CBC Program Guide

OCD: The War Inside

I'm afraid I'll hurt babies., I worry I'll catch AIDS., I think my family is going to be kidnapped., I'm never really sure whether I've done something so I do it over and over and over...

They seem like ordinary people. They have no physical disabilities and have every appearance of being as functional as the next person. But their lives have been shadowed by the crippling effects of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, a misunderstood anxiety disorder characterized by intrusive thoughts, nagging fears and ritualistic behaviour.

In OCD: The War Inside directors Mark Pancer, an OCD sufferer himself, and David Hoffert have documented personal stories from several individuals including Andrew, Grace, Tricia and Marvin, who fight to survive a war inside their minds.

Andrew is an intelligent, athletic nine-year-old boy, but his anxieties lead him to perform series after series of bizarre acts, sometimes gnawing on dirty floors or placing a knife in his mouth. During the five-year span of the film his younger sister Ainsley is also diagnosed with OCD, and the parents work with counsellors and therapists to come to grips with the disorder's seemingly unbreakable hold over their children.

For Grace, a former fashion designer, medication no longer works. Her fears of contamination have made her a prisoner in her own home and hospitalization has become an expected part of her future. Both her daughter and husband suffer the effects of Grace's inability to hug or even hold hands.

An articulate and sensitive teenager, Tricia felt that she had finally overcome OCD and returned to a normal life through medication. When a suspected side-effect forces her to discontinue treatment, the pain felt by Tricia and her parents is evident. Nevertheless Tricia remains hopeful and determined to follow her dreams for a career.

Marvin developed OCD late in life. In an attempt to relieve the disorder, Marvin undergoes a rare and risky brain operation, which proves unsuccessful. Finding self-acceptance, Marvin has rebuilt his life and even found new love.

These are the faces of OCD. They don't look any different on the outside. But inside, a daily war is waged for survival.

2001, 70 min 40 s

More info: http://www.onf-nfb.gc.ca

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