Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (abbreviated OCD), once considered as a form of anxiety disorder, is today recognized as a unique condition on its own. This condition can be debilitating as it causes individuals to get caught up in a continuous cycle of extremely repetitive habits and thoughts.
People who are affected by OCD are swamped by repeated thoughts, obsessions and anxious moments (usually distressing and intrusive) that they have no control over. The anxiety that manifests as a result creates an urgency in the performance of specific tasks or the execution of certain tasks.
It is also important to mention that while carrying out the said tasks and activities may offer relief from the anxiety, the affected individual needs to carry out the habits and tasks repeatedly for as long as the thoughts are present. The most challenging thing about OCD, however, is that affected persons may be aware of the futility of their compulsions, but can do little to desist from the thoughts. Some of the symptoms of OCD include the fear of dirt, fear of erring, the need for precision and order, the fear of public embarrassment as well as the excessive need for persistent assurance from the people around them.
Some of the common habits that characterize OCD include repeated bathing and hand washing, extreme checking of locks, persistently arranging things in a repeated and meticulous order and the refusal to shake hands or touch things in public spaces. A good number of people with OCD may also get trapped by disturbing thought patterns and mental images. OCD has no specific cause, but is thought to arise from issues with the transmission of messages within the brain, genetic factors as well as environmental factors as is the case following trauma. Treatment for OCD revolves around medication and psychotherapy, as well as the use of natural remedies for the home treatment of the condition as indicated below.
1. Vitamin B12 Supplements/ Foods Rich in Vitamin B12:
Time Required: Depends on your choice Vitamin B12 form.
What You Need: Vitamin B12 supplements or foods such as eggs, poultry products, lean meat, fish or milk.
Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is an effective remedy for OCD, and this is attributed to the fact that the vitamin plays an integral role in the processes of the biochemical pathway. By increasing the amounts of he vitamin in the body, people with OCD can help their bodies regulate the activity of the nervous system while helping manage the different physiological processes in the body. You have the choice of either using supplements or natural sources of Vitamin B12.
- For the supplements, take the prescribed dosage of the Vitamin B12 in order to reduce the frequency of OCD.
- For the natural food sources, make sure you have a regular dietary intake of any of the aforementioned foods.
2. 5-HTP Natural Supplements:
Time Required: 5 Min per dosage.
What You Need: 5-HTP supplements.
5-HTP (abbreviated 5-hydroxytriptan) is a type of amino acid (this is the basic building block of a protein molecule) recommended for persons suffering from OCD. This amino acid is the precursor of a neurotransmitter known as Serotonin. This neurotransmitter carries signals to the brain cells.Serotonin also helps regulate mood and behavior, thus making the condition more manageable for people with OCD. The need to take this amino acid in supplement form is because while foods contain tryptophan (a similar amino acid), it is not converted to 5-HTP. Taking these supplements therefore, is a direct way to increase the amount of serotonin in the body, thus treating the OCD.
- Simply follow the prescribed dosage indicated on the supplement pack.
3. Calcium and Magnesium Supplements:
Time Required: 5 Min for each dosage.
What You Need: Supplements for both Calcium and Magnesium.
For people with OCD, one of the simplest ways to manage the condition is to increase the levels of the different elements required for a proper and functioning nervous system. Two of the most important elements in this regard are Calcium and Magnesium, both available in supplement form. Calcium plays a key role in regulating the transfer of chemical signals to and from the brain, thus ensuring that the neurotransmitters function as intended.
Magnesium on the other hand, helps reduce the frequency of OCD, while managing common symptoms that accompany moodiness such as irrationality and irritability. In fact, studies indicate that a drop in the levels of Magnesium is one of the main causes of anxiety for those with the condition. Both elements are available in supplement form, and it is recommended that they are taken alongside foods that are rich in the same.
- Follow the prescribed dosage for both supplements.
4. Breathing Exercises:
Time Required: 30 Min
What You Need: A comfortable place to do the exercises.
Breathing exercises are a simple and often effective way to manage the symptoms of OCD. This is because they work by training the mind to relax and remain calm, particularly at the onset of the OCD sessions. Deep breathing as recommended in the exercises not only allows more oxygen to the brain and body, it also assists one to remain aware of their present surroundings. All that is required for this remedy is a comfortable (and preferably quiet) place to do your exercises.
- Take a breath as deep as you can, making sure to inhale through your nose.
- Hold your breath for a second and then exhale deeply through your mouth.
- Repeat this severally until you start to feel better and experience clarity of mind.
Time Required: 30 Min
What You Need: Essential oils.
