What Are Some Natural Remedies for OCD?
Natural remedies for OCD are not only safe but also highly effective – for most people. Although OCD is a common mental health condition, most people mistakenly believe that people with the condition are insane or extremely dangerous when that is simply not true for the majority of people struggling with OCD. The truth is approximately 2% of people in the US suffer from OCD. However, with the right treatment, most people can effectively control their OCD symptoms. And, guess what? Some people have even been cured of their symptoms following OCD treatment.
Requests for natural remedies, like hypnosis, herbs, and/or other alternative treatments have skyrocketed in recent years. Nowadays, self-help remedies or “cures” have become the go-to treatment sources for people throughout the world. People have started to turn to natural remedies because of their safety, affordability, and performance. So, if you have tried conventional treatments for your OCD symptoms, but have not experienced an improvement in them, you may want to try natural remedies. With OCD help, you can “quiet” your mind and eliminate your compulsions.
What is OCD?
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental health condition that makes you feel as if you must engage in specific behaviors or perform certain actions to receive relief from your stress, anxiety, and/or distress. When you have OCD, you feel compelled to do the same thing(s) over and over again (rituals and routines). Your actions are based on the intrusive and unwanted thoughts you cannot get out of your mind (obsessions).
Contrary to popular belief, you can have just obsessions, just compulsions, or both obsessions and compulsions. And, although most people assume OCD involves repetitive habits like twirling your hair or biting your lip or nails, that simply is not true. OCD symptoms vary from person to person, but they typically involve continuous thoughts that can be annoying, involuntary, frustrating, and time-consuming.
For instance, a person with OCD may scrub his or her hands over and over again until they crack and bleed for fear of contracting coronavirus. But even if you are aware that something is “wrong” and that you should not be having these intrusive thoughts or engaging in compulsive or ritualistic behaviors, you probably have no control over them. In other words, even if you want to stop what you are doing, you may be unable to do so – without help.
If you are suffering from OCD, natural remedies may help you more effectively manage your symptoms. Another benefit? Natural remedies can be used in conjunction with your prescribed OCD treatment plan.
Are There Different “Types” of OCD?
Yes, there are.
There are different “types” of OCD, such as:
- Hoarding – Hoarding is a “type” of OCD. People, who are “hoarders” compulsively collect and keep things well past their primes because they believe if they throw things out or give things away something bad will happen. So, objects continue to accumulate in the hoarder’s home until there is nowhere to sleep, eat, walk, or live.
- Organizing and Counting – Organizing and counting are also “types” of OCD. People, who are organizers and counters are obsessed with order and uniformity. These individuals tend to be superstitious and “fixated” on balancing colors, patterns, materials, and numbers.
- Evildoing and Disbelieving – Evildoing and disbelieving are “types” of OCD that sometimes take on a religious angle. These individuals tend to become paranoid if everything is not performed correctly or perfectly because they believe something horrible will happen if something is askew or immoral.
- Inspecting and Checking – Inspecting and checking are “types” of OCD that involve continuously scrutinizing things (i.e., checking that the door is locked or the oven is turned off).
- Cleaning – Cleaning is another “type” of OCD. Cleaning stems from a fear of being “sullied.” People with this form of OCD are afraid of becoming contaminated or infected by a germ or bacteria, so they repeatedly clean the house, their clothes, their bodies, etc., to avoid becoming ill.
Regardless of your “type” of OCD, there is a myriad of natural remedies that can help you get a grasp on your symptoms so you can have the life you have always envisioned.
What Are Some Natural Remedies For OCD?
Most natural remedies for OCD are not only safe and effective but also reliable and backed by research. Understand, however, that it could take time (depending on the remedy) before you notice a significant improvement in your OCD symptoms. Natural remedies are often the go-to treatments for people, who are unable to or unwilling to seek traditional OCD treatment (medication and therapy). Most OCD natural remedies can also be added to your prescribed treatment plan.
These natural remedies may include the following:
- Acupuncture – Acupuncture belongs to a group of holistic remedies, referred to as “complementary and alternative medicines (CAMs).” CAMs are defined as numerous holistic practices and medications used to promote health, healing, relaxation, and personal wellness. Understand, however, that CAMs, like acupuncture, are not considered “traditional” or “conventional” medical care practices. Other CAM practices include herbal medicines, aromatherapy, yoga, and therapeutic massages.
Acupuncture is a natural Chinese remedy for OCD. It not only focuses on your OCD symptoms but also your body as a whole. The purpose of acupuncture is to trigger your immune system and accelerate your natural healing processes. This natural remedy is used to treat a variety of mental health conditions, such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and anxiety disorders, like OCD.
