(dailyRx News) For years mothers have read fairy tales to their children to calm them to sleep. Now doctors are recommending storytelling to pacify anxiety.
People with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) have impulsive prepossessions causing neurotic habits to develop. These obsessions cause such overwhelming anxiety that the compulsions become a necessary way for the individual to deal with their internal struggles. A doctor / author recommends reading stories with essential lessons to ameliorate their pain.
Oxford University Press released a book this week entitled, "OCD Treatment Through Storytelling" by Dr. Allen Weg. The book goes through a series of stories therapeutically written to sooth anxiety and gently deliver important lessons that OCD patients are known to struggle with.
One story involves a boy so excited to go out with a girl he fails to ask her what movie they bought tickets for. Next thing he knows, the fainthearted child is watching a horror movie. He is frightened, but proud. She loves the movie, so they end up watching it six times until he gradually becomes bored by it. Weg calls this process desensitization and believes exposure therapy is necessary for regaining a more carefree existence.
Weg explains: "all we're really doing is identifying those things you're really afraid of and developing a system where you do exposure therapy repeatedly over a period of time, starting with small levels and then building the intensity of that exposure until you can do the very things that are the most uncomfortable for you to do thereby freeing you from the OCD."
The doctor also highlights additional benefits to storytelling treatment, noting that by watching and listening the to the stories, a shorthand develops and communication between a doctor and the anxiety-ridden patient improves drastically. Weg explains to patients: "You more fully trust that I really understand what your anxieties are all about, and I feel more confident that you understand and are invested in the therapy. This is how storytelling in the treatment of OCD works."
Our dailyRx.com contributing expert Barbara Long, M.D., Ph.D., suggests that "although Dr. Weg's methods may be helpful for those with specific phobias and obsessive compulsive symptoms related to that, a best practices approach has favored more traditional treatment for general obsessive compulsives, who usually cannot identify a specific target of their anxiety or fear. The recommended psychiatric treatment includes a combination of medication and psychotherapy."
A study published in the journal American Family Physician observes the research behind OCD treatments and recommendations. This study's authors, Dr. Mark Eddy and Dr. Gordon note: "It is important to recognize that compulsive rituals are not limited to overt behaviors. The patient who appears to be free of compulsive rituals may be performing covert rituals, such as mentally repeating or visualizing phrases, prayers or images."
Althought storytelling may be used as a supplemental treatment for obsessive compulsive disorders, your doctor will be able to prescribe the treatment method which will target the disorder holistically. For more information regarding OCD and its treatment, speak with a medical professional to determine the right method of treatment for you.