Ocd Essay, Research Paper
Obsessive-compulsive disorder is an anxiety disorder characterized by unwanted repetitive thoughts (obsessions) and actions (compulsions). The obsessive thoughts may range from the idea of losing control, safety or cleanliness. Compulsions are associated behaviors, which help reduce the anxiety surrounding those obsessions. Obsessive-Compulsive disorder is one of the more difficult to understand of the psychiatric disorders. People who have this condition find themselves repeating certain behaviors and thoughts over and over again. They understand that repetition is unnecessary, but they are unable to stop them. Common forms of this are checking doors, locks, appliances, and excessive hand washing, bathing, and tooth brushing. They usually experience severe anxiety if they are unable to complete their rituals.
In As Good As It Gets movie, the main character Melvin Udall (played by Jack Nicholson) is a successful author who also suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder. He lives alone in a New York City apartment, and has a pathological fear of germs and stepping on sidewalk cracks. He also has the meanest verbal shots at anyone who comes within his radar. Throughout the movie, Melvin Udall shows clear and undeniable signs of obsessive-compulsive disorder. For the first time in the movie, Melvin Udall enter his apartment, he repeats “one, two, three, four, five” as he locks all of the locks on his door. He then proceeds to turn on the light switches in his kitchen, again repeating “one, two, three, four, five.” He proceeds immediately to the bathroom where he opens a huge medicine cabinet filled completely with unwrapped bars of soap and uses two of these as he washes his hand in water so hot that he screams “hot, hot, hot.” He throws out both bars immediately after that. Further on, we see him walking on the street jumping inconsistently to avoid stepping on any sidewalk cracks, while screaming “don’t touch!” to everyone he passes. And throughout the movie, whenever he attends the restaurant where Carol Connelly, his regular waitress and eventually lover (played by Helen Hunt) works, he always brings his own plastic silver wear in order to avoid using those of the restaurant.
The fact that he has obsessive-compulsive disorder is even states clearly, when he went to his psychotherapist without making an appointment, Melvin says to him: “How can you diagnose someone as having obsessive compulsive disorder and then pretend I had some choice about barging in?” When he encounters people who appear to be Jewish sitting at his regular table, he shamelessly screams out “I’ve got Jews at my table” and says to them “What-appetites aren’t as big as your noses?” After he overhears his waitress express her feeling about her son’s horrible medical condition, Melvin says to her: ” We’re all going to die soon. I will, you will, and it sure sounds like your son will.” Also, when he went to his regular restaurant and Carol the waitress wasn t there, he scowled a waitress who filled in for her as an elephant girl. Later, when a young lady who appears to be a fan asked him how he writes women so well in his books, he replies to her, in the meanest of voices “Well, I think of a man and I take away reason and accountability.” Clearly, Mr. Udall doesn’t care at all about conformity to even the simplest of social restrictions and seems in fact to take delight in being mean.
The new studies belief that obsessive-compulsive disorder is based on the interaction of neurobiological factors and environmental influences, as well as cognitive processes. Studies of twins and families also show that there may be a genetic or inherited factor to OCD. In other words, if someone in your immediate family has OCD, you may be more likely to be affected yourself. But a lot of the cause of OCD seems to be psychological, as heightened stress leads to obsessive thinking that provokes anxiety, which can only be revealed by performing compulsive actions. This often has its roots in childhood when parents overly strict and rigid regarding child’s behavior. In this matter, Melvin says in the movie that his father hit his hands with a stick when he made a mistake playing the piano. That is a very good example of a childhood experience that can lead to obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Melvin’s disorders have a highly damaging effect on his social life. He has no social relationships until the end of the movie and all of his limited encounters with other people are hostile. He seems to live alone for a very long time, but we see that his complete lack of friendship and love in his life is not what he wants but it is a result of his disorders. This is clearly illustrated in the scene where Melvin actually cries when he has to return the neighbor s dog back to its owner. That was the closest relationship he has ever had. While Mr. Udall’s disorders are damaging his social life, they seem to be greatly beneficial to his accomplishment in his career as a writer, as his extreme isolation allows him to produce a large amount of well-written novels.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder is known to be rather difficult to treat. When treatment is not effectively received, symptoms often continue throughout patient’s life. With treatment, however, the symptoms can often be reduced or eliminated which is what apparently happens to Melvin Udall at the end of the movie. Both drug and cognive-behavioral therapies are used to treat OCD. Both psychoactive drugs and behavioral treatments would probably be needed to help Melvin overcome his problems. Medications known as Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SRI) are often effective in the treatment of OCD.