Essay on Description of Abnormal Psychology

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Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, is an abnormal biological response that is a consequence of direct or indirect exposure to a severely traumatizing event, which can further induce a maladaptive psychological state. This threatening life experience generally triggers a reaction of anxiety, vulnerability, or horror in the victim (1). In the 1995 film Copycat (2), the protagonist, Dr. Hudson, suffers from this disorder, as well as agoraphobia and panic attacks due to a terrorizing experience she had in the past. Agoraphobia is defined as a paralyzing fear of being in spaces or settings where the sufferer feels there is neither escape nor available assistance in the event of a panic attack. In extreme cases, individuals with …show more content…
Hudson’s previous works. The dramatic and thrilling conclusion in this film is when Dr. Hudson encounters the serial killer and is forced to overcome her own fear and anxiety of unfamiliarity in order to survive. In actuality, exposure/behavioral therapies work in a related manner and are often an efficient way of treating agoraphobia or mild forms of PTSD.
A couple of instances in the movie where Dr. Hudson’s agoraphobia is highlighted is when she attempts to escape an intruder in her home, or when she struggles to grab her newspaper from the corridor. Despite fighting her anxiety desperately in both situations, she fails to proceed out of her house. In these scenes, optical distortions are proposed to generate a believable notion of de-realization, which is an abnormal occurrence of detachment or unreality (4). Throughout the film, Dr. Hudson’s anxiety and hesitancy are made very evident and her panic attacks are realistically portrayed, in the sense that they either seem to occur spontaneously, or are subsequently triggered by being compelled to relive her past trauma in precise detail. This shows that she suffers from a combination of PTSD and panic disorder. The three main symptoms of PTSD are repeated experiencing, avoidance and negative changes. Patients may regularly relive the shock through recurring hallucinations, memories, flashbacks or even thoughts of anxiety that remind he or she of the past (4).

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