Essay on Elyn Saks: Fighting the Greatest Battle of All

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Pages: 11

Abnormal Psychology 152
Section 23(Shelly)
Ellen Kuo

Fighting the Greatest Battle of All

According to Elyn Saks' autobiography, she was born in Miami during the 1950's. She grew up in a happy family where she had very loving middle-class parents and two younger brothers (Saks, 2007). Because she was the oldest child, Elyn wanted to excel at everything, be the perfect model for her brothers, and make parents proud. She started having OCD tendencies when she was eight years old, which later developed into paranoia. As her obsession got worse, she started having recurring delusions of a man standing outside her house waiting to kill her and her family. Aside from OCD and paranoia, she also struggled with anorexia - a eating disorder
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Another time, she said she would swallow a whole bottle of aspirin. Her friends got very scared and sent her to the hospital, but once her episode subsided she was just as scared and confused as her friends. She said in her book many times that these weird psychotic symptoms don't even last an hour (Saks, 2007). Criterion B in DSM includes social/occupational dysfunction for a chronic period of time since the onset of the disturbance. The impact has to interfere with the individual's life in one or more major areas such as work, interpersonal relationships, self-care, academic, occupational, or personal achievement. (N. Natsuaki, personal communication, February 26, 2013). When Elyn was attending college, she was having trouble being organized. She would stay indoor for weeks without showering, and eating little. Also, she constantly asked herself questions such as if showers were needed or if she should brush her teeth every day. There were times when she would be able to answer herself and clean herself up, but other times she would be confused and leave things be. Because the disorder can cause patients to have trouble concentrating, many times she wasn't able to finish her homework. She would be unable to understanding her reading material or follow the lectures. Her conditions worsened to the point where she had to withdraw completely from school.
3) Discuss the etiology of the disorder(s). (7 points) Schizophrenia is a severe and