OCD treatment is always a challenge. We do not know exactly what stimulates the development of this disease, and therefore in most cases, OCD treatment is palliative but not effective. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), a mental disorder that used to be considered rare, is now far more common. Statistics show that around 2.3% of the total world population between the ages of 18 and 54 suffer from this disease, which outperforms other mental disorders such as bipolar disorder, panic disorder, or schizophrenia.
Western Medical OCD treatment
There is no cure for OCD, although there are several Western medical treatments that provide symptom relief. One study found that it is possible to treat 40 to 60 percent of all OCD patients using approved drugs, as well as treatment therapies.
Therapy for OCD – most common form of OCD treatment
The list of the most common therapies for OCD includes psychotherapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, as well as hypnotherapy, Neuro-Linguistic Programming aka NLP, meditation, yoga, and physical exercises.
Medications for OCD – traditional allopathic OCD treatment
Treatment for OCD with medical assistance involves the use of OCD drugs, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which are antidepressant drugs and are considered the most effective drugs for OCD. They include sertraline, fluvoxamine, paroxetine, citalopram, and fluoxetine.
Other medications for OCD include anxiolytics, including Valium and Diazepam, which work by increasing the action of the neurotransmitter GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), a neurotransmitter whose main function is to slow down brain neurons.
In the United States alone, about 3.3 million people have been diagnosed with OCD, of which 0.3 to 1% are children and 2% of adults. This corresponds to approximately 1 in 4 adults and 1 in 100 children with this condition.
Statistics also show that the average age at onset is 19 years, with about 25% of cases occurring at age 14, and that about a third of adults develop symptoms for the first time in childhood.
OCD is non-discriminatory – it affects both men and women and occurs in all ethnic groups, although it has been found to be more common in boys among children. From these numbers, it is clear that OCD is far more prevalent than is commonly thought.
What is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, usually called OCD, is a common chronic anxiety disorder in which some people have uncontrollable, recurring, and unwanted thoughts, ideas, or sensations (compulsions) that they feel the need to continually repeat.
A person with OCD can clean and/or wash their hands repeatedly due to fear of germs or contamination, repeatedly checking things like checking whether the door is locked or having unwanted prohibited thoughts involving sex or harm.
These repetitive behaviors or compulsive thoughts can interfere with a person’s daily activities, as well as social interactions. For others, they do not interrupt their daily activities and can even make tasks much easier.
What causes OCD?
While it has already been recognized that OCD has a psychiatric foundation, research has not yet been able to categorize any definitive causes of OCD. Nevertheless, it is commonly believed that Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is initiated by various risk factors including genetic, neurobiological, cognitive, behavioral, and environmental. Below are listed the most possible causes of OCD
Genetics – A study that was funded by the National Institutes of Health found that OCD and certain related psychiatric disorders may be associated with an uncommon mutation of the Human Serotonin Transporter Gene (HSERT). According to the study, individuals who exhibit OCD symptoms may have a second variation in the same gene. Another study has indicated that if one twin has Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, the other is more likely to have it as well when they are identical rather than fraternal.
Structure and function of the brain – proved to be a cause of OCD Various imaging studies have found differences in the frontal cortex and subcortical structures of the brain in patients with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. According to these studies, there appears to be a link between OCD symptoms and abnormalities in certain areas of the brain, although this link is not very clear. Extensive research is still ongoing.
Environmental factors – other possible causes of OCD. Environmental factors have also been found to be a major contributor to the onset of OCD. For example, people with traumatic brain injury are at greater risk of developing OCD, further confirming the link between brain structure/function and OCD. Additionally, people who experienced physical, emotional, or sexual abuse as children are at a higher risk of developing OCD. Some children who have had a strep infection, also known as pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with strep infection (PANDAS), are also at increased risk of developing OCD.
Most people with OCD have obsessions or compulsions, but others experience both.
Those who have obsessive thoughts experience symptoms such as;
- Fear of contamination
- Repeated unwanted ideas
- Aggressive impulse
- Thoughts of harming others
- Persistent sexual thoughts
- Thoughts of being hurt
Compulsive symptoms include:
- Wash your hands several times
- Check repeatedly whether the door of the oven is closed.
- Clean one or more items several times
- Excessive double-checking
- Constant counting
- Arrangement of elements in a certain direction
- Praying two often or too long or engaging in ceremonies caused by religious fear
Acupuncture for OCD – ancient Chinese natural OCD treatment
The evidence for using acupuncture to treat OCD and other anxiety disorders is growing stronger. The use of alternative forms of OCD treatment with the effects which is better than the use of medications for OCD has also been recognized.
According to Chinese medicine, when Qi, an energy force that regulates the general health of the body, is interrupted by injuries, malnutrition, or changes in the environment, health problems arise. Inserting needles at specific points on the body restores Qi and the overall health of the body. That is why acupuncture is considered an effective treatment for OCD.
Numerous clinical studies have shown that acupuncture has a positive effect in the treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and other mental disorders, including depression, especially when combined with herbal treatments and psychotherapy. In these studies, acupuncture was found to lower stress and anxiety levels and calm the mind, which greatly reduces the likelihood of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. According to Dr. Hsu, Senior Researcher and Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, acupuncture causes the nervous system to stimulate the part of the brain that controls emotions depending on the needle stick, and this makes it effective for treating patients with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.
More evidence can be found in a study published in the Journal of Acupuncture and Meridian Studies, where students who took a 20-minute acupuncture session had less anxiety and better memory compared to those who did not. Researchers at Georgetown University led by Ladan Eshkevari, a board-certified acupuncturist, and physiologist, found evidence that acupuncture actually slows down the production of stress hormones in a study published in the Journal of Endocrinology. Unlike with counseling, OCD patients who undertake acupuncture often see results after just a few sessions with the results improving with continued treatment. Acupuncture has been found to be particularly helpful in OCD patients who want to limit or altogether stop drug use due to severe side-effects.
Conclusion on OCD treatment
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is an anxious form of mental disorder that, if not treated properly, can affect a person’s ability to perform daily tasks and interact with others. Adding acupuncture to your OCD treatment regimen can significantly reduce or eliminate symptoms while improving your overall health. At Philadelphia Acupuncture Clinic we have made great strides in treating this condition and are confident that we can help you too. Our style of medicine is different from what many have experienced; we find out the root cause of any disease or condition and create an OCD treatment plan that yields results. Also, the beauty of our treatment is that at the clinic you can be healed with a combination of acupuncture, homeopathy, and hypnosis. All these modalities reside under one roof here. Dr. Tsan, an internationally recognized medical doctor, homeopath, and hypnotherapist personally supervise each treatment. We want to help! Call us today to schedule a consultation.