In this fourth article in our series of articles on natural treatment of psychological disorders we discuss obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), the syndrome made famous by the movie “As Good as it Gets” starring Jack Nicholson.

 The information contained in this article is backed by research which is available upon request.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

            As with other disorders, including other anxiety disorders such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and social anxiety disorder (SAD), improvement is seen for OCD when serotonin levels are elevated, leading again to the application of both tryptophan and magnesium to improve the symptoms of OCD to some extent. 

            Selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor (SSRI) treatments are of marginal assistance to only 40 to 60 per cent of OCD patients, with significant side-effects.  Thus, the limited efficacy of SSRIs in this case may indicate that the application of tryptophan to stimulate the elevation of serotonin, as well as the similar application of magnesium, may not be the best possible approach for the natural treatment of OCD.

            As is the situation with depression, treatment of patients with OCD may be accomplished or enhanced by using vitamin B12, specifically in the form of methylcobalamin.  Also, as in depression, the treatment of OCD with St. John's Wort (SJW) has shown efficacy.  Studies compared SJW at 900 mg per day to standard SSRI treatments Paroxetine and Fluoxetine at 20 mg each.  The result was a 57 per cent decrease in OCD symptoms compared to Paroxetine and a 48 per cent reduction compared to Fluoxetine. 

            There is some indication that the pathophysiology of OCD may be rooted in oxidative stress. The extent of oxidative damage was detected using malondialdehyde, which results from cell membrane lipid peroxidation.  The study demonstrated that antioxidant levels for participants with OCD were lower than controls and that oxidative cell damage was higher, with statistical significance, as indicated by malondialdehyde levels.  Particular significance was seen in low levels of vitamins C and E. 

            The basic antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E, and several other antioxidants are suggested for treatment of OCD.  Additional relevant antioxidants include glutathione and enzymes superoxide dismutase, and glutathione peroxidase.  Also, inositol (a B vitamin and sugar alcohol) has shown effectiveness in treatment of OCD, generally at dosages of 18 grams per day.

            These treatment approaches require measurement of existing levels in the body and proper dosages are needed to achieve the desired results, preferably in a clinical setting where monitoring and adjustment of treatment levels may be accomplished. 

This article is not intending to direct treatment protocols, or directly treat, cure or prevent disease.