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. For instance, 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.


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.

Bipolar disorder[edit]

Dissociative identity disorder[edit]

Previously called "multiple personality disorder".

Eating disorders[edit]

Factitious disorder[edit]

The Sixth Sense

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."

Borderline personality disorder[edit]


Intermittent Explosive Disorder[edit]

Raging Bull-1980 Character of Jake Lamotta played by Robert De Niro

Goodfellas - 1990 Character of Tommy DeVitto played by Joe Pesci


Marnie - 1964

Maid In Manhattan- 2002 Character of Marisa Ventura played by Jennifer Lopez

Obsessive–compulsive personality disorder[edit]

Obsessive–compulsive disorder[edit]

Paranoid personality disorder[edit]



Sadistic personality 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."[5]


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. ^ Evelyn B. Kelly (2015). The 101 Most Unusual Diseases and Disorders. ABC-CLIO. pp. 83–84. ISBN 978-1-61069-676-0.
  3. ^ "Skeptical Cinema: 'Bug' and folie à deux". CFI Center for Inquiry. 2013. Retrieved June 9, 2017.
  4. ^ Light, Alan (May 29, 2015). "In _éïLove & Mercy,_éì Brian Wilson Is Portrayed by John Cusack and Paul Dano". The New York Times.
  5. ^ 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. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(07)60464-4. PMID 17382831.