Posttraumatic Stress Disorder In Judith Guest's Ordinary People

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The year 1976 marked the creation of the novel Ordinary People, in which Judith Guest conceptualizes the psychological struggles of the Jarret family after the death of the eldest son, Buck (Guest, 1976). Some years later in 1980, Robert Redford would use her work to debut his directorial career with the cinematic depiction of this novel, and in doing so, he brings the significance of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder to the attention of the public (Redford, 1980). Although no expressed clinical diagnosis is presented, after having scrutinized the film twice, it’s evident a proper preliminary diagnosis for Conrad’s symptoms are Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (309.81 (F43.10)) and comorbid Major Depressive Disorder (296.23 (F32.2) with melancholic features), as well as Z63.8 (high expressed emotion level within family). In Conrad’s situation, the onset of these disorders is primarily a result of stress and psychological etiologies. Considering Conrad’s circumstances directly after the death of his brother, Buck, it’s understandable that he would develop disorders associated with the refusal to openly grieve. Conrad used extreme measures to avoid the grieving process, such as avoiding people he associated with his brother, which manifested into severe cases of both a trauma/stressor related disorder and a depressive disorder. There …show more content…

But before he has this realization, he lingered in a state of negativity towards all aspects of his life for at least a month, but likely longer. He strived to forge a persona of normalcy but failed and many of the symptoms everyone surrounding him saw were a coalition of symptoms between MDD and PTSD. Conrad lacked concentration and direction and the ability to express positivity. Many noticed his insomnia and diminished pleasure as well, but the coach of the swim team mentioned it directly to

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