Need help with your Assignment?

Get a timely done, PLAGIARISM-FREE paper
from our highly-qualified writers!

Psychology Movie Review -As Good As It Gets

Psychology Movie Review -As Good As It Gets

Mental health disorders have been implicated in human suffering and increased morbidity and mortality. The incidence of these disorders has seen an exponential rise, with their impact being felt on healthcare systems in many countries across the globe. In the US alone, the prevalence of mental health disorders is about 20%, with estimates suggesting that one out of five adults may be suffering from one form of mental illness. Common mental disorders include depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and dementia. These disorders differ in their presentation as well as their pathophysiology. Some, however, produce considerable suffering to their victims, with morbidity and mortality being a common consequence. Therapeutic approaches have been developed that considerably alleviate suffering among these patients. This paper seeks to analyze the movie “As Good As It Gets,” with emphasis on a mental disorder exhibited in one of the characters.

The movie “As Good As It Gets,” directed by James L. Brooks, portrays Melvin Udall, a character who suffers from Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). As evident in the movie, this character exhibits traits consistent with the symptoms of OCD, such as having to avoid cracks on walkways while walking down the streets and having to eat at the same restaurant, at the same table spot. As the movie progresses, a chronological turn of events ensues that draws this character to Carol, a waitress, who initially appears to tolerate his unique behaviours. As the movie ends, Melvin seems to have overcome some of his do n’t-dos even stepping on a crack along the walkways without noticing.

OCD is a mental disorder characterized by recurring thoughts or obsessions and compulsions. People with OCD tend to have anxiety as a consequence of repeated thought processes, mental images, or urges. These individuals tend to react disproportionately to an otherwise inconsequential action. Compulsion in OCD tends to be a response to an obsessive thought and often triggers a series of repetitive, ritualistic behaviours. Individuals with OCD tend to avoid situations or life difficulties that trigger their obsession (Abramovitch & Cooperman, 2016). However, stress can, in some instances, worsen the symptoms of this disorder.

Obsessive symptoms in OCD often cause considerable anxiety. Stress as well has been linked with anxiety. Prolonged stress episodes cause the release of hormones corticotropin and cortisol. These hormones have been implicated in anxiety as well as in mood disorders. Additionally, stress worsens obsessive episodes of OCD. Stress is, therefore, an unfavourable presentation in OCD due to its dual effects in worsening symptoms as well as in the promotion of anxiety which is a likely consequence of both OCD and stress.

OCD symptoms vary from person to person. The manifestations of these symptoms often require a trigger that may be in the form of alterations in attitudes, beliefs, and behaviour, among others. The character portrayed in this movie maintains attitudinal, behavioural, and personal beliefs over various aspects of his life. To begin with, the character maintains the place and position of eating his breakfast. As captured in the movie, the character often maintains specificity in the time to have breakfast, restaurant, table at the restaurant, and position on the table. The character is considerably disturbed when either of these is disrupted.

Additionally, the character tends to avoid cracks on walkways along the streets. Whereas cracks on city walkways remain insignificant to most pedestrians, to Melvin, these cracks seemed to disturb him a great deal. Walking down these walkways, he consciously and carefully avoids them and feels very bad if he accidentally sets his foot on the smallest of the cracks.

The character also finds great difficulty in coping with various life changes. When he is challenged to take care of his neighbour’s dog, Verdell, he adapts to this situational change and accepts the challenge. He, however, develops an interest in the dog over time and is emotionally disturbed upon being asked to return the dog. He is also unable to find a waitress replacement for Carol when she leaves to tend to her asthmatic son. These changes adversely affect Melvin’s well-being and are even forced to pay for Carol’s son’s treatment for her to return and resume her waitress duties to help serve him breakfast.

The patient has a positive diagnosis of obsessive-compulsive disorder. This is due to the consistency of the symptoms he presents and the symptoms of OCD described in the literature. The DSM-5 diagnostic tool of mental disorders designates OCD a DSM code of DSM-5 300.3(F42). The character portrayed in the movie exhibits obsessive and compulsive symptoms (Abramovitch & Cooperman, 2016). DSM tool for mental disorders assigns codes to mental disorders based on symptom clusters that are descriptive of a specific mental illness.

Obsessive symptoms are defined by his ritualistic behaviour of avoiding cracks as well as in his ability to maintain the specificity of time, place, and table position of having breakfast.

Obsessive symptoms of OCD are characterized by intrusive, persistent recurrent thought processes and images. Individuals tend to either suppress, ignore or neutralize these obsessive thoughts. All these were evident in the patient. Adequate diagnosis will be dependent on adequate history taking to include all symptoms that reinforce the clinical suspicion. Whereas DSM-5 tools exist that aid clinicians in making a diagnosis by classifying symptoms of various mental disorders, adequate symptomatology remains critical in making a positive diagnosis. Symptom overlap among differentials may also present difficulty in symptom classification which is necessary for making a conclusive diagnosis using the DSM tool. Additionally, adequate time is required to enable the capturing of symptoms.

