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“Silver Linings Playbook”: Pat Solitano

The given research analysis will primarily focus on the character named Pat Solitano of the movie called Silver Linings Playbook. The diagnosis of Pat is bipolar disorder type 1 due to distinctive features of this disorder. In order to be able to distinguish bipolar 1 from bipolar 2, one should refer to DSM-V diagnostic criteria. Throughout the movie, Pat exhibits an evident sign of either mania or hypomania, which are similar in their manifestations. It is stated that the key difference between bipolar 1 and bipolar 2 according to DSM-V is that the former contains at least a week-long manic episode, which may or may not is followed by either hypomanic or depressive episodes, whereas the latter needs to contain both hypomanic and depressive episodes (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). In other words, bipolar 1 always has a manic episode, and bipolar 2 always has both hypomanic and depressive episodes (Sue et al., 2016). Since it is challenging to determine the length of each episode from the movie, the key distinctive evidence comes from the fact that at no point throughout the movie, Pat exhibits a depressive episode. Therefore, the lack of a depressive episode is indicative of the presence of bipolar type 1 disorder.

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It is important to note that both manic and hypomanic episodes share symptoms, and their difference can only be found in the severity levels. The symptoms include decreased need for sleep, loss of weight, abnormal behavior, risky behavior, irritability, obsession with a goal, inflated self-esteem, and talkativeness (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). For example, in the book reading scene, Pat reads a book until 4 a.m., which is indicative of decreased need for sleep, and he gets highly irritated by the plot that he throws the book out of the window of his room by breaking it, which shows his irritability and abnormal behavior (Russell, 2012). Pat is also obsessed by reuniting with his ex wife, whereas all people around him aware that it is not going to happen. In addition, during Pat’s interaction with his past co-worker, the latter individual is scared of him, and the main character shows signs of inflated self-esteem, talkativeness, and abnormal behavior (Russell, 2012). The fact that Pat is unemployed and unemployable is a strong indicator of bipolar 1 rather than bipolar 2, because manic episode can impair a person to such a degree, where he or she is unable to work. The last piece of evidence that Pat has bipolar 1 can be seen in the scene, where he violently and brutally beat a man who Pat’s ex-wife was cheating with (Russell, 2012). All these symptoms and the lack of portrayal of depressive episodes support the diagnosis of bipolar disorder type 1.

After researching the diagnostic criteria and watching the movie several times, it is clear that the portrayal of the illness is highly realistic and Bradley Cooper did an outstanding job playing Pat Solitano. The main reason is that he convincingly expresses all key signs of bipolar 1, where he is not one dimensional and can easily jump from being in control to losing the latter. It takes a highly professional and experienced actor to be able to play an individual in a manic episode with a consideration to all key behavioral signs. The character received medication or pharmacological treatment to suppress the manic episodes to make them more controllable (Russell, 2012). However, Pat occasionally deceiver his family and healthcare experts by skipping his medications since he did not like their effect. It is stated that “Mood-stabilizing medications such as lithium are the foundation of treatment for bipolar disorder” (Sue et al., 2016, p. 200). In addition, therapies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, and family-focused therapy can also be helpful for patients suffering from bipolar disorders (Sue et al., 2016). In the movie, Pat is undergoing a CBT therapy as well as taking medications, such as lithium (Russell, 2012). The form of treatment is not specifically explained in the film, but the fact that there are both medications and therapy makes it highly accurate.

Pat Solitano’s bipolar 1 disorder severely impacts his family, who are unable to control their son. For example, during an episode of severe mania, Pat accidently hits his mother after which his father starts punching and fighting his son (Russell, 2012). In addition, Pat disrespects his parents’ sleep by breaking into their room to express his displeasure with the book (Russell, 2012). It is stated that “bipolar 1 disorder usually has a poor prognosis. 50% of patients experience a second episode within two years of the first episode” (Jain & Mitra, 2021). Therefore, the dependency of substances or medications makes it challenging to reliable control the episodes, which leads to such a prognosis.

My reaction to the movie and its portrayal of the disorder can be described as fascinated and convinced. The latter is especially true since Bradley Cooper delivers an excellent performance, which made me, as a viewer, highly empathetic towards him. However, my reaction to my findings on the disorder is conflicted between concerned and hopefulness. I believe that people with bipolar disorders should have a better prognosis, which I am hopeful it happens. I am also concerned by the fact that such a disorder can be dangerous to others and the entire community can be affected by such an individual.


American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorder [PDF document]. Web.

Jain, A., & Mitra, P. (2021). Bipolar affective disorder. StatPearls Publishing.

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Russell, D. O. (2012). Silver linings playbook [Film]. The Weinstein Company.

Sue, D., Sue, D. W., & Sue, D. M. (2016). Essentials of understanding abnormal behavior. Cengage.

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