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Movie 28 Days
Case Study:

The Movie

28 Days

Shanda Fisher

December 5, 2000


R. Arndt

I. Introduction

The person I am doing this case study on is Sandra Bullock or rather her character as Gwen Cummings in the 2000 film "28 Days". My reasons for choosing this character is not that in the movie she is in short already diagnosed as being a full-fledged alcoholic, and place in rehab because of it. Other past experience that were show through out the film led me to look deeper into her past and find the real reasons for her being the way she is.

II. Background History

Gwens' past was not that of a normal child, nor was it any normal as a teenager into her adult years. Her horrible life as a child I am sure started when her father left her and her older sister. She had no real memory of her father just his leaving her mother, her sister and herself behind to live a life of their own. Because of her father leaving her mother decided that it was a time to relive her youth and began to party all the time. Not just at the bar or with her friends with out the sisters, but rather in front of them and kind of with them. Her favorite saying was, "I your not having fun, what the freaking point!" At this time in her life Gwen is about the age of 4 and her sister was about 6, and that is when a child begins to mimic what her elders do. Gwen was taught at a very young age what is like to party and how to have fun. Gwen can remember a time when he mother came home drunk and had this brilliant idea that is would be so much fun to bundle her girls up and take them out sledding. Not with a little plastic sled on a Sunday afternoon, but instead they took off down the hill on a flipped over tabletop during the wee hours of the morning. At the bottom of the hill was a road, as they came to the bottom a speeding car came passing by just as their make shift sled came to a stop. I feel this relates to Gwens' situation because now as she is an adult she is very irresponsible. And does not in many cases think any farther then the moment at hand. After all her mothers partying it finally caught up to her. Her mother passed away do to her excessive drinking. The girls found her, and thought that she had just passed out like she had so many times in the past. Now by the age of 5 she was with out a father and a mother and was sent to live with her strict Aunt Hellen. Now into her adult hood years her sister is about to get married and Gwen who is a bridesmaid in the wedding is 15min late and undressed. To top things off at the reception Gwen crashed into the wedding cake sending it to the floor in a big pile with her sitting on top. She then picks her drunken self off the floor and says "don't worry I'll get a new one." Gwen then takes off her dress and is standing in her undergarments as she steals the limousine that was parked out front. Gwen proceeds down the street speeding and swerving over the road she finally looses control and hits a house. Gwen was then faced with a DUI and choice, go to jail or spend 28 days in rehab. She goes not by choice, and not even for a shot of getting better. She goes just because a court says that is her only choice. At that point her sister tells her that she (Gwen) makes it so impossible to lover her. And that she was more of a pain in the ass than any thing. Thus because of all the event in her life she has to take a lot of criticism from her family for the being the "black sheep." Thus because of all the hardship she has had to endure through out her life she finds her confidence and self worth at he bottom of the bottle and in a boyfriend that does nothing for her getting better. While in rehab she faces even more criticism and has to look into her past to start the healing process. One instant while in a group therapy session the whole group just goes off on her for being the person that she is. They tell her she is not trying and that she is bringing the rest of those who are there to get better down with her. She finds that even people whom she doesn't even know think she is bad news. She sees her roommate tried stabbing her self with a piece of broken glass, then a few day later she finds her dead on her bathroom floor from a heroin overdose. Gwen then realizes that all the memories that she has ever had of her mother were when she was drunk and out of control.

III. Behavior and Symptoms

Gwen had so many symptoms while she was at the peek of her alcoholism. They are as follows: Excessive partying, had a beer for breakfast, caught her apartment on fire while drunk. She got out of bed and could not remember what happened or what she did the night before. Slurred speech, withdrawn from others, had an excuse for everything, addicted to vikeden, feels no pain while she is drunk, unstable walking pattern, paranoia about death, night mares, pent up anger, hallucinations, vomiting, excessive smoking, smart remarks about every thing. Knows she drinks a lot but shay she don't have a problem, and she can control it. Shaking, crying, restlessness, flashbacks, looks in mirror and doesn't recognize her. Talks loudly, crying, and talks fast.

IV. Differential Diagnosis

Gwen has many symptoms that could be many different things but I have 3 that are the most relevant to her situation and that coincide with her past. First Gwen could be diagnosed with Histrionic Personality Disorder. Gwen has several symptoms that are relevant to her illness. First self-dramatization, Gwen's symptom that relates would be her excessive happiness, while she is under the influence of the drink. Also while she is rehab she play it out to be such an inconvenience in her life. Incessant drawing of attention to herself. A symptom that relates to this is she walks through the center of circles. Her loud talking and smart remarks draw attention to her self. Craving for excitement- She dreams of the life of parting that she once had and starts to develop withdrew symptoms because of it. She has irrational out burst like when she was in group and just went off screaming at the rest of the members for trying to tell her how to get better. Others also perceive Gwen, as shallow. She was told by her boyfriend, sister and fellow group members. She is very demanding of others when she wants her cigarettes and when she feels she needs one more drink. Finally Gwen is very dependent on others for her to feel better about her self; he boyfriend is one person she turns to for that fulfillment. Under the diagnosis criteria she has 4 of the 5 under header A and under header B she has 3 of the 5enough for a diagnosis of histrionic personality disorder.

Gwen could also be diagnosed with PostTraumatic Stress Disorder. She has the symptoms of this because as a child she her father left and her mother died and she and her sister were forced to live with her aunt. As a child she had not dealt with her mothers death at the time and now it is all catching back up with her. She has found that she is following in her mothers' footsteps. Her hallucinations are all about her mother and what she did and did not do in her life. Leaving me to believe that there is a possibility of Postraumatic Stress Disorder. But there is also I don't feel enough hard core evidence that the stress she is going through is entirely because of her mothers death and not having a father. That kind of stress would have most likely been addressed when she was younger not now. And the whole thing with her seeing things is just out of fear of dying and being like her.

Gwen could also be classified with PolySubstance Abuse Disorder. Gwen's symptoms revolve around this disorder. She has the hallucinations, shakes, slurred speech, staggered walking, excessive partying, her DUI, having a beer for breakfast. Most importantly her say "I don't have a problem, and if I did I can control it." Her out of control behavior and carelessness I major signs that she has this illness. Several times her boyfriend sneaks her pain medication while she is in rehab. He also helps sneak her out for that last night of partying. And she is so use to that life style that she goes right back to doing what she did outside of rehab inside.

After trying to discover something deeper in Gwens life that would turn her to being a full-time drunk it is plain to she that she is what she is because she was just exposed to it at an early age if not a birth. Thus my final diagnosis would have to be that of Polysubstance Abuse Disorder. Just because the symptoms that she was have under the other categories is because if her drinking. Thus this being the staring point to all her other problems.

V. Suggested Treatment Plan

In her case I fell that going to a detox center, followed by a rehab clinic would be the best thing. I feel to that she should also seek therapy like AA or counseling if not both. This way she could get the one on one help that she needs. Going to AA meetings might also help her find a group of friends that are trying to break their habits, and help her get out of the same old routine of everyday being the party animal. They could work together to change. The detox center would help her rid her body of the elements and rehab could keep her clean for the allotted time they require. In many cases after detox with out some preventive measures, users go right back to the same people and begin with the same acts within a week. It would help keep her clean long enough to get help. I feel that this treatment followed by support from her family would be the best and most effective way to treat her problem, for the last time.
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