Alternative Treatments for Children with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Ochildren with OCDbsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is defined as illogical, irrational and distressing thoughts, beliefs, fears and images (i.e. obsessions) that lead to repetitive behaviors (i.e. compulsions or rituals). It is important to note that it is possible to only exhibit obsessions or compulsions and still have this anxiety disorder. Moreover, these children may not realize or want to acknowledge that they have this disorder.

If they are aware of their thoughts and behaviors, they may try to stop them, ignore them or hide them from others. The problem is that these actions only worsen their condition by increasing their anxiety and stress. Children with this condition perform compulsive acts as a way to alleviate stressful and anxious thoughts and feelings.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder typically involves themes such as: the fear of becoming infected or contaminated. To ease the anxiety, these children may repeatedly wash their hands or take baths throughout the day. The frequent washing can cause their skin to crack and bleed, allowing for bacterial infections. Ultimately, the unpleasant and intrusive thoughts and repetitive behaviors will continue to return until treatment is applied. The cause of this disorder in children varies, depending on the child, but biology and environmental factors appear to play a significant role in the development and progression of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Although treatment for this disorder may not bring about a cure, it will help these children effectively manage their condition so they can have a healthier, more positive childhood experience.

It is important to understand that obsessive-compulsive disorder is a chronic condition, which may require lifelong treatment. Even though, this condition is normally treated with a combination of psychotherapy and medication (i.e. anti-anxiety drugs and antidepressants), alternative treatments are available to supplement your child’s treatment plan. If you are wondering what alternative treatments are available for children with obsessive-compulsive disorder – you have come to the right place. This article will provide you with alternative treatments for children with obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Listed below are alternative treatments for children with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD):

Alternative Treatments

  • Calming Herbs 

Researchers, scientists and mental health professionals surmise that obsessive-compulsive disorder may stem from a chemical imbalance in some children’s brains. Although psychiatric medications are often used to correct brain imbalances, calming herbs can also help regulate their brain activity. An especially beneficial herb that can help prevent and/or relieve anxiety attacks is passion flower. This calming herb has been touted as a natural tranquilizer that can ease stress and anxiety in children. In fact, when this herb is combined with other peaceful herbs (i.e. kava and valerian), obsessions and compulsions are significantly reduced. It is important that you contact a physician or psychiatrist before using herbal remedies to treat a medical condition.

  • Stress-Management: Yoga 

One of the most effective alternative treatments for children with obsessive-compulsive disorder is yoga. This stress-management technique involves a series of controlled poses that calm and balance the mind and body. The purpose is to bring harmony to these two areas in an effort to reduce stress and ward off anxiety and panic attacks. Moreover, yoga exercises can decrease arousal and temper anxiety-related triggers.  In fact, the asana yoga pose helps clear anxious minds, diminish obsessive thoughts and reduce repetitive behaviors (i.e. compulsions and rituals).

  • Acupressure 

The ancient healing practice of acupressure is an alternative treatment for children with obsessive-compulsive disorder that consists of putting weight on certain pressure/trigger points on the body. The purpose is to release blockages that can cause anxiety disorders like obsessive-compulsive disorder. A health professional focuses on the child’s liver, spleen a stomach in an effort to remove blockages that cause obsessive/unpleasant thoughts and behaviors. This alternative treatment encourages relaxation, tranquility and calmness.

***It is important that you talk with your child’s psychologist and/or psychiatrist before using alternative treatments to treat your child’s obsessive-compulsive disorder.

 

References:

Ben-Joseph, E. P. (2012). Obsessive-compulsive disorder. Kids Health. Retrieved from             http://kidshealth.org/parent/emotions/behavior/OCD.html#

Harvard Medical School. (2009). Yoga for anxiety and depression. Retrieved from             http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/Harvard_Mental_Health_Letter/2009/April/Y oga-for-anxiety-and-depression

Mayo Clinic. (2013). Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD): Treatments and drugs. Retrieved      from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/ocd/basics/treatment/con-20027827

University of Maryland (2014). Passionflower. Retrieved from             http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/passionflower

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