Abnormal Psychology On-Line
What About Bob
"Multi-phobic personality characterized by acute separation anxiety . . ." This is Dr. Leo Marvin's diagnosis of Bob Wiley in the movie What About Bob. But exactly what does this mean? We all seem to have a vague understanding of what a phobia is, whether is be from watching movies or our own personal experiences. But what exactly constitutes a phobia, and how does acute separation anxiety fit in to the diagnosis of this character? The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) was designed to provide a classification system and means of diagnosis for over 400 mental disorders. By evaluating a client based upon the five separate axes of the DSM-IV, the therapist can come up with a complete diagnosis of a client and use that diagnosis to determine what type of therapy will work best for that client. A diagnosis of Bob Wiley under the DSM-IV criteria would probably read something like this: Axis I - agoraphobic accompanied by multiple specific phobias, Axis II - of dependant personality disorder characterized by acute separation anxiety, Axis III - unknown, Axis IV - lives alone. But what exactly does this mean? Under Axis I, agoraphobia is marked by anxiety about being in places where escape may be difficult or embarrassing if panic-like symptoms occur. Bob's agoraphobia is "classic" as defined in DSM-IV, and is alluded to in his working out of his house, his difficulty leaving his home, and his telling Dr. Marvin that "public places are impossible" and he fears that "his bladder may explode" while he is out and looking for a bathroom. Bob even describes his symptoms when he wants "to go out" as being "dizziness, cold sweats, hot sweats, fever blisters, difficulty swallowing, involuntary trembling, numb lips . . ." and so on. Bob Wiley is a severe multi-phobic; he seems to be afraid of almost everything. In their first interview session, Bob tells Dr....
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