The character’s demographics
Dr. Gregory House is a 45-year-old male character in the TV series, House. He is divorced after failing to maintain a healthy relationship with his former wife, Stacy. He studies medicine at John Hopkins University before being expelled for cheating. He enrolls at the University of Michigan Medical School and works in a bookstore. He works as a diagnostician where he doubles as the Head of the Department of Diagnostics.
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Dr. Gregory House presents some psychological problems like manipulating the people around him to accomplish personal goals. He is a sadist, and he rejoices in the weaknesses of others, which he uses for personal gains. Besides, he is addicted to Vicodin, which is a painkiller that he uses to relieve pain from his ailing leg.
The character is socially alienated. He does not have functional social relationships. The only close friend that he has is Dr. James Wilson. As he grows up, the relationship with his parents is broken. His father is abusive, and thus, Dr. House avoids his parents. Moreover, he divorces Stacy after she makes a decision contrary to his wishes. In the workplace, he does not engage his patients in productive conversations. Besides, he finds a problem with all the people that he deals with at the workplace and other social places. This aspect explains why he calls people “idiots”.
Dr. House was born on 15 May 1959. In the series, his mother (Blythe House) is loving and overprotective, but his father (John House) is abusive. The father is a strict disciplinarian probably because he served in the military. Dr. House marries and divorces Stacy following a disagreement after she instructs doctors to use a different procedure when operating his leg. The character suffers from chronic pain in his leg, and thus he has to use Vicodin to relieve the pain. Later, he is addicted to the pain reliever. At one point, he is also diagnosed with kidney failure.
Problems and Behaviors
The character does not present any biological problems. He is a normal person apart from the crippling pain from his leg, which forces him to use a walking stick.
House is a drug addict, but he lives in self-denial, which is a common characteristic of people suffering from Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD) (Mueser et al., 2006). He goes through withdrawal symptoms after failing to take Vicodin for one week after which he admits he may be having an addiction problem. However, even after admitting that he is addicted, he quickly points out his drug problem does not interfere with his work and thus, he does not have an addiction problem.
What social symptoms does the character present?
Dr. House is a social misfit. He does not trust people easily, which is attributed to the childhood experiences in the hands of an abusive father (Simonoff et al., 2004). He is forced to divorce Stacy because they cannot address their problems. Besides, at the workplace, he keeps patients waiting and when he shows up, he does not communicate properly with them. In most cases, he is irritated for no reason. He is also aggressive and reckless, which sees him engage in numerous bar fights coupled with ignoring the patients’ safety. He brands the people around him as ‘idiots’ perhaps due to his antisocial behaviors.
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- The diagnosis of the character based upon the DSM-5
- House is suffering from Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD).
- The appropriate DSM-5 code for the diagnosis
- DSM-5 301.7
The specific symptoms according to Farias et al. (2013)
- Being egocentric
- Indifference, hence unremorseful
- Failure to follow social norms
- Lying, deception, and manipulation
- Disregard for others’ safety
- Failure to obey the law
The possible treatment options for the character
Unfortunately, DSM-5 does not have a specific treatment for ASPD. Nevertheless, Dr. House can undergo therapy to deal with his drug addiction problem coupled with learning how to manage his anger and violence. Unfortunately, Dr. House, just like other victims of APD, does not admit that he has a problem. Therefore, therapy may not work in this case due to the denial, which is deep-rooted in the patient’s character (Tyrer, Mitchard, Methuen, & Ranger, 2003). On the other side, lithium carbonate can be used as a medication in the management of anger and aggressiveness.
The benefits to the character receiving certain treatments for his diagnosis
If Dr. House undergoes successful therapy combined with the taking of the said medication, he can overcome the drug addiction problem and deal with his anger and aggressiveness. This way, he can lead a normal life, which will improve his relationships at the workplace. Besides, he may reconcile with Stacy and have a functional family.
- How recent changes to the DSM-5 affect the diagnosis of the character’s disorder
- DSM-5 has not made changes in the diagnosis of ASPD.
- How recent changes to the DSM-5 affect the treatment of the character’s disorder
- No changes have been made on DSM-5 on the treatment of ASPD
The ethical issues that might be present when administering treatment to the character
The greatest problem in the administration of treatment to Dr. House would be denial. Before Dr. House undergoes therapy and takes the prescribed drugs, he needs to give consent. However, given that he does not admit to having an addiction problem, he will likely refuse to give consent (Haase, 2009). Additionally, lithium carbonate has known side effects like weight gain and fine tremor, which might work against Dr. House given his current physical condition whereby he has to be supported to stand.
Farias, M., Gomes, A., Calheiros, M., Cavalcante, A., Lessa, M., & Neto, M. (2013). The Antisocial Personality Disorder and its characteristics, changes and advances: a challenge. International Journal of Collaborative Research on Internal Medicine & Public Health, 5(1), 95-102.
Haase, J. (2009). Co-occurring Antisocial Personality Disorder and Substance Use Disorder: Treatment Interventions. Graduate Journal of Counseling Psychology, 1(2), 58-64.
Mueser, K., Crocker, C., Frisman, L., Drake, R., Covell, N., & Essock, S. (2006). Conduct Disorder and Antisocial Personality Disorder in persons with severe psychiatric and substance use disorders. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 32(4), 626-636.
Simonoff, E., Elander, J., Holmshaw, J., Pickles, A., Murray, R., & Rutter, M. (2004). Predictors of antisocial personality disorder: Continuities from childhood to adult life. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 184(2), 118–127.
Tyrer, P., Mitchard, S., Methuen, C., & Ranger, M. (2003). Treatment-rejecting and treatment-seeking personality disorders: type R and type S. Journal of Personality Disorders, 17(3), 268–270.