Obsessive-compulsive disorder (also known as OCD) is a problem related to anxiety and is marked by unmanageable and useless thinking coupled with recurring and formulaic actions that the patient feels coerced to carry out. People who are having OCD are likely to be aware of the fact that they compulsive thinking as well as actions are extremely illogical, but still they would have a feeling that they cannot resist such thoughts and behaviors and get away from them.
Similar to a needle clinging on an antique record, OCD also results in the brain to get fixated on a specific thought or impulse. For instance, people with obsessive-compulsive disorder are likely to examine the stove for as many as 20 times just to ensure that it has been actually turned off; they may also wash their hands till they are scrubbed to the extent that they become painful; or drive their car in the same location for several hours just to ensure that the knock they heard during driving was actually not a person they thought they might have run over.
Such fixations are basically instinctive, on the face of it irrepressible thinking, visuals or urges happening time and again in the patient’s mind. Although the patients do not wish for these thoughts, they are unable to stop them either. It is really unfortunate that often such obsessive thoughts are upsetting as well as confusing.
Precisely speaking, urges or practices that make one have a feeling that he/ she is compelled to perform them time and again. Normally, compulsions are acted upon in an endeavor to break away from the obsessions. For instance, if someone is anxious about being contaminated, he/ she may possibly develop complicated cleaning habits.
Nevertheless, the respite does not carry on. Actually, the compulsive thoughts are generally much stronger when they recur. Consequently, often such compulsive actions result in making such people worried, because they turn out to be further challenging as well as protracted.
Majority of people having compulsive-obsessive disorder may be classified under five major categories, such as:
People with OCD and falling into this category check things repeatedly (for instance, to ensure that the oven is turned off; the door is bolted properly; and others) making them susceptible to some kind of injury or danger.
Counters and arrangers
People who come under this OCD category are preoccupied with orderliness and regularity. Such people are likely to have some superstitions regarding specific colors, numbers or even arrangements.
Doubters and sinners
People who have this type of compulsive-obsessive disorder are simply scared that they would be punished or something awful would occur provided all things are not absolutely faultless or done correctly.
They are apprehensive that something terrible will come to pass if they discard anything. Therefore, they keep on hoarding things compulsively even if they do not use or require them anymore.
Such people are generally afraid of being contaminated. Normally, they have compulsions about washing their hands or cleaning.
Supplements and herbs
Use of specific herbs and supplements has found to be helpful in treating obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD. For instance, findings of several studies have provided sufficient evidence that St. John’s wort is effective in treating depression and also useful in healing common anxiety disorder as well as somatoform disorders.
In fact, this herb has been found to be more effective for treating mild depressions in comparison to people who are enduring serious symptoms. St. John’s wort does not work as effectively for people who are already taking any anti-depressant medicine. Scientists in different parts of the world have undertaken many small studies regarding this herb and its efficacy in the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Findings of some of these studies have confirmed success equivalent to using selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (also called SSRIs), whereas some others studies go to the extent of evaluating the effectiveness of St. John’s wort to the effectiveness of fluoxetine (Prozac) as found in clinical trials.
However, findings of some other studies regarding the use of St. John’s wort as a remedy for OCD say that this herb is not much effective compared to a placebo. It is worth noting here that St. John’s wort is the sole clinically verified herbal remedy for obsessive-compulsive disorder and is considered to be an excellent option for patients who are reluctant or cannot use an SSRI.
Indian herbal medicine recommends the use of Butea Frondosa which may enhance memory and, at the same time, work to invigorate the mind. Scientists assessed extracts obtained from the leaves of this herb on nervous tension, anxiety and cognitive function in rats. While the herb was somewhat effective in reducing stress, it was not found to be useful in lessening anxiety.
Initial findings of studies undertaken to evaluate the effectiveness of Clitoria Ternatea in treating stress and anxiety in rodents indicated that it may possibly lessen depression, like it helped to lessen ulcers induced by stress in mice in investigational studies.
Earlier, ginkgo biloba was employed to combat the sex-related side effects caused by the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Although the scientists recorded a number of amazing individual responses to this herb, it did not show any statistically noteworthy improvements. Initial findings of some researches hinted that the extract of ginkgo biloba may possibly be useful for treating health conditions that normally occurs in the case of patients with brain injury.
For several centuries, both Chinese herbal medicine and Ayurveda have made use of gotu kola to provide relief from the symptoms associated with anxiety and depression. Initial findings of researches recommend that this herb may possibly have an anti-anxiety outcome in humans, according to a study evaluating the aural startle response (a complex reflex response to an unexpected stimulus, particularly a loud noise).
Herbal remedies for obsessive-compulsive disorder enclosing kava kava are employed for treating psychiatric conditions, such as anxiety as well as insomnia. Findings of many studies have shown that kava kava is helpful in treating these conditions and also does not cause too many side effects. Nevertheless, a few users have reported that the use of this herb has resulted in severe liver failure.
