Secret Fear

52mins1997DocumentaryNR
director
Sarah Stephens
From Oscar-winning producer Eva Orner (Taxi to the Dark Side), this multi-faceted documentary explores the full spectrum of anxiety-related disorders, from panic attacks and phobias to obsessive-compulsive disorder. Everyone experiences anxiety at some stage in their lives, but for an estimated ten percent of the population, anxiety will become debilitating to the point of illness. Many may believe that they are on the verge of insanity, while others try to self-medicate with alcohol or drugs. In many cases anxiety disorders may lead to depression and some victims come to believe that suicide is the only escape. This documentary focuses on the lives of several people who suffer from or have recovered from disorders including generalized anxiety disorder, phobias such as agoraphobia, social phobia, panic attacks, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, compulsive hoarding, cutting or other self-injury, compulsive hair pulling, and obsessive compulsive disorder.

In addition to the firsthand accounts of a thoughtful and appealing group of anxiety "survivors," the documentary uses expressive imagery and reenactments which bring the trauma of these personal experiences into vivid reality for viewers. In pursuit of recovery, they have explored conventional medical approaches as well as Tai Chi, medication and other alternative approaches. Many have benefited from cognitive behavioral therapy. The film provides no neat answers, but invites understanding of these often underestimated disorders.

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