Free Understanding Mental Illness with Freud's Psychoanalysis Essay Sample

Mental illness refers to an unhealthy state of the mind characterized by anxiety or fear on part of the person suffering that affects his normal thought processes. The condition can arise out of inherited genes, in which case a certain family may show tendency of mental illnesses amonga its members, or out of neurological factors such as an overactive brain structure that creates pressure on the mind bringing about mental disturbances. Mental illness is a serious problem globally whose magnitude has been on the rise for a long time. According to the World Health Organization, 25% of the population will develop mental illnesses at one point in life.

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The number of people who are living with mental illnesses globally stands at 450 million. Out of these, 150 million suffer from depression, 25 million from schizophrenia, 91 million from alcohol abuse and 15 million from drug abuse disorders. Cases of mental illnesses have increased sharply due to the challenges of the modern life such as increased competition for opportunities, sluggish economic growth, drug abuse, and technological advance. This paper is going to evaluate the issue of mental illness using Sigmund Freuds psychosocial theory. The paper concludes that mental illness can be clearly understood by using Freud's theory.

McMurphy is the main actor in the video One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. McMurphy is a convict from a Pendleton work farm who was transferred to an insane asylum after displaying troubling signs of apathy. McMurphy thinks he is lucky because he anticipates that he would have an easy time as he would now serve the remaining of his sentence from the comfort of rehabilitation proud. What McMurphy is not aware of is that he is being brought to the house to be put under tests to prove if he is insane or if he is above. McMrphy is the opposite of the rest of the patients in many ways; he looks healthy, he is well built, he talks loudly, vulgar and is overconfident. He is domineering and by sing his loud voice he seems not to encounter any challenge from the rest of the patients. McMurphy is also very vulgar; he language is unpalatable even when talking to people who should automatically qualify for his respect like the doctor. We learn from the video that McMurthy is actually not mentally ill but is pretending so in order to manipulate the system in his favor. His conversation with the doctor and his behaviors afterwards reveals a person who is fully in control of what he is doing.

Freud's psychoanalysis theory was a theory developed by psychologist Sigmund Freud that analyzed adult behavior according to the experiences of childhood. This was a radically new way of understanding adult behavior because previously, adult behavior was usually interpreted by looking at the physical environment the person was presently in as the source of his mental condition. The theory divides a person's life into several stages according to age and the source of sexual pleasure at that stage. The pre-oedipal stage is the most important. Oral stage is the first stage beginning from birth. In this stage, pleasure is predominantly from the mouth. Freud argued that if a child is either over dependent or under dependent in this stage, when he grows into maturity, the child will be addicted to mouth activities such as overeating, smoking and or gum chewing.

The next stage is anal stage when attention shifts from the mouth to the anal region. People who did not get a balanced attention on this stage tends to be either destructive, messy and hostile or neat, fussy and stubborn. Anal stage is associated with the ego while the oral stage is associated with the id. From the anal region, attention shifts to the genital region. This stage is called the phallic stage. A child discovers his/her sexual feeling and the superego develop. This is the stage the Oedipus complex is manifested.

According to Freud's psychoanalysis theory McMurphy shows signs of childhood fixation primarily under the oral stage of psychosocial development. This is manifested in his behavior. For instance he smokes constantly, a sign of pleasure seeking located around the oral region. He is also loud in his talking and vulgar. This he uses to domineer the rest of the patients with. The conflict between id, the ego and the super ego is manifested through his behavior. Though he manifests a portion of each at various junctures, the id is predominant. The id by definition seeks to satisfy body drives and avoid pain without due concern for moral or society regulations. McMurphy's behavior is best explained by id. He is vulgar and rude.

This is definitely not what is expected of him by society. He smokes in the doctors office and bangs on the table, a sign of disrespect. He also climbs the fence and sneaks out of the rehabilitation centre. The ego is also manifested, for example, When he suggests that they vote on whether to go and watch the movie series. This manifests a person willing to negotiate. The superego is manifested when he enters the doctor's office and removes the cap from his head. That is a show of respect manifested under the superego. However it is id that is dominant in his life.

Defense mechanism

The inner conflicts between the ego and the super ego produce anxiety. The ego in a bind to reduce and overcome this tension creates a defense mechanism. The defense mechanism is geared towards protecting the ego from being overcomed anxiety created by this conflict.


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