During acupuncture sessions, small needles are inserted into specific target areas on your body (acupuncture points). The belief is that ailments, diseases, disorders, viruses, and infections stem from “blocked energy.” Acupuncture releases this energy so you can restore balance in your life. The result? A calmer mind and a reduction of stress, anxiety, and OCD symptoms (i.e., compulsions).
Acupuncture has no known side effects and it does not cause bruising or bleeding – unless you have a platelet disorder or you are taking blood thinners. Over time, with acupuncture, you should experience significant improvement in your OCD symptoms.
- Homeopathy – Homeopathy is one of the most common natural remedies for OCD. Homeopathy is the belief that the body can ultimately heal itself through “natural” or “holistic” means. Although limited and somewhat inconclusive, researchers suggest that homeopathy for OCD may garner positive results. Homeopathy does not just focus on your OCD symptoms; it also targets your whole body.
Before attempting to “calm” your OCD symptoms with homeopathy, it is important to get a thorough workup or examination, a list of your past medical history, and your current medications, including your anti-anxiety medications. This is important because it helps your neuropathic doctor, holistic doctor, psychotherapist, or psychiatrist determine the origin of your OCD triggers and symptoms, so you can reduce or eliminate them.
Homeopathy not only addresses your current OCD symptoms but also gives you tools to prevent future OCD occurrences. Homeopathic remedies for OCD may include the following: Argentum Nitricum, Bufo Rana, and Arsenicum Album. Studies also suggest that inositol may boost serotonin in the brain, effectively reducing OCD symptoms. Moreover, researchers have found that L-theanine and GABA can alleviate anxiety and OCD symptoms – in some people.
A benefit of homeopathy is that has no documented side effects, primarily because it uses “natural” ingredients. Homeopathic remedies are tailored to address your particular symptoms, making them reliable for all “types” of OCD. Most of these natural treatments can also be used in conjunction with your prescribed treatment plan.
- Hypnotherapy and Hypnosis – Hypnotherapy and hypnosis are two of the most effective natural remedies for OCD. Some people with OCD have received positive results from hypnotherapy and hypnosis. During hypnotherapy sessions, a hypnotherapist uses hypnosis (a technique) to put you in a semiconscious, trance-like state, where you experience deeper focus and self-awareness. The purpose of these natural remedies is to help you identify the root cause(s) of your OCD symptoms and to receive valuable suggestions, such as suggestions on how to stop your OCD symptoms.
Researchers suggest that through the process of hypnosis (subconscious mind), you can replace unwanted thoughts, images, and behaviors with healthier and more positive ones. Hypnosis can also help ease stress and anxiety, which are associated with OCD.
Many people think hypnosis is a form of brainwashing, which is not true. Even when you are in a trance-like state, you still control your actions. Keep in mind, however, that it may take multiple hypnosis sessions before you see noticeable results. It does not matter which “type” of OCD you have; hypnosis may be the key to OCD relief.
- Herbs – Herbal remedies are one of the most popular natural treatments for people struggling with OCD. These individuals swear that herbs can help reduce, manage, or alleviate OCD symptoms. However, because herbs are naturally-occurring substances, it may take a while before you experience significant relief in your OCD symptoms. As with any holistic, natural, or alternative remedy, it will need to accumulate in your body before you start seeing results.
Another benefit? Most herbs can be combined to treat a variety of symptoms at once. An extremely popular herb used to treat OCD symptoms is St. John’s Wort. This herb has been used to treat mood and anxiety disorders, like OCD, for decades. Studies indicate that herbs, like St. John’s Wort, may boost your serotonin production. This is important because insufficient or low levels of serotonin are linked to OCD symptoms. However, the jury is still out as to if St. John’s Wort is truly effective for most people with OCD.
Other herbs that may be beneficial for OCD include: N-Acetylcysteine (an amino acid that regulates glutamine in the brain), Milk Thistle/Silybum Marianum (an herbal antidepressant commonly found in Iran), Kava/Piper Methysticum (an herbal medication, commonly found in Hawaii, and believed to ease anxiety, nervousness, stress, uneasiness, and mild depression), and 5-HTP/Inositol (an herbal supplement believed to regulate mood, promote relaxation, and reduce anxiety and OCD symptoms)
Note: Understand, however, that some medications can and will interact with some herbs, so check for drug interactions before taking any herb for OCD.
- Mindfulness Meditation – Mindfulness meditation, also referred to as vipassana or insight meditation, may be beneficial in reducing or alleviating anxiety symptoms. Mindfulness meditation uses guided meditation to help you become more aware of your thoughts, emotions, and beliefs – without over-analyzing them or reacting to them.