Passiflora is generally used to cure insomnia and occasionally given to patients to enhance the effects of St. John’s wort. However, so far scientists have not undertaken any study to evaluate the efficacy of passiflora in curing obsessive-compulsive disorder alone.
Very often, practitioners of herbal medicine employ valerian root for treating anxiety. Several studies have revealed that following many weeks of using this root, it encourages normal sleep and does not result in any risk of developing a dependence on this remedy for sleep or lingering sleepiness during the daytime.
It is recommended that people enduring obsessive-compulsive disorder should take their daily least requisite of vitamin B-complex – 50 mg daily for adults. B vitamins contain inositol, a compound that facilitates regulating the serotonin receptors during biochemical processes, which has the aptitude to assist in counterbalancing the imbalances attributed to obsessive-compulsive disorder.
They should take a supplement containing B-complex vitamins thrice every day with a view to obtain a fine dosage of vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and folic acid. These substances aid in calming down mood swings.
It is worth mentioning that all homeopathic remedies are extremely individualized and they cure the symptoms associated with a health condition rather than the condition. Therefore, the homeopathic remedy that may work for an individual may possibly not be as effective or even suitable for another.
In fact, the most excellent homeopathic remedies for obsessive-compulsive disorder are extremely watered down, and the ratio of diluting them is mentioned on the labels of the majority of remedies. You should know that using homeopathic remedies does not help to cure a condition overnight and it is possible that your condition may not improve for a considerable period of time.
It has been observed that often it takes approximately a month’s time for patients taking the conventional medicaments for their conditions to feel the benefits. In the case of homeopathy, it may take as long as a year for a patient to experience the benefits of taking a particular remedy!
Homeopathic remedies are available in several stores selling health foods. Alternately, you may get them directly from a homeopathic physician. Homeopathic remedies are available in different forms – pellets, tablets, powders, liquids and also in specially made homeopathic kits.
Arsenicum album is the most extensively used homeopathic remedy for relieving symptoms related to anxiety and restiveness. In addition, it is also given to people who suffer from a fearful feeling. This is a perfect remedy for obsessive-compulsive disorder patients who fall in the categories of washers as well as counters and arrangers.
While the former fear contamination and, thus, have an obsession for cleanliness, those in the latter category are preoccupied with putting thing in an orderly manner and have superstitions regarding colors, number and the way things are arranged. The homeopathic remedy Syphillinum works to neutralize tetchiness and feelings arising out of despair. Often, Syphillinum is used in combination with other homeopathic remedies that are given to patients enduring mental health problems.
Bach flower essence is an effective homeopathic remedy having an herb as its source. This particular remedy is precisely pertains to feelings as well as thoughts related to an imminent doom and is considered to be useful in preventing recurring thoughts. In addition, homeopathic remedies that have been used effectively in the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder include Carcinosin, Nux Vomica and Pulsatilla. These remedies are given subject to the symptoms endured by a patient individually.
Despite the fact that homeopathy employs natural elements as well as processes, this stream of medicine is entirely different from herbal remedies and one should not mistake this for the latter. The homeopathic remedies that are prescribed by homeopaths may have their origin in animal substances, plants and even elements.
Homeopathic remedies used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD ought to always be taken strictly under the supervision as well as guidance of an experienced homeopath. Remember, homeopathy is basically an individualized treatment and as each person is different, they ought to be given a dosage that is appropriate for them.
Additional things you may do
In addition to trying conventional drugs, herbs and supplements and homeopathic remedies, people with obsessive-compulsive disorder may do a few more things to alleviate their symptoms as well as facilitate the cure. In fact, a new type of treatment known as cognitive behavioural therapy (also called CBT) may prove to be effectual in treating OCD.
This therapy entails retention of the patient’s thought patterns as well as habits to ensure that he/ she does not think or act compulsively. One particular method employed in cognitive behavioural therapy is known as exposure and response prevention. CBT entails exposing the patient gradually to an obsession or fearful object, for instance, dirt, and educating them to incorporate healthy means to deal with their anxiety.
In fact, it takes lots of effort as well as patience to learn the procedures and new thinking patterns. However, once they are trained to tackle their fixations and impulses, it is possible for the patient to benefit from the superior attributes of life.
Individuals with obsessive-compulsive disorder may undergo cognitive behavioural therapy individually, along with their family or in group sessions. It is important to note that the different postures of yoga as well as practicing meditation may also assist in making the mind calm, lessening anxiety as well as enhancing mental peace.
Simultaneously, it is important for people with OCD to take a healthy and nourishing diet. Their diet should contain high amounts of vitamins, particularly vitamin B12, vitamin C and vitamin D. In addition, it is advisable that they should incorporate foods having elevated levels of omega fatty acids and magnesium into their diet. They should also augment their intake of essential fatty acids (EFAs), as this will help them to improve their condition.