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Silver Linings Playbook: Mental Illness (Bipolar Disorder) Essay

Bipolar Disorder as Presented in Silver Linings Playbook

Bipolar Disorder is a serious mental illness that affects approximately 5.7 million adult Americans. It is so serious in fact, that on average, it results in a 9.2-year reduction in expected life span, and as many as one in five patients with bipolar disorder completes suicide (DBSA, 2009). Bipolar Disorder is complex, and patients often suffer from a broad spectrum of symptoms. Treatment for bipolar disorder often requires medication, therapy and even inpatient psychiatric hospitalization. To fully understand and treat bipolar disorder, we must consider the neurochemistry behind the illness. Psychiatric disorders have long since been a topic in movies, one example in particular is Silver Linings Playbook which portrays a man (Bradley Cooper) who was recently diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and his struggle to get his life back on track.

The main character in Silver Linings Playbook is Pat Jr., a young man who has just been released from an inpatient psychiatric hospital where he was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. “Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder characterized by the presence of at least one manic episode. A manic episode is defined as a distinct period of abnormally and persistently elevated, expansive, or irritable mood lasting at least one week that includes symptoms such as inflated self-esteem, impulsive behavior, increased rate of speech, and decreased need for sleep” (Lebeau, 2013). In the beginning of the movie, Pat Jr. has a very severe manic episode in which he violently attacks his wife’s lover when he finds the pair together in the shower. This leads to his being hospitalized in a psychiatric unit for eight months. Pat is released from the hospital into the care of his parents. Not long after he is discharged, he meets Tiffany, a complicated girl with her own issues who offers to help him get back in his estranged wife’s good graces. The two develop a unique bond that ultimately ends in a romantic relationship. Pat decides not to take the medication prescribed to him that is meant to manage his bipolar symptoms. “People experiencing bipolar disorder may believe they have special powers, go without sleep, talk incessantly, act recklessly and experience racing thoughts and irritability” (Haslam, 2020). Throughout the movie, we see several examples of these behaviors in Pat. One classic scene from the movie where his bipolar tendencies are clearly noted is when rather than sleeping, he stays up to finish Ernest Hemmingway’s A Farewell to Arms. When he gets upset that there isn’t a happy ending, he throws the book through the window and storms into his parents’ bedroom where he wakes them up ranting about the ending of the novel.

“There are four types of mood episodes in bipolar disorder: mania, hypomania, depression, and mixed episodes” (Smith, 2020). In a manic episode people tend to experience heightened energy, creativity and euphoria. We see this throughout most of the movie with Pat Jr. His energy level is palatable. His speech is pressured, he paces constantly, he seems like he is driven by a motor. He is obsessed with trying to win his estranged wife back and fails to understand that his goal is unrealistic, as she has taken out a restraining order against him. “Hypomania is a less severe form of mania. In a hypomanic state, you’ll likely feel euphoric, energetic, and productive, but will still be able to carry on with your day-to-day life without losing touch with reality. To others, it may seem as if you’re merely in an unusually good mood” (Smith, 2020). We see this when Pat goes to the school he used to work at in order to get his old job back. He is overly cheerful and optimistic about getting his life back on track. He doesn’t seem to realize how unrealistic his expectations are given the circumstances. Pat Jr. cycles between mania and hypomania throughout most of the movie. Pat’s obsession with “silver linings,” reuniting with his estranged wife, and his tumultuous relationship with Tiffany are all examples of his hypomanic states. The movie does not show Pat in Depressive episodes quite as much. A depressive episode is not the same as regular depression. Although a depressive episode and regular depression share some similarities, certain symptoms are more prevalent in bipolar depression. For example, a bipolar depressive episode is more likely to involve irritability, guilt, mood swings and restlessness. Some symptoms are moving and speaking slowly, excessive sleeping and weight gain. People with Bipolar are also more likely to experience major problems with work and social functioning. They are also more prone to psychotic depression, a condition where you lose contact with reality (Smith, 2020). “A mixed episode of bipolar disorder features symptoms of both mania or hypomania and depression. Common signs of a mixed episode include depression combined with agitation, irritability, anxiety, insomnia, distractibility, and racing thoughts. This combination of high energy and low mood makes for a particularly high risk of suicide” (Smith, 2020). We see Pat exhibit signs of agitation, anxiety and racing thoughts. In another scene where Pat wakes his parents up in the middle of the night, he is frantically looking for his wedding video. He accuses his mother of hiding the video in order to protect him. Pat is yelling, swearing and tearing the house apart to find the video, and is clearly distraught. In fact, he is so escalated that he accidently hits his mother and must be restrained by his father; ultimately the police respond.