According to a 2014 study, mindfulness meditation helps reduce anxiety. This reduction in symptoms is linked to the stimulation of the anterior cingulate cortex, ventromedial prefrontal cortex, and anterior insula, structures in the brain. These parts of the brain are linked to stress and anxiety relief, which may be beneficial for OCD sufferers. This natural remedy reduces angst by helping people control their thoughts.
- Yoga – Researchers have found that exercise and meditation may help relieve stress and anxiety – key components that can trigger OCD symptoms. Yoga is believed to have originated thousands of years ago in India. This natural remedy involves “uniting” your mind, spirit, and body.
Yoga uses deep breathing, meditation, and relaxation to ease stress, anxiety, and negative emotions – all of which are linked to OCD – to restore your internal balance, equilibrium, and homeostasis. Yoga may also ease physical OCD symptoms like muscle tension or tightness, physical discomfort, and/or pain sensitivity.
- Zinc – Zinc is another natural remedy that may help improve your OCD. Zinc is an essential element, commonly found in foods like seafood, fish, beans, lean meats, nuts, whole grain cereals, and dairy products. Some researchers suggest that zinc is a neurotransmitter (brain chemical messenger) that partially regulates the brain’s response to tension, stress, and anxiety.
Low zinc levels can lead to mood and anxiety disorders, like OCD. According to a 2012 study, people with mild OCD, who use zinc, may experience a 69% reduction in symptoms (obsessions and/or compulsions). However, a combination of zinc and fluoxetine is recommended for people with OCD.
- Lemon Balm – Lemon balm is a soothing “holistic” treatment that has been used for decades to treat nervous system issues. Lemon balm calms your mind, nervous system, and body, so it is the perfect natural remedy for OCD sufferers. Lemon balm can also reduce or alleviate anxiety, depression, mood swings, headaches, heart palpitations, restlessness, and insomnia.
- Borage Oil – Borage oil is rich in gamma-linolenic acid, an anti-inflammatory substance. According to a 2009 study, people who use 500mg borage oil daily for OCD may experience a noticeable improvement in their symptoms after 4-6 weeks. Borage oil reduces stress and anxiety – common triggers of OCD.
- Music Therapy – Numerous studies suggest that music is beneficial for people, who are struggling with depression and/or anxiety. Researchers theorize that music may reduce stress and anxiety by helping people focus on something other than unwanted, intrusive OCD thoughts, emotions, images, and/or urges and/or rituals and routines. Thus, music therapy can “redirect” the thoughts and behaviors of people suffering from OCD. According to a 2016 study, music therapy may alleviate anxiety and OCD symptoms in as little as one month.
- Oatmeal – Whole grains, like oatmeal, are excellent natural remedies for OCD. A bowl of oatmeal each morning may lower your stress level, ease your anxiety, and reduce your risk of panic attacks. Moreover, oats may “calm” your mind and body, thereby, decreasing your OCD symptoms.
- Magnesium-Rich Foods – Magnesium can relax your body. It is also needed to support healthy muscle and nervous system functions. Moreover, magnesium can strengthen your immune system and bones and regulate your heartbeat. It can also “quiet” your mind and help you think more clearly. Thus, people with OCD should consume foods rich in magnesium.
Foods rich in magnesium include dark leafy greens (like kale, turnip greens, and spinach), nuts and seeds, beans, lentils, avocados, bananas, whole grains, and dried fruits. Consuming these magnesium-rich foods regularly can help you ward off or stop OCD symptoms (obsessions and/or compulsions).
- B-12 Foods – An acute vitamin B-12 (cobalamin) deficiency can trigger fatigue, anxiety, high-stress levels, depression, and anemia. A chronic B-12 deficiency can lead to severe brain and nervous system damage.=
Vitamin B-12 can “quiet” your mind and improve your mood, so you are not consumed by obsessions and compulsions. People with OCD and a B-12 deficiency may benefit from increasing their consumption of foods containing this vitamin. Foods with the largest amount of B-12 include fortified soy beverages and foods, liver, lean meats, low-fat dairy products, eggs, shellfish, and fatty fish, like salmon.
According to a past study, people with OCD are more likely to have low vitamin B-12 levels than people who do not have OCD. A 2005 study also found that a folate deficiency, a vitamin linked to B-12, can cause depression in people with OCD.
- Online OCD Treatment Courses – Online OCD treatment courses, like Impulse Therapy, can help you get a grip on your OCD symptoms from the comfort of your home or your “safe place.” Impulse Therapy teaches you healthy coping skills and strategies, so you can effectively manage your unwanted, intrusive thoughts, and compulsive behaviors. Thus, online OCD treatment courses can help stop your OCD tendencies for good!