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Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder. It causes unwanted repetitive thoughts and actions.

It is managed with medicine and therapy. Some people use natural therapies to ease OCD behaviors. They should not be used in place of standard care.

Natural Therapies

Likely Effective

These therapies are likely to ease symptoms:

  • Glutamate (glutamic acid) is a compound that the body uses for brain function. ( Note : It should not be taken women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.)A1
  • Morita therapy is an Eastern therapy for anxiety.B1

May Be Effective

N-acetyl cysteine is an antioxidant that may ease OCD symptoms.A2, A4

May Not Be Effective

Inositol is a type of sugar that may not have benefit.A5

Not Enough Data to Assess

  • Homeopathic medicine A6
  • St. John's wort A8

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Herbs and Supplements to Be Used With Caution

Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Some can interfere with treatment or make conditions worse, such as:

  • Glutamate should not be taken by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
 

References

Herbs and Supplements

A1. Laoutidis ZG, Lekka GE, et al. Glutamatergic Agents as Add-On Medication for the Treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. J Clin Psychiatry. 2016;77(12):e1576-e1583.

A2. Couto JP, Moreira R. Oral N-acetylcysteine in the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder: A systematic review of the clinical evidence. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2018 Aug 30;86:245-254.

A3. Sarris J. Herbal medicines in the treatment of psychiatric disorders: 10-year updated review. Phytother Res. 2018 Jul;32(7):1147-1162.

A4. Deepmala, Slattery J, et al. Clinical trials of N-acetylcysteine in psychiatry and neurology: A systematic review. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2015 Aug;55:294-321.

A5. Mukai T, Kishi T, et al. A meta-analysis of inositol for depression and anxiety disorders. Hum Psychopharmacol. 2014 Jan;29(1):55-63.

A6. Davidson JR, Crawford C, et al. Homeopathic treatments in psychiatry: a systematic review of randomized placebo-controlled studies. J Clin Psychiatry. 2011 Jun;72(6):795-805.

A7. Sarris J, Camfield D, et al. Complementary medicine, self-help, and lifestyle interventions for obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and the OCD spectrum: a systematic review. J Affect Disord. 2012 May;138(3):213-221.

A8. Sarris J, Kavanagh DJ. Kava and St. John's Wort: current evidence for use in mood and anxiety disorders. J Altern Complement Med. 2009 Aug;15(8):827-836.

Morita therapy

B1. Wu H, Yu D, et al. Morita therapy for anxiety disorders in adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015;(2):CD008619.

Last reviewed May 2019 by EBSCO NAT Review Board Eric Hurwitz, DC  Last Updated: 6/14/2019