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Nicholson’s portrayal of obsessive compulsive disorder in “As Good As It Gets” performs major public service by raising awareness of anxiety disorders

The Anxiety Disorders Association of America (ADAA) has bestowed upon Jack Nicholson the first annual R.E.A.L. Award (“Realistic Enactment of Anxiety and Living”) for Achievement in the Arts for the Accurate Depiction of an Anxiety Disorder, for his portrayal of a person with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) in the movie “As Good As It Gets.”

“We believe that Mr. Nicholson’s portrayal of Melvin Udall – a person with obsessive compulsive disorder, one of the most crippling anxiety disorders – performs a tremendous public service by raising awareness about these disorders,” stated Jerilyn Ross, MA, LICSW, President of the ADAA. “Mr. Nicholson’s depiction, including the character’s quest for appropriate treatment, will be helpful in demonstrating that there is help, support and treatment for these disorders.”

More than 23 million Americans will suffer from some form of anxiety disorder during their lifetimes. Leading South African experts believe South Africa reflects similar figures. While these conditions can be disabling, they are also very responsive to treatment. Yet tragically, less than 23 percents of those who suffer from anxiety disorders ever receive treatment. Anxiety disorders include generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, phobias, OCD and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The ADAA created the first annual R.E.A.L. award to recognise and honour people in the entertainment and literary arts for their achievement in bringing to life characters that provide insights into what people with anxiety disorders cope with on a daily basis.