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Watch the move Fatal Attraction (1997) write a propmt responding to the following requirements. Write a paper analyzing a character's illness in terms of one or more of the theoretical perspectives (e

Watch the move Fatal Attraction (1997) write a propmt responding to the following requirements.

Write a paper analyzing a character's illness in terms of one or more of the theoretical perspectives (e.g., biological, psychoanalytic, cognitive-behavioral, biopsychosocial) presented in the text.1. Describe the character's diagnosis in terms of the DSM-IV. Make sure to include two (2) criteria that the character meets.2. Describe one (1) perspective(s) of mental illness that best explains the development of the character's symptoms, along with two (2) facts to support your position.3. Describe any treatment received by the character. Describe two (2) reasons that you would recommend similar or different treatment. If the character did not receive treatment, describe the type of treatment you would recommend with two (2) supporting facts.

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Fatal Attraction: A Focus on Mental Health

The mental health of an individual has a profound influence on their personalities.  Human cognition and behavior can, therefore, be used to diagnose their mental health.  In the1977 movie, Fatal Attraction, one character displays the symptoms of mental illness. The movie is about a successful lawyer (Dan Gallagher) who is happily married but gets into an affair with his editor (Alex). The man initially considers their relationship as a casual throw but it turns sour due to Alex’s obsessions, infatuation and psychotic actions.

Alex, who is the antagonist of the thriller film, displays multiple signs and symptoms of Borderline personality disorder (BPD) which has a detrimental impact on mental health. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM–5) outlines the signs and symptoms that can be used to assess and diagnose various types of mental illnesses including the BPD (Benson et al., 2017). Individuals with borderline personality disorders are often worried about being abandoned by their friends, family or partners. The DSM IV indicates that such individuals will make agitated efforts to avoid being deserted. Alex displays this symptom by persistently asking Mr. Gallagher out phone calls. She seeks attention and constantly urges him to spend more time with her. Borderline personality disorder makes it difficult for individuals to get into and maintain stable relationships. Alex does not have a husband and feels empty and lonely. Besides, their relationship with Gallagher is very short-lived. Sometimes the patients of borderline personality exhibit self-injuring behavior and suicidal thoughts. In one of the scenes, Alex attempts suicide by cutting her wrist. BPD patients also display impulsivity and psychotic behaviors (Paris, 2018). They also find it difficult to control their anger. Psychotic actions are seen in the movie when Alex kills Ellen's pet rabbit. Her anger is also observed when she attempts to kill Ellen with a knife.

Three perspectives can be used to explain the development of borderline personality disorders.  Genetically perspectives explain how certain genes in a family may increase the chances of developing BPD. The neurophysiological perspective, on the other hand, indicates how the structure and functioning of the human brain and the central nervous system may lead to the development of BPD. However, in the Fatal Attraction, environmental perspective can be used to explain Alex’s condition. This approach attributes environmental factors to the development of mental illnesses.  The factors come inform of traumatic life experiences such as childhood sexual or physical assault, the divorce of parents, bereavement and neglect (Berry & Danquah, 2016). In the film, Alex tells Mr. Gallagher that, ‘My father died of a heart attack... right in front of me.’ This is a traumatic life event. Bereavement could have been a possible cause in her mental illness. Although bereavement does not meet the threshold of being classified as a mental illness, it can accelerate the development of borderline personality disorder.

Treatment of borderline personality disorder is vital in restoring normalcy. Alex does not undergo any treatment for her condition. However, she uses painkillers (analgesics) to reduce pain. Analgesics only relieve mental illness patients of their pain but do not have any significant impact on improving health. Lack of proper treatment may lead to disastrous results as seen the Fatal Attraction. Medications are sometimes used in the treatment of mental disorders but they are not very effective. Psychotherapy is the most successful method in the treatment of BPD (Zimmerman et al., 2019). It refers to an approach of treatment that involves talk therapies. The goal of talk therapy is to help the BPD patients to learn more about their disease and focus more on their current abilities to function. It also assists them to manage their emotions especially the ones that that makes them feel uncomfortable. In addition, it helps in reducing impulsiveness and focus on conscious observation of their feelings instead of unconsciously acting on them. Psychotherapies are also important in improving self-awareness and the development of others which help in creating and maintaining interpersonal relationships.

Many types of psychotherapies are used in the treatment of mental disorders. The two most effective therapies for BPD patients are Mentalization-based therapy (MBT) and Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). DBT is specifically designed for the treatment of patients with borderline personality disorder. It applies skill-based approaches to teach patients how to manage their emotions, strategies to improve relationships and endure distress. MBT, on the other hand, emphasizes thinking of the consequences before acting.

Mental health influences cognition and behavior of a person. Therefore behavior can be used to diagnose mental disorders. In the film, Fatal Attraction, Alexa exhibit the symptoms of borderline personality disorder. She is so distressed, paranoid of being deserted, psychotic and has suicidal thoughts. However, she does not receive any treatment which leads to a dreadful end of her life. Psychotherapies are used in treating mental illness. DBT and MBT are the most effective when handling patients with BPD. These help the DBT patients to focus on conscious observations of their feelings, manage their emotions and endure distress. Besides, they teach patients how to relate with others and build long-lasting relationships.


Benson, K. T., Donnellan, M. B., & Morey, L. C. (2017). Gender-related differential item functioning in DSM-IV/DSM-5-III (alternative model) diagnostic criteria for borderline personality disorder. Personality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment8(1), 87.

Berry, K., & Danquah, A. (2016). Attachment‐informed therapy for adults: Towards a unifying perspective on practice. Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice89(1), 15-32.

Paris, J. (2018). Clinical features of borderline personality disorder. Handbook of Personality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment2, 419.

Zimmerman, M., Balling, C., Dalrymple, K., & Chelminski, I. (2019). Screening for Borderline Personality Disorder in Psychiatric Outpatients With Major Depressive Disorder and Bipolar Disorder. The Journal of clinical psychiatry80(1).

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