Case Study 1
Jessica is a 28 year-old married female. She has a very demanding, high stress job as a second year medical resident in a large hospital. Jessica has always been a high achiever. She graduated with top honors in both college and medical school. She has very high standards for herself and can be very self-critical when she fails to meet them. Lately, she has struggled with significant feelings of worthlessness and shame due to her inability to perform as well as she always has in the past.
For the past few weeks Jessica has felt unusually fatigued and found it increasingly difficult to concentrate at work. Her coworkers have noticed that she is often irritable and withdrawn, which is quite different from her typically upbeat and friendly disposition. She has called in sick on several occasions, which is completely unlike her. On those days she stays in bed all day, watching TV or sleeping.
At home, Jessica’s husband has noticed changes as well. She’s shown little interest in sex and has had difficulties falling asleep at night. Her insomnia has been keeping him awake as she tosses and turns for an hour or two after they go to bed. He’s overheard her having frequent tearful phone conversations with her closest friend, which have him worried. When he tries to get her to open up about what’s bothering her, she pushes him away with an abrupt “everything’s fine”.
Although she hasn’t ever considered suicide, Jessica has found herself increasingly dissatisfied with her life. She’s been having frequent thoughts of wishing she was dead. She gets frustrated with herself because she feels like she has every reason to be happy, yet can’t seem to shake the sense of doom and gloom that has been clouding each day as of late.
Case Study 2
Martin is a 21 year-old business major at a large university. Over the past few weeks his family and friends have noticed increasingly bizarre behaviors. On many occasions they’ve overheard him whispering in an agitated voice, even though there is no one nearby. Lately, he has refused to answer or make calls on his cell phone, claiming that if he does it will activate a deadly chip that was implanted in his brain by evil aliens.
His parents have tried to get him to go with them to a psychiatrist for an evaluation, but he refuses. He has accused them on several occasions of conspiring with the aliens to have him killed so they can remove his brain and put it inside one of their own. He has stopped attended classes altogether. He is now so far behind in his coursework that he will fail if something doesn’t change very soon.
Although Martin occasionally has a few beers with his friends, he’s never been known to abuse alcohol or use drugs. He does, however, have an estranged aunt who has been in and out of psychiatric hospitals over the years due to erratic and bizarre behavior.