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OCD in the Aviator Essay

Aviator is a movie about Howard Hughes. In this movie, Leonardo DiCaprio portrays Howard Hughes. The movie centers on his life from the 1920’s to the late 1940’s. The movie focuses on what he did for aviation and movie producing. In the beginning of the movie, he gets an interest in aviation and film producing. The first movie that Hughes produces is Hells Angels, which took several years to complete and during the shooting he decided to add sound to the film. As the movie goes on, becomes involved with actress Katherine Hepburn (played by Kate Blanchett) and they live together and she helps with his OCD symptoms. As the movie goes on, he continues with his aviation passion. He then purchases TWA (Transcontinental & Western Air) and then later he test the H-1 Racer and as he testing the plane, he attempts to set a new speed record, but then ends up crashing it.

Later on, Juan Tippe (played by Alec Baldwin) chairman for Pan America World Airways (Pan Am) was determined to not let Hughes challenge his company’s success. Then Senator Owen Brewster (played by Alan Alda) introduced a bill that would Pan Am a monopoly on international air travel. Then later on, Hughes breaks up with Katherine and then later pursues Faith Dormergue (played by Kelli Garner) and then actress Ava Gardner (played by Kate Beckinsale). Later then, he secures contracts to build 2 planes a spy aircraft and a troop transport for World War 2 for the American Air Force. But he only completes one, which is the XF-11 reconnaissance aircraft, but by the time it is done the war has been done for over a year, he was also building the Spruce Goose flying boat. Hughes OCD worsens; his symptoms are repetition of phrases and a phobia of dust and germs.

Once he completed that XF-11, he took it out for a test run, one of the engines malfunctions, which results in him crashing the plane and is severely injured. Then with the result of that incident his flying boat order is cancelled, but he decides to put his own money to develop the aircraft. Later on when he is discharged, he has to pick between funding TWA or his flying boat. Hughes then orders his partner Noah Dietrich (played by John C. Reilly) to mortgage the TWA assets so he then can continue on his flying boat aircraft called the Hercules. Then Hughes’s house gets searched by the FBI for incrementing evidence of war profiteering. With all the investigators in his house, this event is causing Hughes trauma due to his OCD. Then Brewster offers to drop charges if Hughes sells TWA to Trippe and Hughes declines. This then sends Hughes into a depression and shuts himself into his screen room and grows detached from reality. Then Trippe comes by sitting outside of his screen room tries to persuade Hughes to sell TWA but Hughes refuses.

Trippe irritated then leaves Hughes’s house. After Hughes has shut himself away for nearly 3 months, then gets himself prepared for the hearing. After the hearing, he concludes by announcing that he will finish his flying boat aircraft and he will leave the country if it doesn’t fly. Hughes successfully flies the aircraft and after he is back from flying the aircraft, he is approached by Glenn Odekirk (played by Matt Ross) about a new jetliner for TWA. Then Hughes relapses by repeating the phrase they way of the future, this continues on for a couple of minutes with him ending the movie by saying the same phrase the way of the future. Does this meet the diagnostic criteria? Yes I believe it does if you watch how Leo portrays Hughes and how he shows the ticks when the lights of cameras are breaking, how obsessively washes his hands, and how he repeats phrases and words.

DSM-5 Diagnostic Criteria for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: Presence of obsessions, compulsions, or both: obsessions are defined by recurrent and persistent thoughts, urges, or impulses that are experienced, at some time during the disturbance, as intrusive and unwanted, and that in most individuals cause marked anxiety or distress. The individual attempts to ignore or suppress such thoughts, urges, or images, or to neutralize them with some other thought or action (i.e., by performing a compulsion). Compulsions are defined by repetitive behaviors (e.g., hand washing, ordering, checking) or mental acts (e.g., praying, counting, repeating words silently) that the individual feels driven to perform in response to an obsession or according to rules that must be applied rigidly.

The behaviors or mental acts are aimed at preventing or reducing anxiety or distress, or preventing some dreaded event or situation; however, these behaviors or mental acts are not connected in a realistic way with what they are designed to neutralize or prevent, or are clearly excessive. Please note that young children may not be able to articulate the aims of these behaviors or mental acts. The obsessions or compulsions are time-consuming (e.g., take more than 1 hour per day) or cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. The obsessive-compulsive symptoms are not attributable to the physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication) or another medical condition.

The disturbance is not better explained by the symptoms of another mental disorder (e.g., excessive worries, as in generalized anxiety disorder; preoccupation with appearance, as in body dysmorphic disorder; difficulty discarding or parting with possessions, as in hoarding disorder; hair pulling, as in trichotillomania [hair-pulling disorder]; skin picking, as in excoriation [skin-picking] disorder; stereotypies, as in stereotypic movement disorder; ritualized eating behavior, as in eating disorders; preoccupation with substances or gambling, as in substance-related and addictive disorders; preoccupation with having an illness, as in illness anxiety disorder; sexual urges or fantasies, as in paraphilic disorders; impulses, as in disruptive, impulse-control, and conduct disorders; guilty ruminations, as in major depressive disorder; thought insertion or delusional preoccupations, as in schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders; or repetitive patterns of behavior, as in autism spectrum disorder).

Specify if:

With good or fair insight: The individual recognizes that obsessive-compulsive disorder beliefs are definitely or probably not true or that they may or may not be true.

With poor insight: The individual thinks obsessive-compulsive disorder beliefs are probably true.

With absent insight/delusional beliefs: The individual is completely convinced that obsessive-compulsive disorder beliefs are true.

 In conclusion, I believe that the disorder is portrayed well according to the DSM 5 but it did say that people repeat words or phrases inside their heads instead of actually saying them out loud like the movie showed.

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