As Good As It Gets, depicts the daily events in the life of Melvin Udall. Mr. Udall, a best selling author from New York City, loves his daily routine of life. He has a difficult time handling changes in his apartment building, dealing with other people, or breaking certain habits that bring him comfort and stability. It seems that he has an overall mistrust of people, which causes him to alienate himself from anyone he interacts with.
He has a very hard time establishing relationships, building trust, and expressing his feelings. Mr. Udall not only has issues with humans, but he also has issues with germs and cleanliness. He washes his hands in scalding hot water with new bars of soap and uses disposable eating utensils while eating out. In light of this brief summary of characteristics, one can use the DSM-IV-TR to assess the symptoms presented in Mr. Udall. According to the DSM-IV-TR, Mr. Udall suffers from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and Avoidant Personality Disorder. The first of the two disorders pertains to Mr. Udall’s obsessions and rituals. The second of the two disorders pertain to Mr.
Udall’s alienation of people. According to the diagnostic criteria for OCD (diagnostic code 300. 3), Mr. Udall suffers from the following symptoms: reccurrent and persistent thoughts, impulses, or images that are experienced with anxiety or distress at the time of the disturbance; the thoughts, impulses, or images are more complex than just simple worries about real life problems; he attempts to ignore or suppress mental turmoil by trying to think about other topics; and he recognizes that his thoughts are coming from within his mind and not being inserted by an outside force.
The compulsions are defined as repetitive behaviors such as hand washing or certain measures taken to bring safety and reduce anxiety (American Psychiatric Association, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 2000) . According to the diagnostic criteria for Avoidant Personality Disorder (diagnostic code 301. 82), MR. Udall suffers from the following symptoms: he followers a pervasive pattern of social inhibition, feelings of inadequacy, and hypersensitivity to negative evaluation; he avoids certain situations hat requires interpersonal contact; is unwilling to get involved with people unless he is absolutely certain that he is accepted; shows restraint in intimate personal relationships for fear of being shamed or ridiculed; and is reluctant to take personal risks or engage in any new activity because of feeling embarrassed (DSM-IV-TR, 2000). In conclusion, by the end of the movie Mr. Udall started a journey in overcoming his issues resulting from his OCD and avoidance problems. He found an intimate partner in Carol. It seems that she is a strong, positive force in bringing him security and safety.
I wish we could see more in the continuation of this story. It would be interesting to see how the character could continue to evolve into a person willing to take risks and live life open with endless possibilities. Lastly, this movie has given me a new desire to help people like Melvin Udall. This exercise has helped me see how I can take the textbook knowledge of specific disorders and explain them/treat them in relation to the DSM-IV-TR. This has been very beneficial for me. Works Cited American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Desk reference to the Diagnostic Criteria from DSM-IV-TR (3rd ed. ). American Psychiatric Press: Arlington, VA.