How Hypochondriasis is Depict in My Girl Abstract Hypochondriasis is characterized by a fear or belief, based on misinterpretations of bodily sensations, that one has a serious disease. A person with hypochondriasis may be focused on a single illness, but most of the time they have more than one health condition. Individuals with hypochondriasis visit physicians frequently and when the physician is unable to find a cause for a patient they tell them there is nothing physically wrong. However, in the movie My Girl Vada suffers from hypochondriasis.
Vada either has cancer or a chicken bone stuck in her throat. She is constantly dying of something. She meets the criteria for the DSM-IV-TR. INTRODUCTION Hypochondriasis belongs to the somatoform class of disorders along with somatization disorder, undifferentiated somatization disorder, pain disorder, conversion disorder, and body dysmorphic disorder. Hypochondriasis is characterized by a fear or belief, based on misinterpretations of bodily sensations, that one has a serious disease.
A person with hypochondriasis may be focused on a single illness, but most of the time they have more than one health condition. The fears may change over time as a person notices a new symptom or learns about an unfamiliar disease. The fears appear to develop in response to minor physical abnormalities, like fatigue, aching muscles, a mild cough or a small sore. People with hypochondriasis may also interpret normal sensations as signs of disease. For example, an occasional change in heart rate or a feeling of dizziness upon standing up may think they are heart disease or stroke.
People with hypochondriasis are highly sensitive to physical sensations. They are more likely than an average person to pay close attention to sensations within their bodies. While many people fail to notice minor discomfort as they go about their regular activities, the individual with hypochondriasis pays constant attention to inner sensations and becomes alarmed. Sometimes hypochondria fears develop after the death of a friend or family member, or after reading an article or seeing a television program about a disease. Individuals with ypochondriasis visit physicians frequently and when the physician is unable to find a cause for a patient they tell them there is nothing physically wrong. In an effort to find explanations, patients suffering with unexplained physical symptoms may get into a pattern of “doctor shopping” moving from doctor to doctor in an effort to find an answer. People with hypochondriasis also run the risk of undergoing unnecessary medical tests or receiving unneeded medication. Physicians who regularly see a patient with hypochondriasis may become skeptical about any reported symptom and could overlook a real illness.
Often a frustration with the medical community will prompt these patients to investigate symptoms on their own through medical books, television programs, the Internet, and other means. DIAGNOSIS In primary care or medical settings, the diagnosis of hypochondriasis is usually made after ruling out known medical disorders. When a diagnosis cannot be reached, a psychiatric referral is sometimes the next step. Patients in this position often believe that they being told that their distress is all in their head or they are making up their symptoms.
Patients with hypochondriasis are usually hesitant to the idea that there is nothing physical wrong with them and that their problem is psychological. MY GIRL PLOT In Madison, Pennsylvania during the summer of 1972, Vada is eleven-year-old a tomboy who lives with her widowed father Harry, a local mortician who prepares bodies in his basement. Vada feels responsible for the death of her mother, who died giving birth to her, and her only friend is a young boy, Thomas J. Sennett who suffers from allergies. Like Vada, Harry keeps to himself, until a make-up artist, Shelly, comes to town and gets a job working with Harry.
Shelly and Harry fall in love and Vada feels threatened by her presence. Later in the movie her best friend Thomas J. dies from bee stings when he went looking for her mood ring. Vada meets Thomas J mother in town when is she gives Vada back her mood ring which makes her brakes her tomboyish ways. CHARACTER SYMPTOMS Within the first five minutes of the movie the character was born jondis, have had a chicken bone in her throat for three years now, and her left breast is bigger than the right so she automatically has breast cancer.
At one point, she thinks she has prostate cancer and fake being dead at the dinner table. Although she hates doctors they are a crock she states. She still goes to the doctor all the time and each time he tells her there is nothing wrong with you. She questions the doctor degree and certificates on the wall. Later, she starts her period and thinks she is hemorrhage. When she learns her best friend die of bee stings she goes to the doctor saying she can’t breathe because of the bee stings. DSM-IV-TR According to DSM-IV-TR, hypochondriasis affects 1%–5% of the general population.
Among primary care physicians outpatients are range between 2% and 7%. Hypochondriasis can begin at any age, although it frequently begins in early adulthood. Men and women appear to suffer equally from the disorder. In order to receive a DSM-IV-TR diagnosis of hypochondriasis, a person must meet all six of the following criteria: A. The person must be preoccupied with fear of having a serious disease. This preoccupation is based on misinterpretation of physical symptoms or sensations. B. The preoccupation persists despite appropriate medical evaluation and reassurance.
C. The belief in Criterion A is not of delusional intensity and is not restricted to a circumscribed concern about appearance such in body dysmorphic. D. The preoccupation causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. E. The preoccupation must have lasted for at least six months. F. The person’s preoccupation is not better accounted for by generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, separation anxiety, major depressive episode, or another somatoform disorder.
DSM-IV-TR also has a Poor Insight: if, for most of the time during the current episode, the person does not recognize that concern about having a serious illness is excessive or unreasonable. SYMTPTOMS/BEHAVIORS PORTRAYED IN MY GIRL TO THE DSM-IV-TR In the movie My Girl Vada portrays hypochondriasis accurately to the DSM-IV-TR. She is preoccupied with the fear of having a serious disease. With each person that dies of some kind of illness and bought to the funeral home she has the same illness. When she goes to the doctor he evaluates her each time and never finds anything wrong with her. She appears not to have any delusions.
She did not get along with other girls her age. We do know that Vada has had symptoms and/or behaviors longer than six months, because she has had a chicken bone stuck in her throat for three years. Reference Comer, Ronald J. Abnormal Psychology. New York: Worth, 2010. Print. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: DSM-IV-TR. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association, 2000. Print. Greeven, Anja, Philip Spinhoven, and Anton J. L. M. Van Balkom. “Hypochondriasis Y-BOCS: a Study of the Psychometric Properties of a Clinician-administered Semi-structured Interview to Assess Hypochondriacal Thoughts and Behaviours. Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy (2009): 431-43. Print. “Hypochondriasis. ” University of Maryland Medical Center. Web. 06 Nov. 2010. <http://www. umm. edu/altmed/articles/hypochondriasis-000089. htm>. My Girl. Dir. Howard Zieff. Perf. Dan Aykroyd, Jamie Lee Curtis, Macaulay Culkin, and Anna Chlumsky. Columbia Pictures Corporation, 1991. DVD. Olatunji, Bunmi O. “New Directions in Research on Health Anxiety and Hypochondriasis: Commentary on a Timely Special Series. ” Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy 22. 2 (2008): 183-90. Print.