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Bob Wiley from the film What About Bob? displays several distinct features of psychological disorders described and identified in the DSM-IV Manual. Among the mental illnesses Bob exhibits Agoraphobia, Germophobia, Panic Attacks, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Histrionic Personality Disorder, and Factitious Disorder. These disorders all manifest themselves separately and, according to the Axes of the DSM-IV, completely or partially fulfill the criteria of the previously mentioned disorders.
In the beginning of the film, Bob describes his disorder as a fear of germs, and a nervous feeling whenever he leaves the confines of his home. He describes his compulsive need to fake illness to hide his disorders, and that he often “blacks out” or “loses consciousness”. He exhibits germophobia when interacting with public telephones, along with a general agoraphobia shown when he stepped out of his home and fell into a crouched position as a large truck goes by. These phobias are compounded by a general anxiety that extends to all other of his activities.
The agoraphobia is perhaps the clearest of Bob’s diagnosable problems. Bob avoids public and confined situations (which may hint at an element of claustrophobia), such as the elevator, which is an experience he endures as he screams at the top of his lungs. Whether it is the elevator or the bus, Bob pushes through it saying “Baby steps to…” and following the Doctor’s advice. Bob exhibits pathological nervousness when in situations where getting away can be difficult or where getting help may be difficult if his anxiety occurs. He states this quite clearly when he tells Dr. Marvin about his fear of his heart exploding, or about his fear that he will not find a bathroom in time and his bladder will explode.
Nevertheless, Bob’s agoraphobia does not inhibit him from going out in public. Even
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An archetype is a recurring symbolic
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