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Cast
Matthew Perry, Barry W. Levy, Kevin Pollak, Mary Steenburgen, William B. Davis, Lynn Collins, Helen Shaver
Released
2007
marijuana | clonazepam | divalproex | sertraline | bupropion | fluoxetine | epinephrine
Spoiler alert
Blog entry

Hudson dreams of a suicide attempt. (0:01)

Hudson smokes a joint then shares it with a friend: "I just wanted to stop my racing thoughts, constant worry and never-ending anxiety."
"Little did I know, inhaling a harmless joint 12 times in 12 minutes could unhinge an already vulnerable brain..." An attempt at self-medication?" (0:02)

Hudson: "From that point on I would suffer from a symptom so frightening... The official term was 'depersonalization.'... Depersonalization disorder, in brief, involved the persistent or recurrent experience of feeling detached... an outside observer..."
"... unreal... dream-like state..." (0:03)

Phrenology bust on a table in a neurologist's office.
Neurologist: "Perhaps you should see a psychiatrist or something." (0:04)

Hudson: "found myself in the office of a... psychiatrist..."
Harvard certificate: "Doctor of Psychiatry"
Psychiatrist Dr. Townsend: "Have you ever heard the word 'dysphoric?'"
"No. That's psychotic. Dysphoric is when you just don't feel right..." (0:05)

Hudson asks his writing partner Tom, "Why'd I have to smoke pot?... didn't even touch a drug..."
"I couldn't have just taken one or two hits... pot."
Tom: "What about the shrink?"
"He thinks it might be a good idea for my self-esteem..." (0:06)

Session with psychiatrist Dr. Townsend. (0:07)

Hudson: "I read... that after 12 weeks of psychotherapy, if you're not better, seek another therapist. .. endless time between therapy sessions..."
Dr. Townsend refers to Hudson as his "patient."
Hudson: "The one thing... did give me was clonazepam. The directions read, 'Take as needed...' Two pills cut my feelings of hopelessness... More... if you were, say, rejected by a shrink... I adored the sedation..." (0:08)

Dr. Townsend sleeps during a session.
Hudson: "... you could acknowledge me as something more than 'patient.'" (0:11)

Hudson: "I read if you could raise your endorphins high enough it could somehow alter your brain chemistry... it was... psychosomatic false alarm... maybe a little family reconnection..."
Hudson's mother Audrey tells him, "It's anxiety..."
Hudson asks his father Peter, "Do you think it was the pot?" (0:12)

Hudson suffers a panic attack, breathes into a paper bag. (0:14)

Hudson: "Reconnecting wasn't the answer." (0:15)

Executive Sara tells Hudson, "I cuss when I get excited about things."
"It's not Tourette's or anything."
"So he... blew his brains out..."
Hudson tells Sarah one of his biggest fears is "going spontaneously insane." (0:21)

Hudson's friend Tom asks him, "So, you must have told her you were depersonalized, yeah?" (0:27)

Hudson tells Sara his shoplifting "Gives me some adrenaline..." (0:31)

Psychiatrist Dr. Richmond's certificate reads "Psychopharmacology," which means "take drugs."
Hudson, "Sometimes... I get nervous."
Dr. Richmond: "You ever hear voices...?"
"I think we'll begin with divalproex sodium."
Hudson: "What's divalproex sodium?"
Richmond: "Technically an antipsychotic."
Hudson: "Psychotic? I'm psychotic?"
"Because I feel psychotic, sometimes."
"Well, then why am I taking psychotic medication?"
Richmond: "Because... it can be quite helpful with mood..."
Hudson: "But I thought that was why I was on clonazepam."
Hudson: "Well, is this going to help with my depersonalization?"
"Well, what about the side effects?"
Pharmacist: "Have you taken an antipsychotic before?"
Hudson: "No. I'm not psychotic. I already asked if I was psychotoic, and apparently that proves I'm not psychotic. I'm taking it for depersonalization."
Pharmacist: "Are you aware of the side effects?"
Hudson reads from "The Complete Drug Reference Guide": "TARDIVE DYSKINESIA... tardive dyskinesia, a permanent twitching of the facial muscles." (0:38)

