What are the Symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and how is it diagnosed?
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is an Anxiety Disorder which has as its main characteristics obsessive thoughts and ideas, which are sometimes accompanied by compulsive behaviors and actions, often designed to ward off the obsessive thoughts.
There are currently no medical tests which can diagnose OCD. Diagnosis is usually based on information about symptoms as well as clinical observation. Diagnosis of OCD can be made by Psychiatrists, Clinical Psychologists, medical Doctors, Pediatricians or by a multi-disciplinary team .
In order to make a formal diagnosis of OCD, the following symptoms must be present (DSM lV-TR)
* Recurring and persistent ideas, thoughts or images that are often experienced as senseless, intrusive and difficult to control
* Attempts to ignore or suppress these thoughts or to neutralize them with another thought or action
* The person realizes that these thoughts, images or ideas are the product of his or her own mind, yet finds them almost impossible to resist.
* Repetitive, intentional and often stereotyped behavior performed in response to an obsession or according to certain rules
* Although the behavior is intended to neutralize or prevent some dreaded event or situation, it is clearly not connected in a realistic way with what it is designed to prevent or is excessive. (e.g. repetitive hand washing in order to prevent death)
* The obsessions or compulsions cause a great deal of distress and anxiety, are time consuming (take more than an hour a day) or significantly interfere with the person’s health, social or occupational functioning. The person is often secretive and may attempt to conceal the compulsive thoughts and behaviors.
While the above symptoms are necessary to make a formal diagnosis of OCD, they can be present in a less severe form. In this case, the person would not be diagnosed as suffering from a psychiatric disorder, but is rather said to have obsessive thoughts or compulsive behaviors.
This sometimes happens with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Depression. Most people experience some obsessive thoughts and behaviors. at some time in their lives, especially under stress.
In small children it is very common and quite normal (e.g. don’t step on the cracks or the bears will get you!) to have some compulsive behaviors. In both adults and children, it is only when the above criteria are fulfilled and there is a great deal of anxiety and distress associated with the thoughts and behaviors. that a formal diagnosis can be made.
What causes OCD?
There are various theories or explanations for OCD.
Psychoanalytical and psychodynamic theorists often see the obsessive thoughts and compulsions as a defense against anxiety or repressed subconscious impulses. Other theorists believe that the symptoms of OCD may be learned through various mechanisms during childhood or adulthood.
There is also strong evidence that some people have an inherited tendency to develop OCD and that OCD is linked to problems in brain chemistry, neurotransmission or receptor functioning.
Research suggests, for example, that people with OCD frequently have abnormalities or deficiencies in serotonin levels and that their symptoms improve when this serotonin imbalance is addressed with medication.
It is likely that there is no one single explanatory cause for the development of OCD and a combination of factors may often be responsible.
Are Psychiatric drugs the only alternative for OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)?
Many psychiatrists feel that the only effective treatment for OCD involves medication with psychiatric drugs like clomipramine, Prozac or other SSRI’s (drugs which prevent the uptake of serotonin).
While psychiatric drug therapy can often relieve the symptoms of OCD, there are associated risks of side effects as well as an effect on overall health. This often results in the individual having to take a variety of different prescription drugs, which is both expensive and not ideal from a health point of view.
It is important to realize that treatment with psychiatric drugs is not the only answer. Counseling and psychotherapy, especially cognitive therapy, has been shown to be very beneficial and can make a marked improvement in the symptom picture of people with OCD. The earlier that counseling or therapy is begun, the less chance symptoms have of becoming entrenched, although therapy can be beneficial at any stage.
Therapy should be carried out by a Licensed Counselor or Clinical Psychologist who is experienced in the the field of OCD.
There are also natural alternatives to the psychiatric drugs which will help to balance serotonin levels and therefore reduce or eliminate the symptoms of OCD.
MindSoothe is a specially formulated herbal remedy that has been successfully used in the treatment of Depression, Insomnia, OCD, SAD, Panic Disorder, and Anxiety. Being natural, with no artificial preservatives, MindSoothe is safe for adults and children (also see MindSoothe Jr. for children), is non-addictive and has NO SIDE EFFECTS.
MindSoothe can help with the following symptoms:
* Depressed and nervous mood
* Obsessive thoughts and other symptoms of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)
* Low self esteem
* Excessive tearfulness
* Disturbed sleep patterns (insomnia or hypersomnia)
* Disturbed appetite (either loss of appetite or binge eating)
* Loss of libido
* Fatigue and loss of interest and motivation
* Irritability and anger
* Anxiety and Panic attacks
* Low self esteem, lack of trust and paranoia linked to depression
MindSoothe is formulated for adults, for children between the ages of 3 and 15 years please see our MindSoothe Jr. formula.
How does Mindsoothe work?
Mindsoothe works in two ways:
1. St John’s Wort prevents the body from using too much serotonin and allows serotonin levels to build up naturally to optimum levels. Serotonin levels are important for many things, including mood, sleep, concentration, appetite, energy and sex drive.
An improvement in serotonin levels has been clinically proven to be associated with a reduction in the symptoms of OCD. Like most SSRI’s, this can take from 3 – 5 weeks to take effect and regular use is important.
There have been many clinical studies which show the effectiveness of St John’s Wort in the treatment of depression. A review published in the British Medical Journal quotes up to twenty-three clinical trials which demonstrate that St John’s Wort works as well as many prescription anti-depressants, without the major side effects. Millions of people around the world have been helped by treatment with St John’s Wort.
2. The St John’s Wort in MindSoothe is combined with Passiflora – a calming herb that reduces anxiety and soothes frayed nerves. According to Dr Earl Mindell (The New Herb Bible), Passiflora is one of nature’s best tranquilizers. It works quickly and effectively and is an excellent addition to any treatment for anxiety and depression.
Symptoms of OCD are known to increase during periods of stress and anxiety. The Passiflora in Mindsoothe helps to reduce the anxiety and stress associated with OCD, thereby also contributing to the reduction of symptoms.
What is the difference between Mindsoothe and other remedies with St John’s Wort or Passiflora?
It is very important that herbal remedies are correctly prepared and that they are pharmaceutically manufactured according to acknowledged therapeutic dosage. Because there is no standardization in herbal medicine, it is unfortunately true that many herbal preparations are substandard or do not contain therapeutic dosages. This has not been good for the reputation of natural remedies.
Like all Native Remedies products, MindSoothe has been prepared according to the highest pharmaceutical standards and personally supervised by our Clinical Psychologist, who has been able to observe the results on real people in her private practice.
All ingredients are in accordance with correct therapeutic dosage and the combinations of herbs chosen ensure maximum effectiveness with minimum side effects. This means that you can be sure that you are getting the remedy that you need.
Learn more about MindSoothe now.