Shutter Island and Delusional Disorder

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Shutter Island and Delusional Disorder
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Shutter Island and Delusional Disorder
Shutter Island is a very complex movie seemingly about a U.S. Marshal named Teddy Daniels. As the movie begins, Daniels and his partner are shown traveling to Shutter Island to investigate the disappearance of a patient from a mental hospital. However, as the plot unravels we see that Daniels has a mental disorder of his own. Though his diagnosis is not revealed in the movie, I believe this character suffered from Delusional Disorder, Persecutory Type.

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR), “the essential feature of Delusional Disorder is the presence of one or more nonbizarre delusions that persist for at least 1 month.” Though not realized until later in the film, it is evident that Daniels had several delusions. For instance, at the end of the film we find out that his name is not really Daniels at all, and he is not an investigator from the U.S. Marshal’s office. His name is actually Andrew Laeddis and he has been a patient of the mental hospital for two years. The man identified throughout the film as his partner, Chuck, is actually Dr. Sheehan, his primary physician. Furthermore, Andrew deludes himself into believing that his wife, Dolores, died in a fire set by a man he referred to as Laeddis. Yet, in fact, Andrew was the one who killed his wife after discovering that she killed their three children by drowning them in a lake. As mentioned above, Delusional Disorder is the presence of nonbizarre delusions. Though they may sound a little bizarre to an outsider looking in, Andrew’s delusions were not bizarre because they could have actually been real circumstances that occurred. The DSM-IV-TR states that “delusions are deemed bizarre if they are clearly implausible, not understandable, and not derived from ordinary life experiences.”...
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