DSM-5 Criteria and Presentation

Bipolar Disorder is a mood disorder characterized by extreme highs and lows. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition, Bipolar disorder “is a category that includes three different conditions – bipolar I, bipolar II, and cyclothymic disorder:

Pat Jr. fits the criteria for a diagnosis of Bipolar I with psychotic episodes. When Pat caught his wife with her lover, their wedding song “My Cherie Amour,” happened to be playing. Every time Pat hears this song thereafter it triggers a psychotic episode and he even becomes aggressive at times. There is a scene where Pat hears this song playing in the waiting room of his therapist’s office and it triggers him to have an emotional outburst. In another scene, he is in front of a theater and is having an argument with Tiffany. After becoming emotionally triggered he begins to hear this song playing, although it appears that he is having a psychotic break and that it is not in fact actually playing. In the very beginning of the movie, Pat explains to his therapist that not long before he assaulted his wife’s lover, he had called the police to report that his wife and the lover had been embezzling money from the local high school where she worked. Pat admits that this too was a delusion.

silver linings playbook bipolar disorder essay

Brain Based Explanation of Bipolar Disorder

The exact cause of Bipolar Disorder is still not completely understood. However, doctors and scientists have discovered a lot about the disorder over the last few years by studying the brain. “The neurotransmitters that are suspected to be involved in bipolar disorder include dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin, GABA (gamma-aminobutyrate), glutamate, and acetylcholine” (Nemade, 1995). These chemicals appear to be unbalanced in people with bipolar disorder. Studies have shown that GABA is lower in the blood and spinal fluid, whereas oxytocin is higher in those with a bipolar diagnosis. “However, the role of these findings to overall brain functioning is not yet understood. Whether the presence, absence, or change in these chemicals is a cause or outcome of bipolar disorder remains to be determined. The importance of neurochemicals in creating bipolar disease cannot be denied” (Nemade, 1995). It would make sense that dopamine levels are lower, since dopamine is responsible for regulating pleasure and emotional reward. Serotonin levels being low would contribute to disturbances in “sleep, wakefulness, eating, sexual activity, impulsivity, learning, and memory” (Bhandari, 2019) that is oftentimes associated with bipolar disorder. It is also believed that “As a biological disorder, it may lie dormant and be activated on its own, or it may be triggered by external factors such as psychological stress and social circumstances” (Bressert, 2020).

Recent studies using Computerized Axial Tomography (CAT) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans showed “enlarged ventricle spaces (spaces which carry cerebrospinal fluid through and around the brain) in those with a bipolar diagnosis. Larger ventricles indicate less brain tissue is present as a whole within the brain and suggests that either deterioration has occurred, or that bipolar brains develop differently than normal brain controls” (American Addiction Centers, 2015). Researchers also noted that in the brain of people with bipolar disorder there was an abnormal amount of “small, white areas in the brain known as ‘white matter hyperintensities’. White matter is partly responsible for transmitting messages to other areas of the brain. It was noted that people with these “hyperintensities” are three times more likely to have bipolar disorder. These brain scans also showed that there was a reduction of glial cells in patients with bipolar. These cells are what insulate neurons, allowing them to communicate more efficiently (American Addiction Centers, 2015). Because of the hyperintensities and reduction of glial cells and the effects this has on communication within the brain, it is possible that it contributes to the symptoms of bipolar disorder.

Reality vs. Portrayal in the Movie

In my opinion, Silver Linings Playbook is a mostly accurate portrayal of what it is like to live with Bipolar Disorder. Although it may seem that certain aspects are exaggerated for a cinematic effect, I feel as though that is because people living with bipolar disorder are prone to such extreme behavior. Of course, it is still a major motion picture, and thus needs to captivate the audience. I believe it is for this reason that no depressive episodes were portrayed. Mania and psychotic episodes are far more captivating to watch than someone in the throes of a depressive episode. I found that all of the characters in the movie all feel very real and relatable and were well-developed. I also like that the movie shows the struggle with adhering to treatment as well as patients’ reluctance to take medication. Not all real-life cases have such an optimistic outcome, however Silver Linings Playbook shows that treatment for bipolar disorder can be effective.

