Mental disorders in film

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Many films have portrayed mental disorders or used them as backdrops for other themes. This is a list of some of those films, sorted by disorder, regardless of whether or not the disorder is portrayed accurately. Thus, though 50 First Dates presents a case of anterograde amnesia, the type depicted does not actually exist.

Similarly, dissociative identity disorder, formerly called "multiple identity disorder", is one of the most controversial psychiatric disorders, with no clear consensus on diagnostic criteria or treatment.[1] Most films purporting to represent dissociative identity disorder would not leave that impression.

Owing to the nature of drama, extreme and florid manifestations of any given disorder tend to prevail over the more subtle ones typical of the average case. For example, people with agoraphobia are generally portrayed in drama as recluses who never, or almost never, venture from their homes; in reality, this is rare and extreme, not typical of the agoraphobic population.

General list[edit]

Title Year released IMDB rating (2017) Mental disorder
Finding Nemo 2003 8.1 Anterograde amnesia, posttraumatic stress disorder
Winter Sleepers 1997 7.3 Anterograde amnesia
Clean Slate 1994 5.6 Anterograde amnesia
Fight Club 1999 8.8 Dissociative identity disorder
A Beautiful Mind 2001 8.2 Schizophrenia
Memento 2000 8.5 Anterograde amnesia
What Dreams May Come 1998 7.0 Depression
The Night Listener 2006 5.9 Factitious disorder
Awakenings 1990 7.8
Sideways 2004 7.5
Julien Donkey Boy 1999 6.7
Silver Linings Playbook 2012 7.8 Depression & bipolar
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest 1975 8.7
Rain Man 1988 8.0 Autism spectrum disorder
Black Swan 2010 8.0
Shutter Island 2010 8.1
Lars and the Real Girl 2007 7.4
What's Eating Gilbert Grape 1993 7.8 Autism spectrum disorder
The Three Faces of Eve 1957 7.2 Dissociative identity disorder
American Psycho 2000 7.6 Antisocial Personality Disorder
Donnie Darko 2001 8.1
The Silence of the Lambs 1991 8.6 Antisocial Personality Disorder
The Aviator 2004 7.5 obsessive-compulsive disorder
The Soloist 2009 6.7


Anterograde amnesia[edit]

A person with anterograde amnesia is unable to form new memories.

Retrograde amnesia[edit]

"A much-used plot device, retrograde amnesia occurs when a person forgets part or all of his or her past."

Psychogenic amnesia[edit]

"Psychogenic amnesia, also known as dissociative amnesia, is memory loss caused by psychological stress."

Lacunar amnesia[edit]

Lacunar amnesia is the loss of memory about one specific event.

Antisocial personality disorder[edit]

Anxiety disorders[edit]


Social anxiety disorder[edit]

Attention deficit disorder[edit]


Asperger syndrome[edit]

Avoidant personality disorder[edit]

The Peanuts Movie – 2015: character of Charlie Brown

Bipolar disorder[edit]

Borderline personality disorder[edit]

Conduct disorder[edit]

Delusional disorder; and psychotic disorder not otherwise specified[edit]


Alzheimer's disease[edit]



Dissociative identity disorder[edit]

Previously called "Multiple Personality Disorder."

Eating disorders[edit]


Factitious disorder[edit]

Folie à deux[edit]

"Recent psychiatric classifications refer to the syndrome as shared psychotic disorder (DSM-IV) (297.3) and induced delusional disorder (F24) in the ICD-10."

Histrionic personality disorder[edit]


Intermittent explosive disorder[edit]


Munchausen syndrome[edit]

Munchausen syndrome by proxy[edit]

Narcissistic personality disorder[edit]

Obsessive-compulsive disorder[edit]

Paranoid personality disorder[edit]


Personality disorder not otherwise specified[edit]

Pervasive developmental disorder[edit]

Posttraumatic stress disorder[edit]


Schizoaffective disorder[edit]

Schizoid Personality Disorder[edit]



Substance use disorder[edit]

"Drugs listed from most addictive, harmful or destructive to least (from most to least dangerous, based on a 2007 scientific research study."[13]



See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Dissociative identity disorder (DID) is probably the most disputed of psychiatric diagnoses and of psychological forensic evaluations in the legal arena. The iatrogenic proponents assert that DID phenomena originate from psychotherapeutic treatment, while traumagenic proponents state that DID develops after severe and chronic childhood trauma. In addition, DID that is simulated [feigned] with malingering intentions, but not stimulated by psychotherapeutic treatment, may be called pseudogenic. With DID gaining more interest among the general public, it can be expected that the number of pseudogenic cases will grow and the need to distinguish between traumagenic, iatrogenic, or pseudogenic DID will increase accordingly." Reinders AA (2008). "Cross-examining dissociative identity disorder: Neuroimaging and etiology on trial". Neurocase. 14 (1): 44–53. doi:10.1080/13554790801992768. PMID 18569730.
  2. ^ Chocano, Carina (5 March 2006). "`THE OSCAR' Hollywood's Rotten Apple". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 8 February 2016. 
  3. ^ Catsoulis, Jeanette (22 August 2013). "A Plumber Lends a Sympathetic Ear". New York Times. Retrieved 8 February 2016. 
  4. ^ Dave Trumbore (October 10, 2013). "Bella Thorne and Kyra Sedgwick Tackle BIG SKY". Collider. Retrieved January 6, 2015. 
  5. ^ "Shame (2011) Plot keywords". Internet Movie Database. 
  6. ^ Sue
  7. ^ Tsure ga Utsu ni Narimashite (My SO Has Depression)
  8. ^ Evelyn B. Kelly (2015). The 101 Most Unusual Diseases and Disorders. ABC-CLIO. pp. 83–84. ISBN 978-1-61069-676-0. 
  9. ^ "Skeptical Cinema: ‘Bug’ and folie à deux". CFI Center for Inquiry. 2013. Retrieved June 9, 2017. 
  10. ^ Light, Alan (May 29, 2015). "In _éïLove & Mercy,_éì Brian Wilson Is Portrayed by John Cusack and Paul Dano". The New York Times. 
  11. ^ Stateside on Internet Movie Database
  12. ^ "FX Networks orders pilot for 'Legion'". Marvel News. 14 October 2015. 
  13. ^ Nutt, D; King LA; Saulsbury W; Blakemore C (24 March 2007). "Development of a rational scale to assess the harm of drugs of potential misuse.". The Lancet. 369 (9566): 1047_éç1053. PMID 17382831. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(07)60464-4.