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Movie Review on Sybil


Sybil (1976)

This is a movie about a girl who was diagnosed of Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) which means she have many different personality inside her body. From what the movie had film out, I personally think that this movie did a great job on showing the public on how a DID patient behaved. The symptoms that the movie portray is as accurate as what is found in the DSM-IV. It is said that what the movie showed is accurate because:

i) The main character Sybil will experience amnesia and do not remember what she did when the appearance of the ‘alter’ (the other personalities) take over from the host (the original personality).

ii) Sybil had more than 2 personality states . She had 13 personality states including 2 personality that belongs to two young boys in the movie.

iii) The switching of personality had been shown in a very clear way to let audience understand which personality state is Sybil experiencing.

The movie also points out 2 important causes of DID which is:

i) Traumatic childhood- Sybil was being abuse by her mother when she was young. As she was growing up, she developed many personality states to protect herself. Based on Putnam (1997), a survey found that only 3 out of 100 patient who suffered DID who did not report of traumatic childhood.83% patient reported being sexually abused. When linking it back to the movie, Sybil was sexually abused by her mother when she was young and her mother even hang her with a hook and store her in a box.

ii) Genetic inheritance- Her mother was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia. Family member with mental disorder might increase the chance of the future generation to suffer from mental disorder (Alloy, Riskin d & Manos, 2005). A family member who suffered from mental disorder might lead to the inheritance of future generation on mental disorder also.

As for the treatment of DID, in the movie the psychiatrist used the hypnosis technique which is useful and realistic to help Sybil. In real life example, hypnosis can be a good choice to help a DID patient.

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