This paper explores the life of Elling and how he is forced to break through his problem with anxiety. His problems, or symptoms, will be compared to the criteria held by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) for Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). Elling is a fictional character in a Norwegian film with the same title. I have gained better understanding of the disorder, one of which I have, through the study of this character and his behaviors. Within the paper is a summary of the movie and a comparison as to why I believe Elling would be diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, based off of the DSM criteria.
The Anxiety of Elling
Fear is an emotion that everyone experiences from time to time throughout his or her life. Fear is part of a biological response to danger. This emotion was programmed into each human being eons ago through evolution to alert us to the presence of danger by releasing adrenaline into our bloodstream , triggering the flight-or-fight response, which alerts us to the presence of danger and enhances our chances of survival. Anxiety itself is a chronic fear, which continues even when the direct threat is not present (Pinel, 2007, p.494). Anxiety is a common occurrence and emotion in everyday life. Yet there are several individuals today who suffer from great pangs of anxiety and feelings of panic at such extremely high levels that it becomes quite debilitating. A normal, everyday environment can become so overwhelming that the day itself can stop dead in its tracks while the sufferer rides through the wave of intense emotions and thoughts which seem to be going a million miles a minute and showing no signs of stopping or slowing down. Anxiety is a normal reaction to a threatening situation and results from an increase in the amount of adrenaline from the sympathetic nervous system. This increased adrenaline speeds the heart and respiration rate, raises blood pressure, and diverts blood flow to the muscles. These physical reactions are appropriate for escaping from danger but when they cause anxiety in many situations throughout the day, they may be detrimental to a normal lifestyle. Anxiety is part of life; everyone feels it to one degree or another during their lives. However, when that feeling of anxiety starts to take over someone's life, or is persistent beyond a certain time in our lives (e.g. a speech in class) then a person may have an anxiety disorder. An anxiety disorder is a disorder where feelings of fear, apprehension, or anxiety are disruptive or cause distortions in behavior, (Coon, 526); they are psychiatric illnesses that are not useful for normal functioning. At times, an underlying illness or disease can cause persistent anxiety. Treatment of the illness or disease will stop the anxiety. Anxiety illnesses affect more than 23 million Americans with about 10 million Americans suffering from the most common, General Anxiety Disorder . (Harvard, 1). Anxiety disorders are characterized by extreme distress, persistent anxiety, or maladaptive behaviors that reduce anxiety. There are four common types of anxiety disorders: Generalized anxiety disorder, Panic disorder, Phobias, and Obsessive-compulsive disorder. Each disorder is characterized by a set of common symptoms and can be caused by different things. This paper will focus more on Generalized Anxiety Disorder and how it can affect someone's daily life. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is one of a multitude of Anxiety Disorders that affect many people around the world. GAD affects 6.8 million adults, or 3.1% of the U.S. population, in any given year. Women are twice as likely to be affected. The disorder comes on gradually and can begin across the life cycle, though the risk is highest between childhood and middle age. Although the exact cause of GAD is unknown, there is evidence that biological factors, family background, and life experiences, particularly...