As one movie critic who himself suffers from Bipolar Disorder said, “There are job losses, broken relationships, unlimited optimism, anger, and a feeling that no one understands you. But he doesn’t even understand himself. He thinks he is the only sane person around. He is in complete denial yet goes along with treatment just to get along with others. The obsession with his estranged wife drives him. Everything he does is to make himself look desirable to her. Then there is the hair trigger and the propensity toward violence which ultimately put him into the hospital. He has the belief that he sees with much more clarity than anyone else. There is also the hatred of medications and the belief that he doesn’t need them. Yet, there is hope” (IMBD, 2012).

Treatment Options

Luckily, there are very effective methods of treating Bipolar Disorder. Medication is often necessary in mitigating the symptoms of the disorder. Most often prescribed are mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, antidepressants and anxiety medications. Psychotherapy is also vital in successfully dealing with bipolar disorder. Some helpful types of therapy include Interpersonal and social rhythm therapy (IPSRT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Psychoeducation, and family focused therapy (Mayoclinic, 2018). Another less common treatment method is electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). “Electrical currents are passed through the brain, intentionally triggering a brief seizure. ECT seems to cause changes in brain chemistry that can reverse symptoms of certain mental illnesses. ECT may be an option for bipolar treatment if you don’t get better with medications, can’t take antidepressants for health reasons such as pregnancy or are at high risk of suicide” (Mayoclinic, 2018).

Bipolar Disorder is a complex mood disorder that if left untreated can cause significant challenges in a person’s life. The extreme shifts in mood can make everyday life incredibly challenging. Because of studies done on physiological causes of Bipolar Disorder, doctors are now able to better treat the symptoms with a variety of medication as well as other treatment options. Bipolar Disorder is a fairly common diagnosis, in fact 1 out of every 100 people will be diagnosed with it at some point in their life (DBSA, 2009) therefore it is important that we have an accurate understanding of the disorder.

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silver linings playbook bipolar disorder essay

Silver Linings Playbook: Mental Illness


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silver linings playbook bipolar disorder essay


`` Silver Linings Playbook `` Essay

Silver linings playbook psychology.

“Silver Linings Playbook” premiered in 2012 with great reviews. This movie depicts a character, Pat Solitano, who lives with a mental disorder. With many award-winning actors such as Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, and Robert DeNiro, “Silver Linings Playbook” was very well received from a large audience. The movie uses drama, romance, and comedy to bring mental illness to the surface while beating out stereotypes that tend to follow the stigma of mental illness portrayed in movies.

Case Conceptualization : Silver Linings Playbook

In the film Silver Linings Playbook (Russell, director, 2012), followed the character Pat Solatano after his release from a psychiatric hospital. Pat had, after he caught his wife with another man, beat that man severely. As part of a deal with the court, he was placed in a mental health facility for treatment and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. After his release, he was not concerned with his condition and was more preoccupied with his ex-wife, Nicki. Pat initially continued to struggle with his condition after his release and would not take his medication. However, in his attempts to reconnect with his ex-wife, he met Tiffany. The pair make a deal: Tiffany will give a letter to Nicki if he will compete in a dance competition with her. With this new focus, Pat gained a better control on his life and became more receptive to his treatments. Overall, Pat proved a compelling character in search for a silver lining.

Mental Disorders In The Film Silver Linings Playbook

Pat is the main character in this film adaptation. The film takes the audience through Pat’s life and his denial and struggle with a mental illness. The movie starts with Pat leaving a mental rehabilitation center, for his mother got a signing from the court to bring Pat back home after eight months. It is later shown in this film, as to why Pat was committed into this hospital, for Pat had an outburst when he had found his wife having an affair and then was later diagnosed with Undiagnosed Bipolar Disorder. Although Pat is the one struggling with bipolar, his whole family is there riding along working against this, with there own issues a well. One particular scene, that was very well constructed, is where Pat has a Bipolar mania episode at three in the morning, searching for his wedding video. As a

Theme Of Personality Disorder In The Movie Silver Linings Playbook

Throughout the film we see Tiffany suffer the major features of a borderline personality disorder. In the film, when Tiffany feels hurt by comments that Pat would make she would drastically overreact to the comments by screaming or causing a major scene. For example, Pat and Tiffany went out to a small café to converse. Eventually their conversation begins to spiral downward as Pat insinuates Tiffany is crazy and that his reputation would be affected if people find out they are friends. Tiffany goes ballistic and begins hollering,

