For this paper, It will revolve around the diagnosis of Charlie from the film called Perks of Being a Wallflower. Before delving into Charlie’s diagnosis, here is some general background information about his character. Charlie is a 15 year old boy who has recently started high school as a freshman. He lives with both parents, and his older sister who also attends the same high school. In addition, Charlie has an older brother who has gone away to college. In school, Charlie is seen to be good with academics, particularly in English, and clearly demonstrates a love for writing. However, Charlie does not have any friends and his only best friend had killed himself. Furthermore, Charlie is seen to be quite socially awkward around his peers and usually keeps to himself.I. Diagnosis:    For the diagnosis, Charlie is diagnosed with having depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. The reason Charlie has depression and PTSD is because he exhibits symptoms and certain behaviors throughout the film. According to Mayo Clinic (2017), depression can be defined as one who has persistent sadness or anhedonia with an addition of other symptoms that can affect the person’s thoughts and behaviors. Mayo Clinic (2017) also lists a few signs/symptoms of this mood disorder which applies in Charlie’s case. Symptoms of depression can include suicidal thoughts, lack of energy, sadness, loss of interest, avoidance of social interaction, feeling guilty/worthless, anxiety, slow movements/speaking, and sleep disturbances (Mayo Clinic, 2017). In the film, Charlie does express some of these symptoms of depression. For example, Charlie’s lack of energy is prevalent when he is in school. His body movements are quite slow when he walks, and speaks. Additionally, Charlie is almost never enthusiastic about anything and looks inevitably tired in almost every scene. Another symptom seen in Charlie is his constant sadness as well as avoidance of others. Charlie is never seen as a ‘happy’ individual and is often down about almost everything. Furthermore, It’s quite clear that Charlie lacks self-esteem, which can tie in with Charlie’s avoidance. Charlie’s avoidance to others is portrayed by his limited interactions with his peers. For example, Charlie stands against the wall at a dance, and doesn’t even try to interact until Sam comes over to him. Moreover, when Charlie is in his English class, he rarely raises his hand when he knows the answer. This displays that Charlie is almost afraid to speak and interact in public situations. Lastly, another major symptom seen in Charlie is suicidal thoughts and feelings of guilt. Later in the film, Charlie has a mental breakdown about his aunt’s death and blames himself for it. He even goes to the point of blaming himself for Aunt Helen passing away and feels like he is responsible for wishing death on her. Charlie is expressing thoughts of guilt and it is indicated that he was contemplating suicide when he looked at the knife lying on the kitchen table. While there are plenty of symptoms that lead to depression, these are the few prominent ones seen in Charlie.The other disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, is defined as reliving a traumatic event through a series of flashbacks and nightmares. It is also comorbid with depression and anxiety (Mayo Clinic, 2017). A few symptoms that align with having PTSD are recurrent memories of the event, reliving the event, nightmares, emotional distress, avoidance, memory problems, and negative thoughts (Mayo Clinic, 2017). Charlie does experience quite a few of these symptoms. For example, throughout the film, Charlie exhibits a couple memory problems. He has constant blackouts and can’t seem to remember what had happened. Another main symptom is reexperiencing his repressed memories. He has a flashback about his aunt Helen when he has an intimate encounter with Sam, and she touches his thigh. Thus, this triggers a repressed memory in Charlie about his aunt Helen touching him the same way. This also showcases another symptom which is being avoidant. It’s evident that Charlie feels highly uncomfortable when Sam is touching his thigh and wants to pull away from her to make the memory go away. However, this event had triggered Charlie which causes his repressed memories to resurface. Thus, he begins to relive them during his breakdown, which is another sign of PTSD. Moreover, Charlie begins feeling emotionally distraught afterwards as he is going through the traumatic event that he had suffered as a child. His Aunt Helen poses as a large risk factor for his post-traumatic stress disorder which will be discussed later on in the paper.II. Personality Disorder or Intellectual Disability    The film does not indicate that Charlie has any personality disorders that could contribute to his disorders. In addition, he doesn’t have any form of an intellectual disability. This is proven since he is shown to be intelligent in film,  and he even does well in school.III. Medical    In the film, there was no indication that Charlie had any medical problems that could have contributed to his depression or his PTSD. IV: Social    Charlie’s social life has had a large impact on his development of depression and PTSD. There is many risk factors, as well as protective factors, that contribute to the development of Charlie’s disorders. To start off, according to Youth (n.d.), some risk factors that can be a factor in his depression is peer rejection and loss of a close relationship. In the film, Charlie is seen to be rejected by his peers when he starts high school. He is constantly seen walking to class by himself, and doesn’t even have any peers he talks to before meeting Sam and Patrick. In addition, in English