Post-Traumatic Stress In Relation To Holden Caulfield Introduction Throughout life, an individual may endure emotionally and physically straining moments causing the person to become downhearted, and or irate. These feelings are normal, but may however become a problem when these feelings prohibit someone from living a 'normal' life. An estimated 5.2 million American adults ages 18 to 54, or approximately 3.6 percent of people in this age group in a given year, have PTSD (Narrow, Rae, Re gier). This purpose of this report is to prove whether or not Holden Caulfield, the main character of J.D. Salingers's book The Catcher In The Rye, is depressed. What Is A Depressive Disorder? Depression is a serious medical illness that negatively affects how a person conducts him / herself, and the way he / she think.
Depression may include anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorders, manic depressions. People with a depressive illness cannot merely 'pull themselves together' and get better. About 5% of the population will have some form of a mental illness at some point in their lives. Half of these people will also have a substance abuse Whorpole 2 problem, according to statistics from the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, or NAMI. What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?
Difficult situations are a part of life, and people everywhere must cope with difficult circumstances such as conflict in out lives. See Appendix 1 (Depression). But occasionally, people experience an event, which is so unexpected that it continues to have serious affects, long after it has happened. Like depression in general these events may include a traumatic event involving actual or threatened death to themselves or others. Also learning that a close friend is in danger or has died can cause this type of anxiety disorder (What Is A Depressive Disorder? ).
This condition is one of several known as an anxiety disorder. One significant event in Holden's life that is a factor for his mental illness is the death of his brother Allie. When Holden found out", [He] was only thirteen and they were going to have [him] psychoanalyzed and all, the night [Allie] died, and [he] broke all the windows with [his] fist, just for the hell of it" (Salinger 39). Holden's brother died of leukemia and at the time he did not know how to properly deal with the situation.
But later on he says, "It was a very stupid thing to do, I'll admit, but I hardly didn't even know I was doing it, and you didn't know Allie" (39). Another significant factor in Holden's life was the suicide of James Castle, a schoolmate form Elkton Hills. This is shown when Holden returns home and is conversing with Phoebe in her bedroom. Phoebe asks Holden to name one thing that he really likes. At that moment all Holden can think of is about two nuns he met at the train station and James Castle, "The funny part is, I hardly even know James Castle...
". (171). Holden kept replaying the incident just before James died. James "was a skinny little weak -looking guy, with wrists about as big as pencils (170). Holden remembers "James [calling Phil Stabile] a very conceited guy, and some of Stabile's lousy friends went and squealed on him to Stabile" (170).
Stabile returned with about six other friends to try to get James to take back what he said but he would not take it back. Holden the recalls "what he did, instead of taking back what he said he said, he jumped out the window" (170). Holden is going through a really difficult time in his life right now and he is trying to cope with the situations the best way that he knows how. Symptoms of a Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Many people with PTSD repeatedly re-experience the ordeal in the form of flashback episodes, memories, nightmares, or frightening thoughts, especially when they are exposed to events or objects reminiscent of the trauma. Anniversaries of the event can also trigger symptoms. People with PTSD also experience emotional numbness and sleep disturbances, depression, anxiety, and irritability or outbursts of anger.
(Facts about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). "What I did, I started talking, sort of out loud to Allie. I do that sometimes when I get very depressed. I keep telling him to go home and to get his bike and meet me...
". (98). Holden does not want to accept the fact that his brother Allie is dead and that he cannot physically be with him any more, so in his mind he replays the times that he and Allie had together. Holden always finds a way to relate a present situation back to Allie. Other Illnesses That Accompany Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Depression, alcohol or other substance abuse, or other anxiety disorders frequently co-occur with PTSD (Breslau, Davis, Andre ski 216-22).
Holden shows many signs of alcoholism: "I kept sitting there getting drunk... ". (Salinger 149). "Boy, I sat at that goddam bar till around one o'clock or so, getting drunk as a bastard. I could hardly see straight" (150). Holden realizes himself that he is somewhat depressed.
"Boy, I felt miserable. I felt so depressed, you can't imagine" (98). Headaches, stomach and intestine complaints, immune system problems, dizziness, chest pain, or discomforts in other parts of the body are also common (National Alliance for the Mentally Ill). As the book The Catcher In The Rye progresses, more and more of Holden's symptoms that accompany PTSD come through. What Type of Treatments Would Help Holden? People with PTSD are treated with specialized forms of psychotherapy and sometimes with medications or a combination of the two.
One of the forms of psychotherapy shown to be effective is cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT. In CBT, the patient is taught methods of overcoming anxiety or depression and modifying undesirable behaviors such as avoidance of reminders of the traumatic event. Holden could benefit from this type of treatment but he will need to work hard on it, because as of now, he is always talking about Allie as if he was still alive. There has also been a good deal of research on the use of medications for adults with PTSD, including research on the formation of emotionally charged memories and medications that may help block the development of symptoms (Gold, McCarty 151-62). Medications appear to be useful in reducing overwhelming symptoms of arousal (such as sleep disturbances and an exaggerated startle reflex), intrusive thoughts, and avoidance; reducing accompanying conditions such as depression and panic; and improving impulse control and related behavioral problems. The incomparable solution for Holden would be a combination of the two, psychotherapy and medication.
One should not rely on just medication, because then the risk of addiction increases. If medication and psychotherapy and being used, the person will become more able to cope with the situations that the person may face, on their own. Conclusion The report was to prove that Holden Caulfield of J.D. Salingers's book The Catcher In The Rye, is depressed. POINTS TO SUMMARISE REPORT: CONCLUDING STATEMENT.