• Dr A A Mundewadi

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) – Modern (Allopathic) Versus Ayurvedic Herbal Treatment

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a chronic mental health condition in which uncontrollable obsessions lead to compulsive behaviour. Obsessions revolve around fears (e. g. fear of germs), the need for symmetry, or unwanted thoughts related to taboo subjects or self-harm. Compulsive behaviour causes repetitive actions like frequent washing of hands, rearranging things, and repetition of words. This condition can cause frequent work absenteeism, loss of quality of life, health issues, personal distress, family disruptions, and social embarrassment.

While the exact cause of this condition is as yet unknown, it is believed that genetics, changes in brain structure and function, and an unhealthy environment, may contribute. This condition usually manifests in teenage or young adult years. While most affected individuals are otherwise completely normal, a few may have concurrent mental health issues like anxiety, depression, bipolar disease, schizophrenia, substance abuse disorder, or tics. A diagnosis is usually made using psychological evaluation while doing a clinical examination and laboratory tests to rule out other conditions.

Treatment in the modern (Allopathic) system of medicines is with medications and therapy. Medications include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and tricyclic antidepressants, such as fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, paroxetine, sertraline and clomipramine. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is considered quite effective for OCD management. It addresses the relationship of thoughts, feelings and behaviours. Exposure and response prevention is a type of CBT in which the therapist helps the client improve coping skills by a gradual exposure and practice in handling the situation or thoughts. Patients who have delusional or suicidal thoughts, and concurrent psychoses, may require hospitalization. Support groups help to cope with the condition and also with rehabilitation.

Most individuals affected with OCD usually first approach a psychiatrist for medication; however, other than controlling anxiety, these medicines usually do not offer any substantial relief. Cognitive and Behavioural Therapy (CBT) offers some benefit to such people. The advantage of Ayurvedic medicines is that these medicines are safe for long-term use and actually treat the root problem in OCD. The medicines help affected individuals to develop sufficient understanding and will power to control their obsession and curtail their compulsive behaviour. Regular Ayurvedic treatment for 6-8 months gives people affected with OCD sufficient control over themselves, and allows them freedom to enjoy their lives without the shackles of this affliction.

People who concurrently show signs of some psychiatric disorder need to be treated for that condition too. Treatment for refractory patients can be given in a combined form, with a combination of Ayurvedic medicines and CBT or Ayurvedic medicines combined with modern anti-psychotic drugs. In such situations, regular supervision of a psychiatrist is recommended. However, for nearly 90 % of people with OCD, Ayurvedic medicines and some simple counselling suffice to give significant relief from this condition.

Cognitive and Behavioural Therapy,CBT,OCD,Obsessive Compulsive Disorder,Ayurvedic herbal treatment,herbal medicines,psychiatric disorder,mood disorder,counselling

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