Diagnosis of Holden Caulfield
Holden Caulfield is a troubled 16 year-old teen who has just been expelled from his fourth school. He has a younger sister whom he deeply cares for, and a deceased younger brother. Also, Holden appears to isolate himself and has few social relationships with others. Over the past few days, Holden has been enraged by his roommates, avoided conflict with confronting his parents, been beaten up, contemplated suicide, and abused himself physically by smoking, drinking, and having inconsistent eating habits. Some may think that this is just normal adolescent behavior; however, from my sessions with Holden, it appears that his recent behavior is the result of clinical depression, and in my opinion, is triggered by the death of his brother Allie and his inability to grow up. As stated by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, clinical depression is commonly defined as a state of mind that affects the body, mood, thoughts, and a person’s behavior. Classic symptoms include social isolation, lack of sleep and nausea, suicidal thoughts, and helplessness, all of which Holden exemplifies.
It is apparent that Holden socially isolates himself and is unable to form relationships with others. Social isolation, a common symptom of depression, can result in loneliness and is well known to create a feeling of unhappiness and emptiness. Holden exhibited these traits as he struggled to reconnect with past friends. After a few hours of being on his own in New York, Holden thinks about calling an old crush of his Jane Gallagher up to find out when her vacation starts and get together, but pushes the idea away because “[he] didn’t feel like it”. (Salinger, 59) His lack of being able to communicate with people he cares about exemplifies a beginning of social isolation and loneliness. Another example is when Holden arranges a date with Sally Hayes, a girl he had gone out with a few times. When the date begins, he says “[He] felt like [he] was in love...
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