Why The Netflix Docuseries ‘Afflicted’ Is Harmful For The Chronic Illness Community



By  in The Mighty.


“Afflicted,” a new Netflix docuseries that premiered on August 10, follows seven people who live with chronic illnesses.

I originally thought “Afflicted” was going to shed light on less-known illnesses and elevate the stories and voices of those who struggle with them, but the docuseries did the opposite. Instead of letting people with chronic illness tell their stories, their diagnoses were twisted and painted as being “all in their head” for the audience’s entertainment. Those with chronic illness already face so much stigma, judgment and disbelief. The last thing our community needs is popular media perpetuating the idea that our illnesses are made up. It’s incredibly harmful in terms of receiving better support and understanding from loved ones, and I can’t imagine it does anything to help further research.

Here’s what “Afflicted” got wrong in its portrayal of people with chronic illnesses:

1. “Afflicted” makes a game out of guessing whether these people’s illnesses are real or “all in their head.”

Where do I even begin? Every episode and every person’s story was presented with the question: Is this real, or is it all in their head? I thought this was supposed to be an educational docuseries, but it felt more like a sick puzzle meant to entertain healthy people. (News flash: The struggles of people with chronic illness should not be a source of amusement.)


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Link to Chronic Illness story

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