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photo OCD: The War Inside
By Mark Pancer and David Hoffert
National Film Board of Canada

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a seemingly bizarre, frequently debilitating disease characterized by intrusive and uncontrollable thoughts and fears. People with OCD are able to gain temporary relief only by performing repetitive rituals such as compulsive washing or repeated checking and organizing of things in their environment. They are totally aware of the futility of their actions, yet are unable to stop.

Andrew's OCD first appeared when he was only nine years old; his compulsions have included gnawing on walls and even streets and subway floors. With the unflagging support of his parents and sister he has found some relief through behavioral therapy. Trisha has washed her hands until they were bloody, and has attempted suicide. SSRI medications have helped at times, but she still battles with side effects. Marvin's OCD appeared in middle age and led to serious career and family problems; in trying to control his condition he even submitted to brain surgery, which was unsuccessful. Grace's OCD also appeared when she was an adult. She cannot allow visitors into her house without becoming uncontrollably anxious; her obsessions have created serious problems in her relationships with her husband and young daughter.

Co-director Mark Pancer, who himself has OCD, brings a unique perspective and compassion to his interviews, eliciting painful stories while also exploring the causes and possible treatments for this often misunderstood condition which affects millions of people. Simultaneously heartbreaking and uplifting, sad and funny, full of love, hate, anger and courage, these stories will resonate long after the film has ended.

Click Here to read a letter sent to us by Andrew, one of the film's participants, two years after the program was completed.

57 minutes
© 2002
Purchase $229 DVD
Order No. QA-359
ISBN (DVD) 1-57295-915-0
close captioned

"Poignant, yet hopeful, this high quality documentary should be a welcome resource for psychology students and OCD support groups alike. Highly Recommended." Kay Hogan Smith, University of Alabama for Educational Media Reviews

"This powerful, yet also practical program drives home the frightening facts of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and effectively conveys the living hell it creates for a growing number of victims and their families." Video Librarian

Awards & Conference Screenings
Obsessive Compulsive Foundation Film Festival
Silver Chris, Columbus International Film Festival
Freddie Award in Psychiatry, International Health
and Medical Film Festival
Merit Award, Superfest
Silver, Health Sciences Communications Assn
Runner-Up, Health/Stress/Crisis,
National Council on Family Relations Media Award

Related Films
Step on a Crack: Six people with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder describe how they have learned to cope through medication, psychotherapy, behavioral therapy, and mutual support.

Working Like Crazy: Once labeled "unemployable," these psychiatric survivors work and run businesses where they can make a living, rebuild their lives, connect with others, and contribute to society.

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


Awards & Screenings

Related Films

Web Resources

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