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About a Boy

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“About a Boy”
1. Does “Mamau” have any symptoms of a psychiatric disorder, mood, personality, schizophrenia, etc.?
“Mamau” has a factitious disorder which is a “mental disorder in which the symptoms of physical or mental illness are deliberately induced or simulated with no apparent incentive.” (p. 127) More specifically, she has Munchausen syndrome by proxy. This is normally when an adult caretaker produces or lies about illness in another person under his or her care. One example is when “Mamau” claims Robert kicked her and gave her bruises in a fit of rage. In a session with his therapist, Dr. Fee, Robert does not remember doing anything like that; however, his grandmother says it is because the drugs have blanked his memory. Another example is “Mamau” constantly tells Robert that he can be taken away because of his mental problem.
“Mamau” has symptoms of histrionic personality disorder. It is characterized by “self-dramatization, exaggerated expression of emotions, and attention seeking behaviors.” (p. 173) She also has characteristics of narcissistic personality disorder. These people have “an exaggerated sense of self importance, an exploitative attitude, and a lack of empathy.” (p. 174) We can use the above example to support for these. There was also a part where “Mamau” calls up the hospital to see if the person treating her daughter had a doctorate. She didn’t trust the doctors and it showed that she was trying to over power her daughter. There is another scene where Benji and Robert race. Even though Robert won, “Mamau’ declared Benji the winner.

2. Does “Robana” have any symptoms of a psychiatric disorder, mood, personality, schizophrenia, etc.?
Robana is Robert’s mother. She had him when she was a teenager. No one believed in her that she could take care of her kids. Robana also shows mental scars under her mother’s influence. She has extremely poor self-esteem and does not have custody of her children. She doesn’t have any psychiatric disorder but she does seem to have depression. She also has other general medical conditions such as hormone and thyroid problems.

3. Does Robert have any symptoms of a psychiatric disorder, mood, personality, schizophrenia, etc.?
Robert portrays a normal kid. He is an honor roll student and he engages well with his peers and teachers. His grandmother has accused him of doing things such as trying to commit suicide, harming animals or herself. Even though the teachers explain how Robert is a normal child at school, “Mamau” suggests that he changes when he is not in school. This is sad because most of the time social services cannot do anything unless there is signs of physical abuse. Emotional abuse is hard to establish. I hated the scene where “Mamau” takes Robert out the house and he throws a fit, asking her to let him go. Its normal for 7 year olds to be keen on their television shows! She holds onto him until she has decided that Robert has “let it out.”

4. Does Benji have any symptoms of a psychiatric disorder, mood, personality, schizophrenia, etc.?
Benji is hard to evaluate because he is just “there.” He seems to be in his own world and not be affected by what’s going on around him. He doesn’t throw tantrums and is always in a mellow mood. So far, he seems like a happy kid without any “problems.”

5. Can Robert and Benji have a positive and healthy life with their mother? Explain.
Robert and Benji can definitely have a positive life with their mother. She lets them be kids and enjoy themselves. There was no evidence of Robana being emotionally and physically abusive. In fact, she played with them. This is the first time we see the two children, laughing and being cheery. As for being healthy, mentally, they are under a better care but physically, they need improvement. I understand they are poor but Robana should choose healthier foods such as milk rather than diet soda.
On the other hand, Robana can benefit from having custody of her children. It can give her self-esteem that she can take care of them. Maybe having some responsibilities can trigger a positive drive in her. Hoping that she has gotten counseling and guidance and are doing fine!

Sue, D., Sue, D. W., & Sue, S. (2005). Essentials of understanding abnormal behavior. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co.

Anjana Kumar
Psych.6 Fall 12

Worksheet: Schizophrenia Video

Case: Bob
35 year old man who has been sick for 17 years

Positive Symptoms Noted: Delusions, hallucinations, disorganized thinking and speech, inappropriate affect
Hallucinations: hears imaginary voices as if real people are talking to him. Most of the time it seems to torment or criticize him. For example, while Bob was sitting down with his father, he accused his father not believing in him to be a man. “ you said that I could never be a man in my life” (he was hearing things) He also “saw’ things/people. His eye movements seem to suggest so.

Disorganized thinking and speech: Loose associations, neologisms, perseverations, clang/ rhyme
Loose associations: “Continual shifting from topic to topic without any apparent logical or meaningful connections between thoughts” (p. 277).
Bob uses neologisms: “Talk in new words or make up words” example: “I think the most important thing the devil can do is to self-sacrifice to coordinate the K Mart walk so pleasure can be evened out. In fact, I’ve really swayed my charms toward going forward into straight hood…”

Negative Symptoms Noted: Social withdrawal, (poverty of speech) Alogia, Flat Affect, Avolition, Catatonia
Alogia; “Lack of meaningful speech.” (p. 278) Example: “ I think those bats and the witch and cliff were really my father…” [can also be used as an example of neologism]

Case: Missy
27 year old, who became sick at 15

Positive Symptoms Noted: Delusions, hallucinations, disorganized thinking and speech, inappropriate affect
Hallucinations: her mom said that she has always heard voices and still does.
Visual hallucinations: seems to be looking at “something” towards the end of the video

Disorganized thinking and speech: Loose associations, neologisms, perseverations, clang/ rhyme
Perseveration: saying something over and over; getting stuck on a word. Example: “I smoked cigarettes, I smoked cigarettes, I smoked a lot of them.”

Negative Symptoms Noted: Social withdrawal, (poverty of speech) Alogia, Flat Affect, Avolition, Catatonia
Flat affect: “ little or no emotion in situations in which strong reactions are expected” (p. 275) Example: Missy never shows a smile on her face. When opening her presents, a normal person would show more emotions, but Missy doesn’t show any. “That’s cute. This is nice.”

Case: Steven

Positive Symptoms Noted: Delusions, hallucinations, disorganized thinking and speech, inappropriate affect
Delusions: feels like he has extra powers. Example: “beat a baseball bat into the head of a gentleman.”
Hallucinations: heard voices, lost touch with reality, became suspicious and violent. His dad asked ,“did you laugh because it was funny or did you hear a funny voice?”

Disorganized thinking and speech: Loose associations, neologisms, perseverations, clang/ rhyme
Loose associations: “some people like killing hamburgers, some people like killing sodas, and some people like killing other people. Some people like killing eyes..”

Negative Symptoms Noted: Social withdrawal, (poverty of speech) Alogia, Flat Affect, Avolition, Catatonia
Social withdrawal: he doesn’t interact with anybody, except with the visit of his dad. He does have that violent nature, possibly prohibiting anyone from being safe from him.
Flat affect: “little or no emotion in situations in which strong reactions are expected” (p. 275) “feels nothing. He can’t feel pleasure…” He doesn’t show much emotion on his face and he looks down a majority of the time.
Found a term in the book “decreased ability to derive pleasure from interaction with others” called social anhedonia (p. 278)

Source: Sue, D., Sue, D. W., & Sue, S. (2005). Essentials of understanding abnormal behavior. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co.

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