Psychological Disorders In The Walking Dead

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Even though an estimated 26% of adult Americans suffer from some form of psychological disorder, psychological disorders often remain ignored among the general public and the media, save for the occasional joke about “insanity” or the misconception of psychiatric patients as being frightening elements of horror. The popular television show, The Walking Dead, offers nearly textbook examples of well-known mental disorders, such as major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder, and it does not paint the characters as caricatures or jokes. Rarely do popular shows or movies touch on lesser-known, “scarier” disorders, but The Walking Dead introduces one character who expresses symptoms of a few lesser-known disorders. In the episode…show more content…
Intrusive memories, distressing dreams, flashbacks, intense distress in response to triggers, avoidance of triggers, distorted cognition about oneself and the event, detachment, irritability, recklessness, and in children, play involving themes of the traumatic event, exist as just a few of the ways in which PTSD can manifest. Among several other symptoms, Lizzie Samuels exhibits distress as a result of a trigger, avoidance of that trigger, and the childhood symptom of the reenactment of themes of the traumatic event. Unlike personality disorders, which can be a result of genetics, PTSD generally only occurs later as a result of an event rather as a natural trait, suggesting that Lizzie Samuels experienced something horrifying before her introduction to the series. One may argue that the death of her father in the episode, “Infected,” could have been the event, but she experiences a panic attack in response to attempting to stop her father from turning, and her sister Mika tells her, “Look at the flowers. Count one, two, three with me,” showing that the two have already developed coping mechanisms for the disorder. Therefore, the possibility exists that the offscreen death of Lizzie’s mother causes her PTSD, and this world’s new and confusing definition of “death” triggers her psychological distress. Throughout season 4, Lizzie perpetuates the idea in herself that the walkers are still alive like humans, naming and “befriending” them, in an effort to avoid facing the reality of “death.” When she stabs Mika, she reassures Carol that she will “come back,” which exemplifies Lizzies denial and avoidance of her trigger. In the episode, “The Grove,” Carol catches Lizzie running
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