have mental problems, this at times displays the mental health profession in a negative way.

In portraying the medical field as a solution to Daryl’s woes, the film has shown the positive side of this field. It is portrayed as a home for the lost and mentally challenged. Daryl finds refuge under the care of this institution and the changes that Craig helps him make in his life could not have been done more easily by anyone else. The Alcohol Anonymous program is also popularized as a first step in changing his life. Had it not been the help he gets from people who have been in his shoes, Daryl would probably have los his focus again. Meeting and falling in love with Charlie Standers at this program is also a massive boost to him. In her he finds romance and a person seeking the same goal, drug freedom.

The movie scores very well in showing this particular form of psychopathology. It has intertwined ideas and scenes to create a good picture of how a drug addict can be classified as a psychopath. Anyone who has watched this movie is touched by the story line as the story shifts from a cocaine addicted real estate agent to a psychopath in dire need of help before he self destructs. This is not a typical bad drug addict story. It will relate well with an audience that can perform a DSM-IV diagnosis of the protagonist. However, it does not take the mind of a scientist to realize that Daryl is suffering from a self-inflicted disease. He is over confident in whatever he does and has some very funny beliefs.

He also has an obsession for women and will lay everything down to be with a woman and he is a big liar a trait shared by many psychopaths in this field. Denial is also a part of his lifestyle. He is in denial in his mind and this translates to what he tells everyone. He believes it is only a matter of time before he can change himself on his own.

The fact that Daryl is brought out as considerate enough to have taken the girl to hospital is not typical of psychopaths. An ordinary psychopath would have made the run without worrying much about the outcome. He even chooses to join a Rehabilitation Centre that promises anonymity just to stay away from the police and his bosses. This clearly brings him out as too bright for the ordinary psychopath.

The treatment method applied by Craig is sometimes questionable. We can appreciate him for succeeding in making Daryl accept that he is an addict and that his life is in tatters. However, knowing what Daryl’s addiction has taken him through, the stern Craig should have been a bit sympathetic. A solution comes in reformed addict, Richard Dirks who manages to get him to confess to hid employers what with the money. This gets him fired, promptly.

A scene that depicts Daryl’s problematic behavior is when, in dire need of money, he calls home late in the night to tell his parents that he needs his inheritance. The scene brings him out as an addict who will go to any lengths to get money for cocaine. The scene gives the viewer an opportunity to realize that Daryl is not only an addict, but he has a mental ailment that drives him to such extents. Psychopathic behavior is well brought out here as the extents to which he goes to get money for cocaine are beyond a normal human’s.

Another scene that depicts this type of psychopathology is the scene where denial on Daryl’s side brought out. Craig, in the scene tries to get him to accept the fact that he is an addict in vain. In fact, he even comes out as an offended counselor in the field. Daryl does not accept that he is addicted even when Craig tries to tell him that denial is a part of the process. Craig further explains that he has been a victim before and he expected him to deny addiction. He tells him hat to kick bad habit, one has to create new one thus

Lies are also part of the psychopath’s lifestyle as brought out in a scene early in the 124 minute film. Even when the police question him over the girl’s death, he says it was her fault because it was the girl who actually offered him cocaine. In as much as in this scene, we are yet to know whether he has a mental problem, the lie is typical of a person suffering from this type of mental disease. He will not take responsibility for anything he deems risky. Another scene where he lies is to the company representative. Daryl knows he used all the money but it takes the convincing nature of Richard Dirks to get him to confess to the company what he did with the money, a fate that gets him fired. Daryl is also brought out as a person who will lie to his own conscience.

The scene early in the movie also shows how dependent he is on the drug. He does not need cocaine to function as he is good at that even when sober. The scene is everything about an addict. I t shows him as a person not taking drugs like other junkies but just for the sake of it. Daryl is renowned real estate agent in his native Philadelphia hence successful. The fact that he is addicted to cocaine despite the profile shows a man not sure of his future and that is why he decides to change later in the film. The scene introduces the viewer to the cocaine addicted protagonist and takes time to see his mental disorder.

In conclusion, films have been used to depict various forms of psychopathy; some like the one Daryl possesses that might go unnoticed among us. Many people have the notion that the condition since the condition is mental; it is irreversible but the film shoes otherwise. The film clean and sober is one of a kind. It addresses the issue of one kind of psychopathy that is hard to discern among our society. Daryl could have passed as an ordinary salesman apart from his cocaine addiction. However, a closer look at the film especially in the way Craig handles him tells a different behavior. He is an addict in denial and stands his ground in whatever he believes, however weird. He is thus a psychopath for having such behaviors. It thus gives the viewer the challenge of knowing when to differentiate an addict from a psychopath. This is one film that has brought out that so well and one learns that psychopaths are found in almost any place, from government to your next door neighbor. The important message is to help them change by understanding that they are sick and getting them help.