Obsessive Compulsive Disorder In The Movie: As Good As It Gets

1664 Words 7 Pages
Melvin Udall, the protagonist from the film As Good as It Gets is a person who suffers from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Once analyzing the psychopathology of the illness along with Melvin’s actions and personality traits, one can see how Melvin clearly suffers from OCD. The film did an impressive job on magnifying the reality of OCD and how it affects the victim’s life. It also negates that OCD, while debilitating, is not a hopeless illness, and that with proper treatment and support, one can overcome it and live a relatively normal life.
Introduction:
As Good as It Gets is a 1997 comedy-drama directed by James L. Brooks that stars Jack Nicholson as Melvin Udall. Melvin is a famous, fairly wealthy fictional romance writer, but, is also
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While he is in the hospital, Melvin was forced to take care of Verdel and in doing so, Melvin’s personality softens. The course of the film features Melvin and his constant struggle with OCD, but it also shows how with help and social connections, his symptoms begin to alleviate.
Psychopathology:
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a mental disorder that is characterized by a series of intrusive and distressing thoughts known as obsessions, and followed by repetitive physical or mental acts in return, known as compulsions (Butcher, Hooley, & Mineka, 2014, pp. 194-95). OCD was once thought to be a rare disease but it is not as rare as one thought anymore: the lifetime prevalence is currently at 2.5% (Greenburg & Bienenfeld, 2016).
An individual with OCD will suffer from obsessions. These obsessions can be recurrent and persistent thoughts, urges, or even images that are unwanted (Greenburg & Bienenfeld, 2016). In return, these intrusive obsessions cause a great deal of anxiety and distress in the individual (Greenburg & Bienenfeld,
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What makes OCD an unique disorder is the fact that the individual who suffers from it is well aware that they are being illogical and unreasonable; however, it does not lessen the anxiety nor the distress (Butcher, Hooley, & Mineka, 2014, pp. 194-95).
Obsessions lead to compulsions which tend to be repetitive behaviors that an individual performs to rid his or herself of the intrusive thoughts. Compulsions can be tasks such as handwashing, organizing, praying, or repeating words silently (Greenburg & Bienenfeld, 2016). The individual is also likely to have a set of “rules that they must follow through rigidly in order to prevent their fears or obsessions from becoming a reality (Greenburg & Bienenfeld, 2016).
While it is common for a person without OCD to check for things such as locks and partake in cleansing rituals, the vast difference is that a person who suffers from OCD does so excessively (Butcher, Hooley, & Mineka, 2014, pp. 194-95). Their compulsions are not logical and only alleviates anxiety for a short period of time. The obsession will eventually creep up again and the individual will once more resort to compulsions, making it a vicious cycle (Butcher, Hooley, & Mineka, 2014, pp.

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