Prozac Nation Character Analysis

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Prozac Nation

The movie Prozac Nation is about Lizzie, a young woman starting college at Harvard on a full Journalism scholarship. The movie, based on the book of the same name, is a true story written by the person who lived it, Elizabeth Wurztel. The setting is the college’s campus and takes place in the mid-1980s.
From the beginning of the movie, we learn that she began cutting, a form of self-mutilation, at age 12. Her parents divorced when she was two, her father mostly uninvolved in her life and her mother “too much involved” (Miller & Skjoldbjaerg, 2001). Life at college begins normal for Lizzie and she befriends her roommate Ruby. She meets Noah at a party, who introduces her to X, or ecstasy, and eventually loses her virginity to
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Adverse life events “such as a ‘chaotic’ childhood can overwhelm the influence of genes” (Durand & Barlow, 2016).
There is no doubt that Lizzie had a chaotic childhood with divorced parents. In the book Prozac Nation, Lizzie says she grew up in a female-headed household, her mother was always unemployed or marginally employed, and her father was always uninvolved or marginally involved in her life (Wurtzel, 1994). Lizzie states that her family has a history of mental problems, cousins who attempted suicide, a great-grandmother who died in an asylum, a grandfather that was an alcoholic, a grandmother “with the terrible melancholia”, and her father (Wurtzel, 1994, Loc. 427).
Treatment of Depression
In the movie, Lizzie was in therapy and prescribed the anti-depressant Prozac. In reality, she was prescribed lithium – a mood stabilizer, Prozac – an anti-depressant, desipramine – another anti-depressant, Inderal to counteract the hand shaking and other tremors from the side effects of lithium, and Desyrel for sleeping (Wurtzel, 1994; Durand & Barlow, 2016). Wurtzel writes in her book that “taking drugs breeds taking more drugs” (Wurtzel, 1994, loc.
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Lizzie’s official diagnosis was atypical depression (Wurtzel, 1994) and the treatment that Lizzie received was in relationship to this diagnosis. Atypical depressive patients, as described by Klein and Wender (2005, pg. 162):
They respond positively to good things that happen to them, they are able to enjoy simple pleasures like food and sex, and they tend to oversleep and overeat. Their depression, which is chronic rather than periodic and that usually dates from adolescence, largely shows itself in lack of energy and interest, lack of initiative, and a great sensitivity to episodic – particularly romantic- rejection by others. Wurtzel writes that therapy alone was the best treatment for atypical depression. However, Prozac, or fluoxetine, came onto the market and finally there was a “chemical antidote for this disease” (Wurtzel, 1994, Loc. 3895).
Conclusion
After watching the movie, one can understand the feelings and emotions that Lizzie went through with her depression. A person with a mental disorder of their own can relate their own experiences to the same experiences that Lizzie faced and that diagnosis is only one step and treatment involves many steps to finally feel

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