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AS Good as it Gets and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

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AS Good as it Gets and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

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  • December 24, 2003
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"as good as it gets" and Obsessive compulsive disorder

After recently watching the movie As Good as it Gets, starring Jack Nicholson (Melvin Udall) and Helen Hunt (Carol the Waitress), I was left with the impression of a very peculiar man who had some very strange habits. During the course of the movie, veiwers watched his condition go on a small rollercoaster ride, better to worse to better, and by the end of the movie Melvin is nearly cured. Faced with the task to diagnose this weird and wonderful man, I eventually came to the conclusion that he suffered from nothing other than Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder can take many different forms. According to the DSM IV-TR, the essential features of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder are recurrent obsessions and compulsions that are severe enough to be time consuming, at least one hour a day or more. Obsessions are recurrent and persistent thoughts, impulses, or images that seem to invade one's mind despite attempts to ignore or suppress them. These thoughts are not simply excessive worries about real life problems. In other words, they are not legitimate worries about routine life issues such as finance, children, or the grade one will receive on a paper one wrote for class. Instead, they are senseless and unrealistic. Some examples of things people might be obsessed with might include germs, dirt, religious thoughts, and sexual thoughts or images. Obsessions may also center around special numbers, in Melvin's case, the number five.

Compulsions are the actions, or thoughts, that the individual performs to briefly reliefe his or her obsessions. Obsessions provoke compulsions. They are voluntary, irresistible actions that are ritualistic. People with OCD do not enjoy carrying out these rituals. All that they receive from them is temporary relieve from the anxiety caused by their obsessive thoughts. Including Melvin, about eighty percent of all OCD sufferers experience compulsions....