OCD Natural Treatment Options
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a diagnosis given to a form of anxiety, where thoughts and mental images become intrusive and impact on day to day tasks negatively. Today OCD affects more than 500,000 Australian children and adults in varying severity, with the onset usually detected in late childhood.
Obsessive thoughts are usually inflated worries that most people have and are persistent and often repetitive. Common OCD traits include:
- Fear of infection or illness from exposure to germs, dirt, poisons, and other physical and environmental things
- Worry of illness, accidents or death that may occur to oneself or to others.
- Intrusive thoughts and images about accidents or violent acts
- Excessive concern with symmetry, tidiness and orderliness
- Needing to know specific things (numbers, dates, etc) and remember things
- Hoarding, or collecting objects
As evidence grows for the importance of the Human microbiota and its impact on health, there is some evidence to link gastrointestinal infections to causing OCD. Comprehensive Digestive Stool Analysis often shows gastrointestinal infection with organisms like streptococcus.
What is PANDAS?
PANDAS is short for Paediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Streptococcus (strep). This form of OCD has been found to have a relatively fast onset and as the name states, it occurs in children.
Children can experience OCD symptoms after a strep throat infection or antibiotic treatment for a bacterial infection such as strep.
It seems that the OCD symptoms are a result of the immune system response to the strep rather than the strep itself. The current understanding and diagnosis is very new and evidence is only being built to support the theory of PANDAS. Currently, there are no scientifically approved evaluations and treatment protocols in the current medical system in Australia and most pediatricians, psychiatrists or doctors will not have heard or studied an effective treatment plan for OCD patient.
Thankfully, there is a great deal that can be done with naturopathic care, evidence-based herbal medicine and nutritional medicine to support patients with OCD or PANDAS.
Naturopathic Treatment Recommendations
A controversial medical treatment for PANDAS involves treatment with long term antibiotic prescription. This may be effective in short-term management of behaviour issues however a question on the effect on the human microbiota must be asked. Will this cause further dysbiosis within the digestive system and therefore further complications later in life or worsening symptoms once the antibiotics are ceased?
- Naturopathic treatment includes
- Herbal antimicrobrial and antibacterials
- Immune system support
- Cognitive Behaviour therapy referrals
- Exposure and Ritual Prevention Therapy
- Neurotransmitter Nutrition and Herbal Medicine
- Evidence-based probiotics and GIT repairing
- Dietary modifications to support microbiota