Natural Treatments for OCD

Natural Treatments for OCD
Natural Treatments for OCD (Image: Corbis)

OCD is obsessive-compulsive disorder, a psychological condition that is characterized by distressing experiences of images and thoughts that constantly occur in the mind. These thoughts are heightened by unreal qualities or exaggerations. To deal with these obsessions, people develop, as a defense mechanism to cope, compulsions or acts filled with rules to combat the thoughts. Although the specific cause of OCD is unknown, natural treatments for OCD are alternatives to conventional antidepressant drugs. These natural treatments work in different ways to decrease the occurrence of OCD incidents. Some natural treatments for OCD are discussed in this article.


Inositol, or vitamin B8, increases serotonin sensitivity in the body. It normally exists within all animal tissues, as a part of cell membranes, and it is especially present in the brain and the heart. Inositol improved OCD symptoms in a double blind study. It was found that balanced levels of Inositol have a positive effect on psychological and nerve conditions, such as depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Inositol is considered one of the natural treatments for OCD. Inositol is available in supplement form and is naturally available in high amounts in these foods: cabbage, lima beans, nuts, bananas, oats, peanuts, raisins, molasses, wheat germ and brewer's yeast. It is also available in liver, beef heart and beef brain.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 deficiency has also been found in cases of OCD. Vitamin B12, or cobalamin, is an essential nutrient that is important for many biochemical and physiological processes, including normal nerve cell activity. Increasing the levels of vitamin B12 in your body may help the symptoms of OCD subside. Vitamin B12 is available in supplement form, and it naturally exists in animal products, such as eggs, milk, fish, poultry and meat.

St. John's Wort

St. John's Wort is being studied as a natural treatment for OCD. It acts as an antidepressant that affects serotonin levels in the body. Some studies have shown improvements in OCD after using St. John's Wort; other studies were inconclusive. Nevertheless, St. John's Wort has a positive effect on OCD and is even compared to Prozac in its effectiveness. St. John's Wort is a wildflower and a perennial herb that is available in supplement and tea form.


Another natural treatment that is compared to Prozac is 5-HTP. 5-hyrdoxytryptophan, an amino acid, acts as the connection between the serotonin in the brain and tryptophan. Poor diets, lack of proper sleep and stress are a few factors that affect the brain's levels of serotonin. Since low levels of serotonin have a connection to OCD, by adding 5-HTP to the diet, these serotonin levels can rise, thereby balancing the symptoms of OCD. 5-HTP is available in supplement form.


Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation, or rTMS, is a non-invasive technique that stimulates the cerebral cortex through the use of magnets to be either excited or inhibited as a brain therapy for neurological disorders. For OCD, it causes decreased incidences of compulsive behavior, and it helps the person's overall mental state. Magnetic therapy has many positive results; however, its effect as a natural treatment for OCD is still under research.

Kundalini Yoga

Kundalini yoga, which is a Sanskrit term for coiling, has had reported effects on OCD. It involves the bridging of communication between the body and the mind through yoga beliefs and techniques. It causes a calming effect upon the mind and body, as well as an awareness of the state of the mind. This type of yoga has been recommended as a natural treatment for OCD. However, prescribed religious prayers and meditation can also have similar calming effects on the symptoms of OCD.


While natural treatments for OCD may have positive effects, herbs and supplements can interact with each other, as well as with other prescribed drugs for the condition. Discuss with your health care professional, as well as a natural health specialist, the natural treatments for OCD of your choice. They will inform you of which ones are safe and which ones are not safe for your health condition. There have been cases where people self-prescribed a natural treatment, and it not only corrected the deficiency, but it also raised the levels far above normal, which caused a different set of health concerns as a result of the combination.

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