There’s no doubt that cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is the most effective treatment for OCD, alongside medication. However, OCD medication can have negative side effects, which some patients may not want to deal with. In such cases, pairing OCD therapy with natural remedies can be more effective than you think.
Plus, they’re entirely safe, which is why many people prefer them over OCD medication. The right remedies, such as hypnosis, herbs, mindfulness, and diet improvement, cannot eliminate OCD entirely, but they can reduce the symptoms drastically.
Here are a few natural remedies to utilize in conjunction with your OCD therapy, such as CBT and ERP, for the best results.
A Better Diet
It may seem like cliche advice, but improving your diet can drastically improve your mental health. Of course, it cannot guarantee an end to mental disorders such as OCD or depression, but physical health plays a great role in your mental performance. If your body lacks certain nutrients, essential vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids, your mental health may suffer the consequences.
Studies have found that the levels of these essential nutrients are exceptionally deficient in patients with mental disorders. Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is a crucial part of your diet that can improve your OCD symptoms, and you may consume it with fish, egg yolks, mushrooms, and cow milk.
You may also add oysters, beef, crab, greens, seeds, and whole grains to your diet to increase your zinc and magnesium intake since they are deficient in OCD patients. Those suffering from OCD may also benefit from Vitamin B 12 (cyanocobalamin) from tofu, liver, trout, and cheese.
Finally, adding omega-3 and -6 fatty acids to your diet can significantly improve your mental health, decreasing the chances of a depressive episode.
You may explore mindfulness training if you’re looking for a natural remedy that doesn’t involve drastically changing your routine. This natural remedy for OCD is powerful, mainly due to its ability to ease your mind anywhere and anytime, especially further into the training stages. In addition, it targets the source of OCD symptoms: intrusive thoughts.
The awareness and control of intrusive thoughts allow patients to reduce undesirable repetitive behaviors that typically follow such thoughts. Researchers state meditation is one of the best remedies for OCD when applied correctly, as it helps control both thought processes and following behaviors.
Supplements and Vitamins
The Global Neuroscience Initiative Foundation (GNIF) details that certain dietary supplements meet nutritional requirements for reducing symptoms of severe mental disorders, such as OCD or schizophrenia. Their researchers even suggested that OCD medication can cause severe side effects for the patient, including increased suicidal thoughts during the first weeks.
They suggested certain supplements as an alternative to reducing OCD symptoms. Of course, they may not cause an immediate effect, but they do make a great difference. For example, Amino acid supplements improve the production of neurotransmitters, ultimately balancing OCD symptoms.
An amino acid named tryptophan is a known precursor to serotonin, which is associated with brain function, cognition, mood regulation, and other aspects of mental health. High tryptophan supplements can enhance serotonin levels enough to reduce certain OCD symptoms.
Make sure to discuss this with your doctors before making any significant changes in your diet.
Acupuncture is a holistic remedy, part of complementary and alternative medicines (CAMs). CAMs typically refer to practices that promote better health, relaxation, and healing and are unlike conventional medical procedures. Other than acupuncture, CAMs include yoga, aromatherapy, herbal medicine, and therapeutic massages.
Acupuncture is considered a natural remedy for OCD as it focuses on both the mind and body, triggering your immune system to expedite the healing process. The expert inserts small needles into your body’s acupuncture points, releasing stress, anxiety, and other OCD symptoms.
If you have a platelet disorder or are taking blood thinners, consult your doctor before exploring acupuncture.
Hypnotherapy and Hypnosis
Hypnotherapy and hypnosis are unusual yet highly effective natural remedies for OCD, with most patients reporting positive results. The hypnotherapist puts you in a semiconscious, trans-like state, where you allow self-awareness, deep focus, and a sense of control.
These three factors are crucial in reducing intrusive thoughts and behaviors, the root of most OCD symptoms. Hypnosis helps you determine the root causes of your OCD and learn valuable insights on how to reduce your symptoms on a personal basis. It also provides a secluded space to replace unwanted thoughts and behaviors with healthier alternatives.
It may take multiple hypnosis sessions before you see notable results.
Last but not least, herbal remedies are the simplest but one of the most effective natural remedies for OCD. The versatility of this remedy allows each patient to find which herb or combination of herbs can help eliminate their symptoms best. The only downfall is that it may take time before you notice a significant change in your symptoms.
However, this remedy’s main benefit is combining multiple herbs to treat a set of symptoms together. For example, St. John’s Wort is one of the most popular herbs for OCD treatment, being used to treat mood and anxiety disorders for decades. It mainly does its job by promoting serotonin production, the lack of which is linked to OCD symptoms.
N-Acetylcysteine is another beneficial herb for OCD, as it regulates glutamine in the brain. Meanwhile, Milk Thistle/Silybum Marianum serves as an herbal antidepressant, and Kava/Piper Methysticum eases anxiety, stress, and mild depression. Lastly, you may explore 5-HTP/Inositol, as it can regulate your mood and reduce most OCD symptoms.
However, if you’re already taking OCD medication, make sure to contact your doctor before taking any unusual herbs, as they can interact with some medication.
It’s not easy to live with OCD, which is why most patients combine therapy with medication to achieve more effective results. However, those who aren’t comfortable with OCD medication side effects opt for natural remedies.
If you or a loved one are showing symptoms of OCD, take an OCD test while keeping in mind that it isn’t a professional diagnosis. To moderate your condition before it escalates, explore some of the natural remedies for OCD and reduce your symptoms without medication.