class, one of his classmates constantly hurls insults at him despite Charlie not even doing anything. Furthermore, Charlie is also seen eating lunch by himself and even his own sister doesn’t invite him to eat with her. Another risk factor that is prominent is loss of a close relationship. Charlie has lost two significant people in his life: his best friend, Michael and his Aunt Helen. The death of his best friend does have an impact on Charlie. Michael’s death contributes to Charlie’s loneliness and his lack of interaction with his peers. According to Young et al. (2012), they discussed that those who lose loved ones to suicide are more likely to develop depression along with PTSD. In addition, it increases the person’s chance of committing suicide themselves. Despite this, Aunt Helen’s death was a much larger impact than Michael’s, especially since she passed away when Charlie was a child. Charlie feels incredibly guilty when he thinks about his aunt, and believes her death is mostly his fault because she was killed in  a car accident while getting his birthday present. Additionally, whenever he mentions his aunt; all Charlie claims is how great she is, but how bad her own life was. This seems to add more guilt to Charlie. He feels guilty that his aunt had a terrible life and also he feels like he is the primary reason she died. However, Aunt Helen’s death is a constant shadow over Charlie and her role in his life is the source of his PTSD.    According to National Institutes of Health (2016), some risk factors for PTSD include a traumatic event, childhood trauma, and little to no social support. Aunt Helen is Charlie’s largest risk factor for his development of PTSD. In the film, it’s learned that Charlie was sexually abused by his Aunt Helen when he was a young child. The trauma Charlie had endured from his childhood led to his PTSD. He began repressing his memories of the abuse, though after his intimate moment with Sam, his memories resurfaced. Being a child, Charlie doesn’t recognize that Aunt Helen’s behavior was not normal and how much it would eventually damage him. Furthermore, Charlie has very little support in the beginning of the film before he meets Patrick and Sam. While his parents love and care for him; they’re too preoccupied in their own work. In addition, Charlie doesn’t have the greatest relationship with his sister and his brother has left for college. Charlie doesn’t open up to his family about the abuse and even doesn’t want to worry them about getting ‘bad’ again. While Charlie’s family is loving to him, he doesn’t receive as much support from them due to him not opening up and his family being preoccupied with other things.      While there are many risk factors involved, Charlie has a couple protective factors throughout the film. According to Youth (n.d.), interacting with peers is considered to be a protective factor. In the film, Charlie’s two main protective factors are the two step-siblings he’s befriended: Patrick and Sam. These two characters serve as his protective factors by forming a friendship with Charlie. They include Charlie into their many hangouts, such as taking him to attend a party and introducing him to all their other friends. By including Charlie in their circle of friends, it makes Charlie feel more accepted from his peers and he feels less alone. Also, it reduces the negative impact caused by his depression and ptsd. However, even though, there was some difficulties and tension with his friend group. Which could possibly turn into risk factors, such as introducing him to marijuana and his relationship with Marybeth took a turn for the worst. They helped tremendously with making Charlie feel more accepted and gave him the social support he lacked.    Another protective factor is Charlie’s English teacher, Mr. Anderson. Charlie clearly loves English class and seems to enjoy reading and writing. We see that Charlie often speaks to Mr. Anderson after class about literature. Mr. Anderson is showcased to be very encouraging to Charlie. He seems to encourage him to write and read more. Charlie himself even confides in Mr. Anderson and asks him for advice at one point. This showcases that Mr. Anderson is a good protective factor since he is kind to Charlie and really believes in him. Mr. Anderson’s positive influence and support for Charlie is a very essential protective factor in Charlie’s development as he goes through high school. Moreover, writing can be a protective factor as well. Charlie writes letters to Michael about high school life and his current situations. According to an article by Harvard Health (2011), it states through a series of studies conducted that expressive writing brings a series of benefits to the person such as dealing with emotions, reducing anxiety, and coping with a traumatic event. In Charlie’s case, writing allows him to express his thoughts and allows Charlie to look for a sense of support by writing to his deceased friend Michael.    In conclusion, through the multi axis model, Charlie suffers from depression along with post-traumatic stress disorder. Charlie exhibits these symptoms such as guilt, lack of energy, anxiety, flashbacks, avoidance, etc. His diagnosis is not due to having a personality disorder/intellectual disability and medical problems. However,  Also, Charlie is exposed to several risk factors from his environment. Such things are peer rejection, lack of social support, childhood sexual abuse, loss of his aunt and best friend. Though, Charlie does have his protective factors being Patrick and Sam, Mr. Anderson, and writing. His protective factors had helped reduce the negative impact caused by Charlie’s depression and PTSD.


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