The essence of a massage is to relax your body and calm your mind. This not only helps people with OCD get other tasks (other than those they are obsessed about) done, they also eliminate the anxiety that often grips anyone suffering from the condition. Get your partner, or friend or even a professional masseuse to give you a gentle massage whenever you feel OCD rearing its head. Use relaxing essential oils such as lavender for an invigorating massage. These oils also have the advantage of preventing the skin from bruising.
- Get the person giving you a massage to use your preferred essential oils during the procedure.
- Use this as often as needed whenever you can.
Time Required: At least 30 Min
What You Need: A sturdy pair of sport shoes.
Regular exercise is an excellent way of controlling and managing the symptoms of OCD. Just like deep breathing, exercise helps train the mind so that you are able to shift your focus to something else and not necessarily the compulsive habits or obsessive thoughts. Exercising on a regular basis, even for just about half an hour has been known to increase the production of endorphins. Endorphins are feel-good hormones that help boost your moods and mental state. Some of the exercise routines that you can take up include swimming, jogging, nature walks as well as light cardio exercises.
NOTE: If you have any pre-existing medical conditions it is important that you consult your doctor to prevent any adverse effects or further straining on your body.
- Simply make time for any of the aforementioned exercises at least four times in a week, or whenever you feel the need to calm down.
7. Make Use of Delay Period Blocks:
Time Required: Varies from one individual to another.
What You Need: A conscious desire to use this remedy for managing OCD.
For many people with OCD, the recognition of the specific triggers and the use of this remedy to manage one’s response goes a long way in managing the condition. Just as the name suggests, this remedy revolves around holding back from the general tendencies to respond, react or engage in one’s compulsions. This remedy is what is referred to as a delay period. Over a prolonged period of time, the use of this remedy helps people with OCD manage anxiety and control their obsessive tendencies.
- Whenever OCD creeps up, make an effort to delay your typical response to the compelling thoughts.
- During this period, shift your focus to a different thing, even for a short period of time.
- In the end, you feel less anxious and stressed about the habits. Use this delay tactic to manage OCD.
Time Required: At least 6 Hrs.
What You Need: A comfortable bed.
Good sleeping patterns are recommended for the ease of OCD management. This is because sleeping poorly easily aggravates the body’s stress levels and predisposes you to compulsions and intrusive thoughts. Lack of sleep also causes irritability which is known to worsen OCD tendencies.
Aim for at least 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep every day. It helps to establish night routines that will ease your transition from wakefulness to sleep so as to ensure that you wake up rejuvenated. Additionally, invest in comfortable bedding, ideal lighting and generally a tranquil place to retreat to after a long day.
- Make plans to get at least 6 hours of sleep every day.
9. St. John’s Wort:
Time Required: 30 Min
What You Need: 1 Tablespoon of dried St. John’s Wort, 1 cup of water, sieve and honey (optional). Alternatively, use St. John’s wort supplements.
St. John’s Wort is a popular remedy for a wide range of mental conditions, including OCD. The herb acts as an antidepressant by managing the concentration of serotonin in the body. It has also been shown to manage depression, one of the most common accompanying conditions for persons with OCD.
Other benefits of using this herb include better sleep and improved management of anxiety. Take note however, that high dosages of the herb cause skin sensitivity. In addition, if you are presently taking any medication, consult your doctor to prevent drug-drug interaction.
- Boil the cup of water and set aside.
- Add the dried St. John’s Wort and allow it to steep for 15 minutes.
- Sieve the mixture and allow the tea to cool.
- Sip this tea twice daily for a period of a month or so and note any improvements made.
10. Poppy Seeds:
Time Required: Overnight soaking and 20 Min preparation.
What You Need: 2 Tablespoons of poppy seeds, a grinder and a cup of water.
Poppy seeds are loved for their natural ability to calm the brain and ensure its proper functioning. The seeds are a depression-buster, and offer mental clarity, thus proving helpful for people with OCD. Other benefits of using these seeds include improved sleep patterns as well as nutrients for the brain. Perhaps the best thing about these seeds is the fact that they are rich in calcium, which is one of the most important components for the health of the nervous system.
- Soak the seeds in the water overnight.
- The next morning, strain any remaining water and grind the seeds to create a smooth paste.
- Eat the paste at least twice daily to help you manage OCD better.
Other treatment options for you if you suffer from OCD include meditation exercises, walnuts which have a high concentration of Calcium and Magnesium as well as almonds. Oats are also an exceptional home remedy for people with OCD because they help calm the body and improve one’s thought process. In addition to these remedies, it helps to analyze oneself and identify the specific triggers of anxiety as this makes managing the condition so much simpler.