Some of you may know that I’m a pretty big fan of A&E, and before I got married and had to settle for very basic cable, I watched some of their shows on a very regular basis- especially Intervention. Alas, now I must settle for watching illegal uploads on YouTube… but anyway, I have to confess that I’ve grown really tired of Intervention. There are only so many sad stories about alcohol and drug addiction that one can watch before one grows sort of… jaded… towards them.
Luckily for me, A&E has recently debuted a new show titled “ Obsessed ” that focuses on anxiety disorders. As of this week, all the episodes have focused on people struggling with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). For example- in one episode, there was a gentleman who was so afraid of germs that he did not have any trash cans inside his house. Another episode featured a woman who had a sort of tic whenever her mother made a hard “k” sound, feeling compulsed to make the sound herself, and cannot abide looking at people’s hands being held in “soft” positions, forcing them to lace their fingers together to prevent “soft hands”.
I have to say, the show is still very voyeuristic, but seems quite a lot healthier than Intervention. With Intervention, it seems like facts are often distorted to make the subjects’ stories as sensational as possible, and I do kind of feel uncomfortable with the fact that they are being tricked into a confrontation in the end. In Obsessed, it seems like there is no need to exaggerate any facts, as no complicated back-stories are presented. The show focuses mostly on the patients’ therapy.
The form of therapy that has been shown in every episode to date is called cognitive-behavioural therapy. So far as the show explains, this therapy involves the patients being exposed to increasingly stressful situations and learning to avoid giving in to their compulsions under stress, until the stress eventually subsides. Essentially, it’s almost as though they’re being forced to confront their fears- and in many cases, the patients are absolutely terrified of the things that trigger their compulsions. For example, a woman who feared being outside is taken on picnics and hikes until she is no longer stressed outdoors.
Overall, I find this show very interesting; it seems quite a bit more positive than Intervention, and there have been some very brave and courageous people on the episodes I’ve seen thus far. I would highly recommend this show- but be warned; the show does often focus on the patients’ issues with bodily functions, as many of them have compulsions regarding these things, so if you can’t handle that sort of stuff, this may not be for you. Obsessed airs Monday nights on A&E.