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New A&E Series Explores Anxiety Disorders

A&E Network Updated: May 13th 2009

A&E explores the world of individuals suffering from extreme anxiety disorders, including Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Panic Disorder and Hoarding, and tells the stories of their struggles to overcome them in the new original nonfiction series "Obsessed." The eleven episode, one-hour series debuts Monday, May 25 at 10pm ET/PT.

Obsessed ImageAccording to the Anxiety Disorder Association of America, Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older. "Obsessed" examines the lives of everyday people imprisoned by unmanageable, repetitive behaviors and sometimes debilitating fear.  The show explores the stories of sufferers as well as the adverse effects their disorder has on their friends and family.  Each participant will undergo a highly successful form of cognitive behavioral therapy that exposes themselves to the sources of their greatest anxiety in an attempt to manage their fears.

"The series sheds a light on the vast world of anxiety disorders, while offering those who suffer from these debilitating afflictions a path to recovery," said Robert Sharenow, Senior Vice President, Nonfiction and Alternative Programming, A&E Network and BIO.  "Like 'Intervention,' Obsessed takes an honest and unflinching look at a difficult subject, programming that has come to resonate with our viewers and that underscores the essence of our brand."

Each one-hour episode of "Obsessed" explores two individual cases where the subjects face debilitating extreme anxiety disorders, their struggle and the process of rehabilitation. Whether it is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Panic Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, General Anxiety Disorder, Hoarding or a variety of phobias, the unscripted series gives viewers a chance to see first-hand how an obsession can radically affect a person's life. "Obsessed" not only captures the particulars of the condition but sees the subject through the incredible emotion of therapy and one-on-one sessions with one of five therapists:  John Tsilimparis, MFT, Karen Pickett, MA, MFT, Shana Doronn, MSW, LCSW, PSY.D, Rebecca L. Gladding, M.D., and Dr. Craig April, Ph.D.

By using cognitive behavioral therapy, each subject is taught how to understand their thought process which contributes to symptoms and how to change thought patterns, manage their anxiety and avoid the debilitating compulsions. The series then revisits each subject after several weeks of treatment to see if the obsession lingers.

In the series opener, Helen, a single mother of three is tormented every day by her OCD as it's making her life a nightmare.  Her anxiety was spiked when her father died in a car accident. She has extreme panic attacks while driving and she obsessively puts on her father's bloody clothes from that fatal night. Through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, (CBT) widely described as the most effective treatment for OCD, Helen must face her fears and try to come to terms with her father's death and her inability to drive.  Meanwhile, Scott is a germaphobe who doesn't keep a trashcan in his house, doesn't have any pictures on the wall, washes his hands 50 times a day and sleeps on the sofa because it takes him too long to make his bed in the morning. His OCD has caused him to be desperately alone and he must face his fears through CBT in hopes that he can have a successful relationship.

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