Most people have a misunderstanding of what OCD is. Most people have mistaken the diagnosable mental health as someone who acts very cleanly, organized, and a bit high-strung. However, this article focuses more on the essential oils used to manage some of the symptoms.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a severe mental illness. It’s the fourth most common psychiatric disorder characterized by obsessive thoughts and compulsive or repetitive behavior.
Even more, people with OCD have uncontrollable thoughts and a habit of repeating a particular ritual. It’s a severe disorder that can keep you from living a normal life.
If you are undergoing treatment, you can also try some essential oils for OCD to manage some of the symptoms. Essential oils contain calming and sedative properties.
These properties can also help reduce anxiety, stress and keep you calm and relaxed.
What Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder that is characterized by unwanted fears, obsessions, and beliefs that drives compulsive behaviors, or compulsions.
A compulsion is a type of ritual that people with OCD perform out of obsession or underlying anxiety.
Compulsive behaviors can include:
Obsessively cleaning out of fear of germs or getting sick
Fixation on numbers or counting things over and over again
Arranging things based on an obsession over patterns, symmetry, and balance
Constantly checking on things out of fear of being harmed from perceived dangers – i.e. constantly checking outlets due to fear of fire
While these may seem like manageable symptoms, people with OCD experience significant problems in their daily life, relationships, ability to hold jobs, and even motor skills.
Performing rituals do not ease long-term anxiety or depression that can result from OCD. These rituals serve as a temporary relief from stress and give the person a sense of control over their lives.
In order to find a treatment that works in the long run, people with OCD need to turn to various forms of treatment – both prescribed and natural.
The Best Essential Oils for OCD
1. Frankincense Essential Oil
Frankincense essential oil comes from the distilled resin of the tree by the same name. The Frankincense tree is native to regions in Africa and parts of the Middle East and its woody, earthy oil derivative is used extensively in aromatherapy.
Not only is it believed to eliminate airborne bacteria, but it can also aid in respiratory health. Moreover, its comforting fragrance and other properties are believed to reduce feelings of stress, nervousness and anxiety.
General anxiety is one of the most common OCD symptoms, and one that can cause a lot of disturbance to those suffering from the disorder. So, frankincense essential oil’s ability to reduce this stress makes it an effective OCD remedy.
Moreover, the anxiolytic effects of this substance can calm your nerves and promote restful sleep that can further reduce the severity of OCD symptoms.
2. Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender oil is among the most versatile and widely used oils in aromatherapy. Not only is it antifungal and antiseptic, but it also has sedative, analgesic and detoxifying effects.
Even more, this essential oil is distilled from Lavandula angustifolia. We’ve all heard that lavender oil can help with insomnia and irregular sleep.
How lavender essential oil helps with reducing OCD is simple. With its calming properties, this oil reduces stress, reduces anxiety and eases nervousness.
Additionally, it promotes calmness and mental well-being that helps with OCD treatment.
Ylang ylang essential oil comes from the flowers of the Cananga Odorata. Just like Valerian, even ylang ylang is extracted via steam distillation. In many ancient cultures, ylang ylang was used for its sedative properties and even to improve memory.
This essential oil is used in aromatherapy for its stimulating effects on the mind and body.
This study from 2014 found that the effects of ylang ylang oil can positively sooth the nerves, and ease built-up stress.
Valerian essential oil originates from the root of Valeriana Officinalis. The wholesome oil is extracted via steam distillation. In ancient times, many cultures used to use the extract of Valerian to aid with hysteria or nervous disorder treatments.
A study from 2004 found that valerian essential oil significantly impacted neurotransmitter ‘GABA’ in lab rats’ brains. Also, the studies shed light on how this oil could calm anxiety and promote restful sleep.
While there are a few studies and reports that have found a link between the use of this oil and better sleep patterns, there still isn’t enough reliable evidence to say that this can treat OCD symptoms.
However, many people have found it to aid in reducing stress and calming anxiety.
