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A mother with OCD and anxiety and depression

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Hi, please kindly advise me of what natural supplements I can take to alleviate OCD, anxiety, ADD and depression.

I am a 41 year old mother who has two wonderful children. I am always the type of person easy to get worry and depressed. I now have two major anxiety triggers- 1) my son has chronic motor tics for 2 years now but under control for now 2) My older daughter has myopia and wearing overnight ortho-K lenes for 2 years to control progression but latest Nov retinal scan shows her retinas are thinned a bit, but no tear no holes. OD did said to me that she is fine and it is normal to have retinas stretch since she is myopic since young age. But since the appt, I have developed very obsessive thinking of the most worst possible outcome of my kids that my daughter may need eye surgery in the future, maybe retinal detachment and loss of vision etc... I cry a lot and my husband keeps telling me Dr said she is fine for now, but only God knows what will happen in the future... My obsessive thoughts is wearing me out...I feel anxious and keep thinking of the possible worst outcome... I am a Christian, I start keep reciting Bible verses, but seems like my brain doesn't believe what the OD said about my myopic daughter who is fine right now...so I am in anxiety and depression, hardly have energy to teach my kids or eat...


I start taking Kirkman multi-vitamin for a month since I am low in Vit D. I also start taking a potent high quality omega 3. And Kirkman L-theanine 200mg at bed time but seems no help..


Thanks, Barbara


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Barbara --


While there are some supplements which have been studied and known anecdotally to assist with OCD and anxiety, I can't stress enough how much working with a therapist is likely to help you as much, if not potentially more. There are a number of therapeutic methods (ERP, especially) that have long histories of success in helping people control such obsessive thinking, and a good therapist will also give you someone else "in your corner," an additional support, especially during tough times. I highly recommend the International Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Foundation's (IOCDF) "Find Help" web page, where you can search for a therapist who is locationally and philosophically compatible for you:




As for supplementation, it can vary greatly according to one's own body chemistry, so I would suggest two things: 1) only add/change dosage on one supplement at a time, so that you can determine the true impacts; and 2) increase/titer up all dosages very gradually on anything you decide to take, again, so that you can find the "sweet spot" in terms of what your body can best make use of, and not throw anything into a tizzy by slamming your brain or gut chemistry in one fell swoop.


You can enter either of these into the search box on this forum and see what others think of these, as well as find some links to research, but the two supplements that come to mind specifically for OCD/anxiety are: inositol (a B vitamin) and n-acetylcysteine (NAC). Inositol is supposed to be a "natural" selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), but you do need to titer it up slowly because low serotonin may not be at the root of your obsessive thinking and if it's not, adding more to the mix may make you feel more anxious, rather than less. NAC, meanwhile, has been found in some studies by the NIH and Yale to have positive impacts on OCD in both adults and kids; it's an amino acid, and you can find this supplement on-line and in places like Whole Foods and The Vitamin Shoppe. Again, though, some folks don't respond well to it despite the research, so it's another supplement to start low and increase very gradually, monitoring how it makes you feel over time.


Just in our experience, neither of these is going to be a "quick fix." Not unlike prescription SSRIs. it can take several weeks to find the right level of supplementation and feel the full benefits thereof. In the meantime, I would see if I could find a therapist and maybe try some other holistic-type practices: meditation, yoga, a walk around the block, some valerian root tea.


Hang in there! You're not alone!

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I'll also offer that, with my son (he's the one with clinical OCD, though I have my own highly-anxious moments, as well), even a high-quality multivitamin was counter-productive. Nearly all of them contain the same handful of vitamins, including B6 and B12. While my son responds well, and seems to need significant doses of, B6, B12 spins him off his rails. And since I couldn't find a multivitamin that contained sufficient doses of B6 WITHOUT B12, I've had to break his supplements down and give him individual components, rather than relying on a multivitamin.


My DS has a tendency toward high histamine, and B12 can drive up histamine production. Some level of histamine . . . in the brain and elsewhere . . . is essential, and histamine is an essential neurotransmitter. But too much can lead to anxiety.


Just something else to consider . . . Good luck!

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Hi HKGinger, sorry to hear you're having trouble, I hope it soon passes.


I agree with Nancy, but would add that in this country they would normally recommend cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) rather than ERP alone, it's more effective - I don't know why they always tend to say just ERP on this forum. (CBT for OCD should include ERP - that's the "behaviour" part of the name - but also other stuff, discussing the worries you're having and why they don't really make sense - that being the "cognitive" part.)


I'm not sure that that's right about inositol having the same chemical effect as an SSRI; I think its mechanism is thought to be different, as far as they actually know what the mechanism of either thing is. But yes, the few studies there have been of it suggests it works about as often and as well as SSRIs, and without any side effects (except one or two upset stomachs, but everything always upsets somebody's stomach, I'd be suspicious of any study that didn't!) (People who don't respond to SSRIs may respond to inositol and vice versa.)


St John's Wort is supposed to increase serotonin too, so logically it should work for OCD, but actual results seem to have been mixed.


Good luck!

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