Shutter Island Mental Illness

Decent Essays
The film Shutter Island depicts the story of a World War 2 veteran Andrew Laeddis and his experience with mental illness, specifically portraying the memory phenomena of repressed and recovered memories also known as dissociative amnesia and dissociative fugue (Kikuchi 2010). The illness is triggered by a psychologically traumatic event, which included discovering his wife had murdered his three children, and in response, he killing his wife (Kikuchi 2010). Additionally, the portrayal exhibits many of the criteria for a diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) (Friedman 1994). The DSM-V now classifies dissociative symptoms as an additional subcategory of PTSD diagnosis, however, the film concentrates…show more content…
Conversely, this last ditch effort was being overseen by government appointed psychiatrists who believed the only way to treat Laeddis and remove the threat he presented of harming other people, was to lobotomize him. Subsequent developments in psychiatric treatment have proven that the destruction of brain tissue does not remediate this kind of mental illness or justify this barbaric and maiming procedure (Raz 2008; Johnson 2011). During the time period, this film is set, the illness Laediss was suffering would probably have been known as psychogenic amnesia, which is a broad term that covered a wide range of psychological mechanisms including dissociation, suppression and cognitive avoidance (Staniloiu & Markowitsch, 2014). The comorbidity of PTSD is not overtly explored throughout the film but is implicit in the story telling modality of flashback/flash forward and gives credence to the dissociative amnesia, firstly, from the perspective of altered memory of his experience of the Dachau concentration camp and secondly, and more relevant to the storyline in the film, his inability to recall his autobiographical information in relation to his wife and children. Staniloiu and Markowitsch (2014) define dissociative amnesia “as
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