Hudson tells Sara, "The technical term for it is depersonalization."
"It's like when I feel anxious, which is all the time"
"Right now... doesn't feel real to me."
Sara: "I don't feel real to you?"
Hudson: "This all started with the pot. Do you think it was the pot?"
Sara: "No, I don't think pot can do that, baby." (0:43)

Sara reads a book entitled "Feeling Unreal." Dr. Richmond tells her, "People who talk about killing themselves very rarely carry it out."
Sara: "Because I dated a guy who talked about it all the time, and then he blew his... brains out." (0:45)

Hudson, sitting in the waiting room, opens a brochure entitled "A.D.D."
Tom tells Hudson, "I would never let a girl go to my shrink."
Hudson: "After the first round of individual drug trials failed, Dr. richmond decided to bombard all my neurotransmitters at once. So we combined... everything. Sertraline, bupropion, MAO inhibitors, fluoxetine hydrocholoride. It was like musical drugs." (0:46)

Hudson tells Sara, "I'm sorry if the rest of the world was born with perfect brain synapses..." (0:50)

Hudson shoplifts. Kleptomania? (0:51)

Hudson tells Tom, "She deserves a normal person, not some kleptomaniac..." (0:53)

Hudson tells Tom, referring to psychologist Dr. Blaine, "She specializes in cognitive behaviorism."
"Cognitive behaviorism. The deal was you could change the way you felt by altering your negative thinking... a Master's in psychology... published books on anxiety..."
Dr. Blaine: "That's an example of magnification." (0:55)

Session in cemetery with Dr. Blaine. Hudson: "Unlike most therapists... Dr. Blaine actually took her patients into the field."
Blaine: "... it will lower your anxiety..."(0:56)

Hudson: "Has a patient ever asked you out before?" (0:57)

Hudson counts negative thoughts as a cognitive exercise." (0:58)

Hudson: "I'm just doing a little cognitive homework."
Dr. Blaine: "It explains how high cortisol levels increase adrenaline, which could have a bearing on... depersonalization." (0:59)

Session with Dr. Blaine
Hudson: "I can't see another therapist."
Dr. Blaine: "Hudson, a terrible line has been crossed." (1:01)

Tom asks Hudson, "Seriously, are you still... that shrink?" (1:03)

Dr. Blaine tells Hudson, "I'm acting like an insane person."
She tells Hudson he is "A walking generalized anxiety disorder with rapid cycling issues... a tendency toward hypomania, who's magnifying all over the place."
Tom: "So how'd it go with the therapist?" (1:06)

Hudson's answering machine: "We received your inquiry regarding your depersonalization study..."
Hudson: "Dr. Paula Simon... researching depresonalization specifically... relief to finally meet other depresonalized people..." (1:07)

Hudson performs serial sevens for a panel of psychiatrists: "Count backwards from 2004 in groups of seven."
Hudson: "Have any of you guys ever slept with a patient?" (1:08)

Dr. Simon: "You have depersonalization disorder."
Hudson: "What about the pot?"
Dr. Simon: "There are medications."
"And therapies."
"I do know of an excellent cognitive behaviorist..." (1:09)

Hudson pours a bottle full of pills into his mouth but spits them out after learning his father has died. (1:13)

Funeral for Hudson's father. (1:13)

Audrey tells Hudson, "I was a terrible mother."
"... you and I, we're the most alike..." (1:16)

Hudson smokes marijuana with a large glass water pipe.
"If smoking marijuana triggered my problems, smoking even more would reverse it, shocking my synapses back to normal." (1:17)

Hudson: "I needed a quick fix of manic adrenaline to... the..." (1:18)

Hudson: "The pot was just an easy excuse..." (1:22)

Session with Dr. Richmond: "We need to have a session to discuss you ending your sessions. This is your brain chemistry talking. There are new medications coming out all the time. (1:23)

Regardless of how accurately it portrays the symptoms and treatment of Depersonalization Disorder this film covers much of the state of the art and many of the controversies of psychiatry of its time, including

  • Psychopharmacology (and it's associated problems) and psychotherapy
  • Patient- professional boundaries
  • The self medication hypothesis
  • Comorbidity
  • Risks to mental health from marijuana use
  • Family process and mental illness
  • The knowledge divide between lay people and professionals
  • Psychiatric jargon
  • The importance of relationships outside of treatment