Stress and Anxiety Disorders Represented in Mass Media

Highly stressful situations and anxious moments find broad representation in fiction. One example is a birth scene from A Quiet Place. Evelyn lives in an area full of nearly blind creatures that are hypersensitive to sound, so every person remains silent to survive. The woman’s tense facial expression demonstrates her fear as she clenches her teeth to remain unnoticed. With this expression, she keeps going to the distant soundproofed room to give birth safely.

The scene’s possible intended message is the helpfulness of thinking about others to overcome acute stress and make decisions quickly. Evelyn understands that the baby’s piercing first cry would attract new monsters instantly, making her unable to save the child. It gives her the willpower to reach the distant hiding place despite soul-chilling terror and pain. Overall, the character’s appearance, including alertness, signs of rapid heartbeat, and attempts to relax, matches my background knowledge peculiar to stress.

The second example of stress and anxiety is from As Good as It Gets – a popular movie directed by Brooks. In one scene, Carol, a single mother of a son with acute asthma, has a conversation with her mother. Carol reveals her tiredness and the obsessive fear of losing her only child or being unable to provide for him and pay for all medical bills. Regarding physical appearance, Carol looks very worried and disappointed and cannot control her tears and aggression anymore.

Her mother listens attentively, tries to be calm and soothing, and invites the daughter to go out to get distracted from unpleasant thoughts. Based on the mother’s final remark about “going out,” the scene’s message can refer to the importance of simple techniques to avoid wasting too much energy on unproductive thoughts. Carol’s appearance in the movie matches what I know about anxiety and stress disorders as she frequently demonstrates irritability, physical tension, and agitation, although not to the extent that would disrupt her workplace activities.

From my perspective, mass media images hinder people’s understanding of stress- and anxiety-induced disorders for the most part. When including any characters with such mental health issues in the plot, screenwriters and directors have to exaggerate or omit some symptoms and features that are typical for these populations for diverse purposes. For instance, for comical effects, the representation of anxiety can stress the character’s hypersensitivity to external stressors or potential sources of danger even in the safest environment. Also, if there is only one character suffering from these disorders, it is impossible to depict the full spectrum of experiences, thoughts, and circumstances that contribute to the disorder’s development and progression. Eventually, almost every media product will create its own stereotypes giving rise to generalizations about the entire population with a certain diagnosis.

The two examples demonstrate intuitive and straightforward ways of coping with acute and chronic stress. In A Quiet Place, the depicted stress management technique involves shifting the focus from intense suffering to the available self-care and safety measures to escape. Evelyn’s behaviors and techniques to resist panic are adequate for the demonstrated situation and result-oriented. Alternative evidence-based strategies to cope with panic would include deep and slow breathing through the nose or the mouth. This would impact the sympathetic nervous system and encourage the body to relax, thus enabling Evelyn to avoid impetuous decisions. In As Good as It Gets, the “cure” takes the form of emotional support from a loved one and taking a break from destructive thoughts. Desensitization and learning to relax while thinking about fear-inducing situations could be helpful in Carol’s case if used with caution. Thus, the shown approaches are realistic, but there are other options supported by evidence.

Removal Request
This essay on Stress and Anxiety Disorders Represented in Mass Media was written by a student just like you. You can use it for research or as a reference for your own work. Keep in mind, though, that a proper citation is necessary.
Request for Removal

You can submit a removal request if you own the copyright to this content and don't want it to be available on our website anymore.

Send a Removal Request