Distributor:  The Fanlight Collection
Length:  52 minutes
Date:  1997
Genre:  Expository
Language:  English
Color/BW:  Color
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Secret Fear

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Explores the full spectrum of anxiety-related disorders, from panic attacks and phobias to obsessive compulsive disorder.

Secret Fear

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.

'An enthralling film...although there are no neat solutions, there is hope through the stories of people who have found a way through.' -Sydney Morning Herald


** Certificate of Creative Excellence, U.S. International Film and Video Festival


Main credits

Orner, Eva (film producer)
Barton, Sarah (film director)
Barton, Sarah (screenwriter)

Other credits

Director of photography, Jenni Meaney; editor, Robert Murphy; music, Robert C. Clarke.

Distributor credits

Eva Orner and Sarah Stephens

Eva Orner and Sarah Stephens

Docuseek2 subjects

Fear and Anxiety
Mental Disorder
Psychiatry, Psychoanalysis and Therapy

Distributor subjects

Mental Illness
Brain Disorders
Fanlight Collection
Social Work


Film; Video; Documentary; DVD; Eva Orner; Oscar; OCD; obsessive compulsive disorder; obsession; compulsion; anxiety disorder; anxious; uncontrollable thoughts; repetitive behaviors; rituals; ritual behavior; suicide; psychology; psychological; psychiatry; psychiatric; mental health; mental illness; brain disorder; mind; behavior; therapy ; disorders; "Secret Fear"; The Fanlight Collection

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