Silver Linings Playbook Analysis Essay example

Silver Linings Playbook is shot through Pat’s perspective in the present as he navigates his life after he is released from a psychiatric rehab facility. Russell is able to tell the story of how Pat arrived at the point he is at through flashbacks triggered by his wedding song and through visits with his court appointed psychiatrist. The storyline bounces around from different aspects of Pat’s life; problems at home with his parents, his running back to Nikki and away from his new life, and dancing with Tiffany. The audience is whirled around following it all, as if they too are a part of the obsessive craziness that is overwhelming and raw in some moments and relaxed and comical in others. In these ways, the mental illness aspect of the film that has completely shaken up Pat’s life, is woven through for the audience to understand, but is still not a glaring idea that is hard for people to grasp or relate to.

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The Case Study : Pat Senor And Dolores Solatano From The Movie Silver Linings Playbook

Dolores has checked out her adult son from a court ordered mental health facility from beating his ex-wife lover almost to death in their home. Pat Jr., a young adult, was diagnosed with bipolar behavior and has been currently seeing a psychologist. Pat Sr. was not included in this decision Dolores made, which has made him feel excluded from any decision making process. Dolores has always been the one to be compassionate and supportive with both her son and husband’s behavior issues. Dolores appears to be the glue that holds the family together.

Film Analysis : The Silver Linings Playbook

The film begins with Bradley Cooper’s character Pat being released from Maryland mental health hospital against medical advice into his mother’s care. He had served his minimum sentence of eight months after assaulting the man he found in the shower with his wife, Nikki. While hospitalized Pat decides to reinvent himself in order to win Nikki back. He has a new motto of “excelsior,” is searching

Silver Linings Playbooks by David O. Russell Essay

Silver Linings Playbooks tells the story of Pat Solitano Jr. (played by Bradley Cooper), a high school teacher diagnosed with bipolar disorder who is trying to get his life back together. The movie opens as Pat is released from a psychiatric hospital after eight months of treatment and moves back in with his parents. He is determined to get back together with his wife, Nikki, despite all the signs that say she does not want to be with him - such as the restraining order she filed against him. Pat meets recently widowed Tiffany Maxwell (played by Jennifer Lawrence), who is suffering from depression and overcoming a sex addiction that ensued from the death of her husband. Tiffany offers to help deliver Pat’s letters to Nikki if

Analysis On Silver Linings Playbook Essay

The film I chose to analyze is Silver Linings Playbook because I was interested in the story when I read the synopsis of the movie. I thought that this would be a simple movie where the main characters would help each other because they had something in common. Reading the synopsis, I also thought that Pat would be back together with his wife, but at the end he found another love. In the next paragraphs I will show my knowledge on what I have learned this semester. On my analysis of Silver Linings, I will give examples that has the concept of language, nonverbal communication, listening, emotions, conflict, and close relationships.

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Analysis Of Pat Solitano ( Bradley Cooper )

At dinner with his friends, Pat meets Veronica 's sister Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence). It’s evident that sparks fly between Pat and Tiffany and she tries to connect with him but Pat’s only focus is getting back together with Nikki. Tiffany tries to get closer to Pat and even offers to deliver a letter to Nikki, but only if he will be her dance partner in an upcoming dance competition. He agrees to this as he believes the competition will be a good way to show Nikki that he has changed. The two begin a rigorous practice regimen over the following weeks.

I Chose To Do My Analysis On The Character Pat Solitano,

I chose to do my analysis on the character Pat Solitano, from the movie Silver Lining Playbook. This movie is a romantic comedy that takes place in Philadelphia. This movie is about a middle-aged man who has lost everything, his job, his wife, and his house. He has spent the last eight months in a mental institution, and has recently been released to his parents. Upon entry to the mental institution Pat almost beat his wife’s lover to death. So, throughout the entire movie pat is trying to win the affection of his wife back, by trying to better himself, and show her that he has his anger under control. This is difficult because Pat’s wife has placed a restraining order on him, so he can have no actual contact with her. So, she has no

Analysis Of The Movie ' Silver Lining Playbook '

Silver Linings Playbook is a story about two love birds who find each other. In psychological terms, Pat is suffering from bipolar, while Tiffany has been struggling with depression due to the death of her husband.The film, moreover,

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silver linings playbook bipolar disorder essay

