Meet the people living with anxiety and extreme OCD at Bethlem Royal Psychiatric Hospital. Subscribe to Our Life:
The world’s oldest psychiatric institution, the South London and Maudsley (SLaM), opens its doors in a brand new documentary to challenge the myths, taboos and stigma around mental illness in Britain. Anxiety has become the mental illness of our time. The NHS issues around seven million tranquiliser prescriptions every year.
At the Bethlem Royal Psychiatric Hospital in south London, a specialist anxiety unit treats some of the most extreme cases in Britain. Most suffer with extreme OCD. 23-year-old James has an unusual anxiety, a profound fear that he’ll lose control of his bowel movements in public. Consequently he spends up to seven hours a day in the loo, too scared to leave in case he has an accident. He’s been in and out of psychiatric institutions since he was a teenager and last year had to drop out of university because his OCD got so bad.
Helen is a librarian at the British Museum. She has an irrational fear of harming strangers, she believes that somehow she’s responsible for killing them in road traffic accidents or putting them in rubbish bins. For the last two years she’s lived the life of a recluse, too worried to leave the house or go to work. Aaron is a middle manager with an oil company who struggles with perfectionism. He can spend hours opening and closing drawers or switching lights off and on, unable to stop until he’s carried out the task a certain number of times. Until now, he’s hidden his OCD from everyone, worried the world will think he’s crazy. All of them are on an intensive 12-week therapy programme at the Bethlem which has a three in four success rate. Head of Anxiety Disorders Residential Unit (ADRU), Simon says some patients can be completely “cured”.
This film was first broadcast: 31 Oct 2013
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