Clinical diagnosis and case analysis: “gia”

The purpose of this assignment is to give you experience in understanding the complex nature of substance use disorders and Behavioral Health treatment. Students will select a movie (needs professor approval) that covers a topic of discussion within the class. Each student will formulate a diagnosis of a selected character and discuss the rationale and supporting evidence for the given diagnosis. The student will also provide considerations for 1 additional diagnosis with support. Using the DSM V reporting structure, the student will also provide a case analysis which provides a comprehensive assessment of the character of choice. Students will assess the situation for treatment approaches, outcomes, and possible pitfalls (medication considerations should also be discussed in this case analysis with rationale).

Each student is responsible for watching the movie and writing a critical response paper with scholarly references (no less than 5). The response paper is a 5-7 page typewritten/double-spaced paper synthesizing information about a topic related to assigned readings such as case studies, films, and or class discussions. This paper will be graded on the student’s ability to integrate learned and experiential knowledge incorporating critical thinking skills. Spelling and grammar are important components of the grading process. Must use texts as a source: 1. Straussner, S. (2014). Clinical Work with Substance Abusing Clients. (3rd Ed.). New York, NY: Guildford Press. 2. McNeece, C. A. & DiNitto, D. M. (2012). Chemical dependency: A systems approach (4th ed.). Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

Students will complete the following tasks:

1. Provide a thorough description (no more than 2 paragraphs) of the movie and character of choice (Gia).

This means that enough information should be provided that even if the reader is not fully aware of

the situation, they can understand what is going on and the scenario.

2. Student will identify possible diagnoses (consider both SUD and MH as well as other conditions that

could impact treatment). Provide a rationale which supports this diagnosis and how it relates to the

main character.

3. Student will then apply an initial treatment plan to this client which will identify ASAM PPC 2R

level of care as well as additional treatment considerations and rationale for the selected course of

action. The student will elaborate on how this scenario and course of action could potentially affect the

client and outcomes.

4. Student will provide 1 alternate diagnosis for the identified character with rationale.

5. The student will discuss this diagnosis within the larger context of social work practice and the

community. Considerations and advice to other social workers for addressing similar clients.

Movie of Choice

Gia (1998)


‘Gia’ is a 1998 HBO (Home Box Office network) biographical TV movie that chronicles the tragedy of America’s first supermodel – Gia Marie Carangi.

What is the Plot?

A Philadelphia native, Gia arrives in New York City, all starry-eyed and brimming with ambition as a fashion model. With the help of a happening agent, Wilhelmina Cooper, Gia soon rises to the top of the modeling industry. But a brooding sense of loneliness, amplified after Cooper’s death, drives Gia towards experimenting with cocaine and heroin to alleviate her depression. Gia goes on to hook up with Linda, a makeup artist. In between, Gia tries to get off the drug bandwagon by shifting to methadone. But when forced to choose between methadone and Linda, Gia opts for the former.

Gia falls back upon heroin following failed attempts at rapprochement with Linda and similarly with her mother, Kathleen. While she manages to get rid of her drug addiction, it’s too late for Gia as it turns out that AIDS has set in as a fallout of constant intravenous drug use. Gia spends the rest of her life in a hospital.

Who are the Stars?

The movie stars Angelina Jolie in the title role, while Mila Kunis played the part of an 11-year old Gia. Modeling agent Wilhelmina Cooper was handled with aplomb by Faye Dunaway, while Elizabeth Mitchell played the role of Gia’s lover and makeup artist Linda. Mercedes Ruehl played Kathleen Carangi, Gia’s mother.

How is it About Addiction and Recovery?

‘Gia’ tells the story behind the substance dependence of America’s first supermodel. The movie details the situations that come along the road to fame – loneliness, friendlessness, depression. It shows how Gia tries to overcome her cocaine habit by switching to methadone, which in turn becomes an addiction. The addiction is so solidly entrenched that she initially prefers it to the company of her lover, Linda.

Do the Characters Recover from Substance Use Disorder?

Gia does recover from her drug addiction, but to her consternation, she finds herself afflicted with AIDS – the fallout of intravenous drug use.

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