Mental Disorder In Silver Linings Playbook

In the movie, Silver Linings Playbook, it all started with a man named Pat Solitano who had a mental disorder. He was recently released from a psychiatric hospital and now resides with his parents. He had lost his wife and his job and life just was not happening in his favor. His aim was to win back his wife, which happened to be quite difficult in his case. That is until he met this widowed woman named Tiffany Maxwell, who promised to help him reach out to his wife if he returned a favor and danced with her in a competition. Pat wrote letters to his wife and in turn Tiffany delivered them. We later find out that Tiffany was the one all along writing back to Pat and that she had fallen in love with him. Directly following the dance competition, …show more content…

In this essay, the author

After noticing Pat’s uncontrollable anger and mood swings, he was diagnosed to be bipolar. Upon being released from the hospital, Pat was very compulsive and persistent in reaching out to his wife. Throughout this movie we saw him go from extreme euphoria to being ballistic. For example, One night Pat could not find his wedding video and his anger went through the roof, which left the house torn apart and his parents hurt. He also had a trigger that regularly set him off making him rash and angry. He walked in on his wife cheating on him while their wedding song was on, so every time he hears the song he lashes out. Although it is normal for something like this to affect someone strongly, Pat’s emotional outbursts were scarily difficult to be handled and …show more content…

For example, his wife cheating on him was by far one of the biggest impacts. Pat was always living a bipolar lifestyle, but he just self managed his condition, keeping his symptoms to a minimum. This incident escalated his condition, which pushed him to his breaking point. Another thing that could have affected the development of his mental illness was by him not taking his medication. Yes, there are some pretty bad side effects of most medications, but this was physician subscribed and he refused to take it. The medication could have subsided or in terms lessened the severity of his condition. Towards the end of the movie, we see Pat finally giving in to take his medication after many violent outbursts. One last thing that I feel could have escalated his condition was his father. In Pat’s family, he was always seen as the outcast and was not treated the same as others. His father says in the movie that he regrets not spending as much time with him as a kid and that he was trying to make up for it now. His father did not know how to handle Pat’s violent mood swings as a child and that itself lead to them having an unhealthy father-son relationship. One thing that I have learned throughout this chapter is how important family is in helping a person with a mental illness with guiding them through their process of recovery. There are many factors that can drive and worsen a mental disorder, but there

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Mental Illness In Silver Lining Playbook

silver linings playbook bipolar disorder essay

Show More The media has created a false stigma for those living with metal disorders, by regularly portraying characters with mental illness as problematic, uncontrollable and violent. Larger than life negative characters have been repeatedly displayed on the big screen with these stereotypical cliché behaviors, and used as the focal point, or “hero” of the movie. Silver Lining Playbook is not just another one of Hollywood’s inaccurate depictions of mental illness. However, discrepancies are inevitable when the story line plays a greater precedence over accuracy. Silver lining Playbook depicts the breaking point of a family unit, where a father and son struggle to accept the other, and a mother constantly seeks to find a resolution. Pat, performed by Bradley Cooper, is the focal character diagnosed with bipolar disorder . Pat had a particular initial trigger, unveiling his wife’s affair. The beating of his wife’s lover lands Pat in an 8-month sentence in a psychiatric hospital, leading us to the beginning of the movie, Pat’s release. He connects emotionally with Tiffany Maxwell performed by Jennifer Lawrence. She has an undisclosed mental illness and it is this disorder which helps her to relate with Pat. Tiffany’s mental illnesses are likely brought about by the death of her husband. A discrepancy on the portrayal of bipolar …show more content… In the end, it is suggested that love is a realistic cure to heal mental illness. This challenges medical science where medication is the only effective treatment. However, this movie intelligently displays the intricacy of disorders and the effect traumatic events can have on people. The movies focus is the story line, leading to inaccuracies in the portrayal of mental disorders. However, it is by far the best representation of mental illness which is mostly displayed by media as gun toting, knife wielding serial

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The movie Silver Lining Playbook directed by David O. Russell is a famous romantic comedy story, which had won eight Academy Awards. In this movie, Pat and Tiffany are two main characters and they both suffer from mental problem due to the breaking in relationships with their previous spouse. Pat is a high school teacher who caught his wife having sex with his co-worker. Then he beat and nearly kills his co-worker. After that, he was sent to psychiatric institute due to the diagnosis of bipolar disorder for eight (months, years???)…

