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photo Worried Sick
By Terry Spencer Hesser & Leslie Mauer

This up-to-date video on Obsessive Compulsive Disorder sees the puzzling disorder as a "shape-shifter." Its symptoms can change and mutate, sometimes erupting, sometimes controlled, but never quite disappearing. Worried Sick presents the revealing personal narratives of ten people whose OCD almost cost them their jobs, their relationships, their freedom, and their faith. It gives viewers the opportunity to experience reality as they do, and to understand the desperation and loneliness they have felt.

Susan lost a job as her fears of contamination gradually came to dominate her life; Bill is unable even to touch his children. Every time her car hits a bump, Shannon fears that she has killed someone. Charlie's obsessions almost destroyed his ability to practice medicine, while Patricia says that she would have committed suicide, except that her obsessions left her too tired to work out a plan. Twelve-year-old Adam had to invent elaborate and embarrassing verbal rituals to protect himself from his terrors, and producer Terry Spencer Hesser herself suffered from such extreme religious scrupulosity that she felt doomed and anxious all the time.

Many of those in the film have benefited from exposure therapy (as one participant describes it: "If it makes you feel anxious, do it!) as well as from other behavioral approaches and medication. But some have found that as one set of obsessions is brought under control, others may appear.

The documentary also examines current research data on brain structures involved with OCD symptoms, and on possible causes of the disorder, which may include streptococcal infections in childhood, chemical or environmental exposures, and head injuries. It features interviews with a wide range of leading researchers and clinicians, including Michael Jenike, MD, Director of Boston's McLean Clinic.

Producer Terry Spencer Hesser's novel about OCD, Kissing Doorknobs, was chosen as one of the American Library Association's top ten novels for teens.

53 minutes
© 2002
Purchase $229 DVD
Order No. QA-379
ISBN (DVD) 1-57295-955-X
close captioned

"Beautifully crafted — a gripping depiction of the many faces of obsessive compulsive disorder. The stories vividly told in this film will go a long way to help break the cycle of prejudice and shame toward mental illness in general and OCD specifically." Frederick E. Miller, MD, Northwestern University

"More than any other program I've seen, it shows the seriousness of OCD — both how severe and disruptive to life it can be and how many lives it touches." Susan Richman, Director, Obsessive Compulsive Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago

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Panic Attack: The filmmaker uses time-lapse photography, stop-motion animation, and creative sound design to convey the emotions associated with the experience of panic attacks.

Twitch and Shout: People with the sometimes startling symptoms of Tourette Syndrome contend with a society which often sees them as crazy, and with bodies and minds that won't always do what they're told.

More Than Skin Deep: A film about aging, self-esteem, and hairdressing. Through the insights of six nursing home residents, it takes an evocative look at the connections between aging with dignity and looking good


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Web Resources

To rent or purchase this film, please visit the Icarus Films website