Adrian Monk, portrayed by actor Tony Shalhoub, is the main character in the USA Network series MONK. Monk is a former homicide detective for the San Francisco Police Department, suffering from an anxiety disorder known as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), as well as numerous phobias. After Monk’s wife was murdered, his disorder worsened leading to his suspension from the police force. When the series opens, Monk works as a private police homicide consultant and undergoes therapy to overcome his anxiety disorder and phobias. He is assisted by a private nurse who helps him cope with his disability on the job. Part One—Case Study
The episode “Happy Birthday Mr. Monk” shows that Monk, born October, 17, 1959, is a California man of Welsh ancestry. Monk is 50 years old, and was born in Marin County, CA. He stated, “His alma mater is the University of California, Berkley.” His parents were very strict and authoritarian. Monk’s father Jack Monk abandoned the family when Monk was eight years old. Jack said that he was going to get Chinese food, but he never came back. Ambrose Monk, Monk’s brother, is agoraphobic and afraid to go out in public. Monk’s mom died in 1994. Because of these childhood family events, Monk is already a very sensitive and fragile person. Mr. Monk dislikes unorganized, rude, dirty, and filthy people. He also dislikes murderers, people who commit evil acts, and criminals on the loose. That is the reason he became a homicide detective. Mr. Monk likes people who help others, such as his physician and Trudy. In addition, he likes organized, clean, and tidy people. Mr. Monk’s strength is that he is a very clever detective. Plus, he has an amazing photographic memory, which helps him catch criminals. His weakness is that he has many phobias, which affect his performance as a detective. Mr. Monk doesn’t have any friends because of the weird and odd behaviors caused by his OCD. His family consists of his assistants/nurses Sharona, and then Natalie. He also works with people in the homicide department, namely Captain Leland Stottlemeyer and Lieutenant Randy Disher. Stressors/Pathology
Mr. Monk does not have any relationships with anyone, mainly because of his odd behaviors. He acts strangely in front people because of his OCD. In the episode “Mr. Monk Makes A New Friend” he annoys a new friend by calling him too much. Monk explains himself, stating, “I can’t not call him or hear his voice.” It is very annoying to call a friend every hour. That is one example of how Mr. Monk has difficulty with personal relationships. His wife, Trudy Monk, with whom he had a meaningful relationship, died in a car bomb. Before his wife’s death, Mr. Monk’s OCD symptoms had alleviated. After Trudy was murdered, the OCD symptoms intensified, and those around him could clearly see that he had issues, which affected his job performance and led to his isolation. When the series begins, Mr. Monk’s condition is somewhat stable, but his lives in an overly organized apartment. The battle Monk faces daily is how to make it through the day with his OCD. He tries to avoid everything that makes him uncomfortable or is viewed as a threat. Mr. Monk stresses over the fact that every room must be neat and tidy. Plus everything must be a multiple of 10; for example he buys a box of eggs, which contains 12 eggs and deliberately throws two eggs away. Mr. Monk doesn’t have any history of this disorder, but his brother was agoraphobic. Symptoms
Other symptoms of OCD manifest themselves typically as ritual behavior such as repetitive hand washing. Mr. Monk needs to wash his hands every time he touches an object or shakes a hand. He becomes obsessed with shapes. For example, his toast has to be a perfect square. Numbers occupy his time. As mentioned above, everything must come in multiples of 10. He has the typical preoccupation with dirt and germs. For example, he can’t stay in an untidy or dirty room; he...
References: American Psychiatric Association (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, Fourth Edition (4th ed., text rev.). Washington, D.C.: Author.
The DSM IV-TR, published by the American Psychiatric Association, is the authoritative book for clinicians, psychiatrists, therapists and other healthcare professionals who diagnose mental disorders. It lists the diagnostic criteria and features, differential diagnoses, course and prevalence of the disease. It is the go-to source for a clinical definition of OCD, however it does not prescribe any course of treatment. Other sources are needed for that.
Baldridge, I. (2001). Obsessive-compulsive disorder. Psychology and Mental Health, Vol. 2 (pp. 465-472). Pasadena, CA: Salem Press.
This is a very solid article that covers causes and symptoms, treatments and therapy, perspectives and prospects, as well as a bibliography for further reading that references the DSM-IV-TR. The discussion of causes is very thorough and references the various models of psychology we learned in class (biological, behavioral, etc.). It is very helpful for general discussion of the disease.
Breckman, A., Hoberman, D., & Shalhoub, T. (2002). MONK [Television series]. Hollywood, CA: USA Network.
This is the television series aired on the USA Network from 2002-2009 in which an ex-police detective with obsessive compulsive disorder serves as a quirky consultant to help solve white collar crime. Played by Tony Shalhoub, MONK was a hit that gave the USA Network a boost in household popularity. The series won several Golden Globe Awards and Primetime Emmys.
William, K. (2002). Health Matters, Vol. 2: Mental Health: Depression, Suicide, and Other Issues. Danbury, CT: Grolier.
This newer, updated definition is shorter, designed for high school students. It clearly defines what obsessions and compulsions are. It also has a clear definition of the epidemiology of the mental illness and the impact of the disease. Keywords are defined in sidebars, which make them accessible and easy to understand.
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