Psychological models exist that are targeted at explaining various mental or psychological abnormalities. These models include psychodynamic, behaviourism, and humanistic models, among others. The cognitive psychosocial model best describes the symptoms presented by the character portrayed by Melvin in the movie. This theoretical model postulates that persons with obsessive-compulsive disorders have faulty beliefs. As per this model, the disorder is due to improper interpretation of their intrusive and obsessive thoughts. Individuals with OCD tend to inappropriately interpret actions and thought processes that are otherwise normal to other people. According to these individuals, these actions or thought processes are viewed as very important and are therefore prioritized (Berman, Schwartz & Park, 2021). As in the case of Melvin, avoiding cracks along a walkway is interpreted as very important and therefore prioritized.

Treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorders utilizes both pharmacotherapeutic and psychotherapeutic interventions. Pharmacotherapy with drugs utilizes the antidepressant pharmacological class of drugs. Selective serotonin inhibitors have found considerable use in the treatment of this disorder. Pharmacological interventions are, however, not adequate in relieving symptoms when used as sole agents. Their sole use is, however, not recommended. Superior efficacy is realized when pharmacological agents are used together with psychological interventions such as cognitive-behavioural therapy.

Psychological therapy utilizes interventions such as cognitive-behavioral therapy. Cognitive-behavioural therapy maintains superiority over other therapeutic interventions (Gava et al., 2017). It is for this reason that it remains the first-line intervention in the symptomatic improvement of OCD. Cognitive-behavioural therapy entails subjecting individuals to their fears. It requires that an individual’s fears are first identified, and then the individuals are made to face these fears without adopting compulsive behaviours or reactions to neutralize or suppress them. This modality of therapy maintains high efficacy in the treatment of OCD as well as other mental disorders, which explains its widespread use.

In Melvin’s case depicted in the movie under scrutiny, the character undergoes a steady transition throughout the plot. These changes are centred around behaviour, attitude, and beliefs. In the early plot of the movie, this character is depicted as one who doesn’t like dogs and one who exhibits a considerable obsession with the environment, as evident in his avoidance of stepping on walkway cracks. Upon living with his neighbour’s dog, the character becomes attracted to dogs and is even disturbed by their separation. Additionally, the character is depicted stepping on sidewalk cracks in the concluding scenes of the movie. This is an exhibition of an altered belief on the walkway cracks, something he is seen avoiding in the majority of scenes of the film.

Deep brain stimulation has also been used in the treatment of OCD. However, its use is limited to OCD which is resistant to cognitive behavioral therapy and CBT-antidepressant combinations. When used, it has been shown to adequately alleviate anxiety symptoms and thus maintain considerably high efficacy in OCD. Additionally, this therapeutic modality has been used to improve global functioning and in the treatment of depressive disorders.

Mental disorders have increasingly been implicated in human suffering, morbidity, and mortality. The prevalence of these disorders has increased over the recent past. Obsessive-compulsive disorder is an example of a mental disorder that is characterized by obsession and compulsion. Obsessive symptoms of this disorder may sometimes cause anxiety and mood disorders. An underlying episode of stress may worsen this. The character portrayed by the movie “As Good As It Gets” has a positive diagnosis of OCD. His symptoms are consistent with the symptoms of OCD. DSM-5 diagnostic tool assigns OCD a diagnostic code of DSM-5 300.3(F42). Various psychological models have been postulated that are targeted at explaining the symptomatology of mental disorders. Treatment of these disorders utilizes CBT and pharmacotherapy with drugs.


Abramovitch, A., & Cooperman, A. (2016). The cognitive neuropsychology of obsessive-compulsive disorder: A critical review. Journal Of Obsessive-Compulsive And Related Disorders5, 24-36.

Berman, N., Schwartz, R., & Park, J. (2021). Psychological Models and Treatments of OCD for Adults. Retrieved 8 October 2021, from

Gava, I., Barbui, C., Aguglia, E., Carlino, D., Churchill, R., De Vanna, M., & McGuire, H. (2017). Psychological treatments versus treatment as usual for the obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Cochrane Database Of Systematic Reviews


We’ll write everything from scratch


Locate a movie, “AS GOOD AS IT GETS”
In an essay of 1,000-1,250 words, address the following:

How is stress related to the disorder displayed by the character you chose (anxiety, stress, or phobia disorder)?
What are some of the irrational or abnormal beliefs, attitudes, and behaviours the characters displayed, and how did they manifest?

Psychology Movie Review -As Good As It Gets

Psychology Movie Review -As Good As It Gets

Using current DSM diagnostic codes, what is a possible diagnosis for your character?
What psychological model best explains the cause of the symptoms/behaviours? Based on this model, explain a possible treatment plan, including some ways the character can modify the stress and reduce anxiety (cope).

Use the GCU Library databases and include two to four scholarly sources from the GCU Library to support your claims. In addition to the scholarly resources from the library, you can include past classroom materials, your textbook, and credible internet-based sources (.org, .edu, .mil, .gov).

Prepare this assignment according to the guidelines found in the APA Style Guide, located in the Student Success Centre

Order Solution Now