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In the film Silver Linings Playbook, Bradley Cooper plays Pat Solitano, a man diagnosed with bipolar disorder who moves back into his parents’ home after spending eight months in treatment at a psychiatric hospital. Pat’s main goal is to repair his relationship with his estranged wife Nikki, who has filed a restraining order against him after he had come home one day and found her in the shower with another man whom she had known through work, and brutally attacked him. Pat’s therapist tries to persuade him to continue taking his medication since there is a significant chance that another violent outburst would send him right back into the clinic, but Pat tries to reassure his therapist that he is fine because he now has a new outlook on life,…

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The novel I have been reading for my ISP is called Revived, written by Cat Patrick. The setting of the second half of the novel is Omaha, Nebraska. Daisy, the protagonist, has to deal with the death of her best friend, and the fact that the leader of the drug testing program, God, is a scam. In the second half of the novel, God in the antagonist because he causes Daisy many problems, which she has to overcome. Audrey, Daisy’s best friend, was diagnosed with cancer, and Daisy felt guilty that the drug Revived could not protect her.…

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Pat Solitano is portrayed by Bradley Cooper, who is a substitute history high school teacher. The film portrays Pat’s struggle and hardships as he is institutionalized in a mental hospital after beating up his wife’s lover. Pat loses his job and was recently discharged from the altercation. The movie follows his release and how he adapts back to life at home with his parents. I would diagnose Pat with bipolar disorder I because he has experienced at least one manic episode, which according to DSM-5 is a factor for the consideration of bipolar I.…

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Bipolar Disorder in “Silver Linings Playbook”

“Bipolar Disorder in “Silver Linings Playbook””

In one specific scene, Tiffany burst into Pat’s house and begins to freak out. It is at this moment when Pat’s father, played by Robert De Niro, says to Tiffany and Pat, What is this craziness with Tiffany Maxwell? Thus, demonstrating the act of perpetuating stereotypes and the idea of making fun of a psychological disorder. To some it is very offensive when using derogatory terms, such as the word crazy.

The way the movie displays the act of bipolar disorder is very misleading in terms of the misconception behind it. Silver Linings Playbook, for some incidental reason, still renders the myth that people who have bipolar disorder tend exasperated emotions. The misconception that is seen in the movie first begins when Pat is diagnosed with bipolar disorder, which by the way is very hard to diagnose. Throughout the movie he primarily appears to be aggressive and have violent outbursts. This is misleading, because not all people with bipolar disorder behave in this manner. Another misconception is that bipolar disorder can be cured without medication. Throughout the movie is shows the bipolar disorder can be handled and managed with love, which is most definitely not the case. While, in most accurate cases it requires medication and it is proven that therapy often helps.

These frequent misunderstandings tend to have an impact on both the individual and society. For the individual with the actual disorder, it can be very offensive to be labeled as crazy, angry or even violent. In the eyes of society, this idea can almost be a priming technique. Watching this movie can prime people to think that all people with this disorder behave the same way, and that mental disorders make people crazy.

Ultimately when some people see a person with a mental disorder, a sense of Empathy-Altruism is created, and creates the sense of guilt. When people or individual see this, empathy take over and they begin to feel bad towards the people dealing with it. Lastly this whole movie can create the idea of confirmation bias, in the way of how it focuses on certain information that can confirm your set of beliefs. Tying it all together, if someone with the mindset of people with a psychological disorder are crazy and violet, confirmation bias comes into play by allowing the movie to focus on that set of belief and not the real facts.

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silver linings playbook bipolar disorder essay

Essay On Silver Linings Playbook

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silver linings playbook bipolar disorder essay

Reflective Essay on “Silver Linings Playbook”


              In the movie Silver Linings Playbook , by David O. Russel, depicts two main characters, Patrick Solitano Jr. and Tiffany Maxwell, that both struggle with psychological disorders. Patrick Solitano, who was a former high school teacher, catches his wife in the shower with another man (the history teacher) while his wedding song was playing, therefore instantly becoming violent. As a result of going berserk on the history teacher, he has to spend eight months in a psych ward, and is diagnosed with bipolar disorder. On the other hand, we have Tiffany Maxwell, who is thrown into a sea of depression due to a sudden car accident that kills her husband.

             Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression disorder, is a mental illness that causes individuals to experience mood swings- episodes of elevated or agitated mood known as  mania , alternating with  episodes of depression . These feelings of mania can also involve irritability and impulsive or reckless decision-making – in which Patrick Jr. displays a variety of examples throughout the movie. One of which was when he displayed a quick manic episode in the doctor’s waiting room when his wedding song came on, which reminded him of the shower incident. As well as when we see in the beginning of the movie, Patrick experience aggression, which is defined in the textbook as “the intentional injury of, or harm to, another person (Feldman, 626)” towards the history teacher by deliberately almost beating the man to death. Also, people during mania are prone to having delusions, in which half of them experience. For example, in the movie Patrick describes that a week before the shower incident, he called the cops on his wife and the guy she was in the shower with because Pat believed that they were plotting against him by embezzling money from the local high school- in which he later realizes was a delusion as a result of his “undiagnosed bipolar disorder.” We also discover that in the movie, Pat’s father, Patrick Sr., beat up several people in a stadium- which could be an example of “behavioral genetics,” the study of the inheritance of behavioral traits, in this case it would be Pat Jr. having a manic episode just like his father did.

            Once he is released from Karel’s Psychiatric Facility in Baltimore he begins to run daily, read the books that his wife teaches on, quits taking his medicines and decides to overcome his bipolar disorder by being optimistic. The very reason he starts to do all of this is because he wants to reconcile with his wife (Nikki) – therefore Nikki is his “motivation”, the factor that directs and energizes the behavior of Patrick. As the movie unravels we see that Pat tries to establish and maintain relationships with other people, which is the “need for affiliation”, by trying to have a friendly conversation with the principal, attending a dinner with his best friend and his best friend’s wife, and trying to get back together with Nikki. But at the dinner he unexpectedly meets Tiffany, who struggles with borderline personality disorder (BPD). People who have borderline personality disorder suffer from impulsive and reckless behavior, unstable relationships with others, and problems with regulating emotions and thoughts. An example would be when we find out that after Tiffany’s husband dies, she gets fired from her job due to having sex with everyone at her workplace – hence all of the above behaviors that people with BPD experience. Right when Tiffany and Patrick meet, they discover that they have a lot in common when they speak about the effects of various medications. Some of which being- Lithium, Seroquel, and Abilify, which are all “depressants,” drugs that slow down the nervous system, used for manic depression/bipolar disorder. When Patrick goes to walk Tiffany home after the dinner she states that they are the same, that they are not like the others, because they do not lie- this is an example of “assumed-similarity bias,” the tendency to think of people as being similar to oneself even when meeting them for the first time. The two end up making an agreement, that if Patrick agreed to participate in a dance competition with her, then she would illegally (but, secretly) give Nikki a letter that Pat wrote for her. Tiffany uses the act of giving the letter to Pat as an incentive, his reward (in motivational terms), for dancing with her. This is an example of “incentive approaches to motivation” which suggests that motivation stems from the desire to obtain valued external goals, or incentives. As they continue to meet more often, they begin to have an “interpersonal attraction,” positive feelings for others, for one another by “proximity” and “mere exposure.” You would think that Tiffany, having BPD, would only worsen Pat’s bipolar disorder, but throughout the movie she does nothing, but exhibit “prosocial behavior,” a helping behavior, towards Pat. As a result of this, by the end of the movie Nikki was no longer his motivation in participating in the dance, but it was his developed “companionate love,” which is defined in the textbook as “the strong affection we have for those with whom our lives are deeply involved, (Feldman 622),” for Tiffany.  

            The last scene of the movie Russel shows the family all together, including Tiffany, acting and behaving normally as if it was just any normal family out there. This scene showed that Pat Jr. and Tiffany were able to treat each other’s disorders and finally become emotionally stable by finding their peace and comfort within each other. All the actors, especially the main two characters, did a phenomenal job in displaying the real hardships of people who have bipolar disorder and/or BPD, thus actually matching the struggles that these people go through. This movie made me realize that people who have these disorders are still people, and that they still can be normal, and that being optimistic can make a difference in a person’s life. All in all in the Silver Linings Playbook , Director Russel did a great job in conveying a story of a man and woman who somehow help each other in overcoming both their psychological disorders.

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2 thoughts on “ reflective essay on “silver linings playbook” ”.

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Great reflective essay, made some vital points, stated some important facts and concluded very well 🙂 I was actually trying to figure out how to write about the film in a best possible way lol reading yours has given me a better understanding of how to be reflective in a manner which supports the reasoning of your opinions on the film. Great Job 🙂

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