November 20, 2007


Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder with two parts – obsessions, which are unwanted thoughts or ideas and compulsions, which are repetitive actions. OCD occurs in up to 30 % of the population and usually begins in adolescence. This disorder causes obsession with certain ideas, thoughts and images that intrude on the person's normal thoughts. To relieve the anxiety brought on by the obsessive thoughts, the person feels compelled to repeat certain physical or mental actions.

The compulsions are not enjoyable, but are done because the person feels something terrible will happen if the actions are not performed. Although the person is aware the obsessions and compulsions are irrational, they are unable to stop them. The symptoms eventually take up so much time (more than an hour per day) that they begin to interfere with the person's normal life. The cause of OCD is not known, although it is widely believed to be genetic (passed on from parent to child). Some cases have been linked to streptococcal bacteria infections. Signe and Symptoms Obsessions may include the following:

Contamination – fear of germs or dirt, of being contaminated or contaminating someone else.

Violence / Harm – fear of doing harm to oneself or someone else.

Religious or moral doubt – fear of "sinning" or behaving in a socially unacceptable manner.

Control – a need to have everything in a particular order or position.

Compulsions may include the following: Washing – Repetitive hand washing, vacuuming or cleaning. The person may wash their hands until they are raw, or clean the house several times over.

Counting – The person may count almost anything e.g. how many times they brush their hair, how many steps they take around the house, how many times the phone rings.

Checking – repeating certain actions, such as turning off the stove or locking the door. These people often leave the house and return several times to recheck everything. Hoarding Keeping items of iittie value, such as old newspapers or rubbish.

Health Management As with all conditions your doctor should be consulted to diagnose and treat this condition. Ask your doctor about the latest advice on this ailment. It is important to make sure the behaviours are not related to drug or alcohol abuse or an underlying medical condition. There is no known cure for OCD but with treatment, symptoms can be controlled and the person can continue a normal life.

Treatment focuses on a combination of medication to relieve anxiety and therapy to learn new ways of coping with the disorder. Ask your Pharmacist for advice: Ask your Pharmacist about any medications you are prescribed. Anti-smoking products can help reduce cravings if you are trying to quit. Ask your Pharmacist for advice about nicotine replacement therapy. Stress management programs may help. Ask your Pharmacist for a recommendation. Caffeine may interact with some anti-depressant or anti-anxiety medications. Avoid tea, coffee and cola drinks if you are taking these medications. Consider some nutritional supplements if the diet is inadequate. Vitamins/Minerals/Herbs Nutritional supplements may be of use if dietary intake if inadequate. Always consult your doctor before commencing supplements, as some may have interactions with other medications.

Inostiol is a vitamin produced naturally in the body. It may be used to treat OCD and other anxiety disorders. Magnesium is needed by the body in times of emotional or physical stress. Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) and other B group vitamins may help reduce stress, depression and anxiety. St. Johns wort may be beneficial in the treatment of mild depression and anxiety. Ginkgo Balboa may be beneficial in the mild depression. Valerian, passionflower and chamomile may be beneficial in relieving stress and promoting restful sleep