5. Geranium Essential Oil
Geranium essential oil comes from the leaves, stems and even flowers of the geranium plant. This oil has a wide variety of benefits and it is extensively used in aromatherapy treatments.
The uplifting sweet scent of geranium oil is known to calm your nerves and promote relaxation.
Anxiety, nervousness and fear are some of the most common OCD symptoms. Additionally, research has shown that these feelings are linked to repetitive though patterns that cause compulsive behavior.
Since geranium essential oil is known to help in reducing these feelings of fear and anxiety, it can provide relief.
This research study found that aromatherapy with geranium essential oil could effectively reduce stress and anxiety in patients with AMI.
Also, the finding of this research show that anxiety that stems from OCD is best treated with geranium essential oil.
Rosemary is a popular herb used in many cuisines around the world. While it has culinary merits, rosemary essential oil offers a host of health and remedial benefits. It can aid in strengthening the immune system and promoting healthy hair growth.
Moreover, it has many positive benefits for human neural connections. Given how it acts in the body, rosemary oil can aid in reducing OCD effects.
People who have anxiety related to OCD have found relief from their symptoms with regular use of rosemary oil. Since it soothes OCD symptoms, it also effectively reduces stress levels.
Anyone who has ever looked for natural remedies to help them sleep better has surely come across chamomile tea. Chamomile is potent as a sleep aid and relaxant.
However, its not just the tea that helps, even the essential oil has a similar benefit. Stress, nervousness and anxiety are common symptoms of OCD.
Additionally. by effectively countering these effects, chamomile essential oil is a great aid for OCD patients. In this study from 2017, reports showed that Roman chamomile oil effectively reduced depressive behavior among lab rats.
Another study from Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine had around 57 participants with various anxiety issues. One group of these participants was treated with chamomile capsuled while the other group was on placebos.
On completion of the study reports found that the group which received chamomile pills experienced significant anxiety reduction.
How to Use Essential Oils for OCD
You can use essential oils in various ways to reduce the symptoms of OCD. You can use them topically or through inhalation based on your preference.
Pour a few drops of any essential oil into a diffuser. Let the aroma spread to your home and enjoy their calming effects. You can place the diffuser beside your bed if you have trouble sleeping.
Take a few drops of essential oil and dilute it with a suitable carrier oil. Additionally, apply this oil mix to your neck, back, feet, and wrist.
Prescribed Treatment Option
The goal treatment is to help the person recognize their thought patterns and learn when their fears are irrational. Then, step by step they learn how to stop the compulsive behaviors that typically lead them towards more anxiety and depression.
This process includes psychological treatment, family support, methods of reducing high levels of stress and anxiety, and in some cases, medication is prescribe.
However, studies have found that in 90% of those relying on taking medication have a complete return of their symptoms once they stop taking them. Medications also tend to help with the symptoms alone and not the underlying causes of OCD.
However, this is why therapy techniques and lifestyle changes are the better option for long-term relief from OCD symptoms. Examples of these would be:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Support from family/friends
Methods to reduce anxiety
Reducing anxiety is a critical component
Reducing anxiety in one’s life often involves a complete lifestyle change. Incorporating new routines, developing healthy habits, and trying new things are part of the process. Luckily all of these things point towards recovery.
However, there are many different natural, safe, and healthy methods of reducing anxiety. Activities like meditation, exercise, eating healthy, journaling, and aromatherapy.
Aromatherapy for anxiety
A study published in 2016 showed that aromatherapy had a significant effect on levels of anxiety and improved the patients’ psychological conditions. Using the best essential oils for OCD combined with the proper treatment may help manage symptoms.
OCD is a psychiatric problem that often remains untreated. While most of us don’t understand the severity of this illness, things may get worse if not treated on time. With proper treatment and lifestyle change, you can learn how to manage this disorder.
Stay positive and learn how to deal with it. You can also try these above-mentioned essential oils alongside with your treatment. But do not forget to ask your doctor first if you’re under medication.
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