What Is OCD ?




Anxiety disorders are among the most prevalent mental health problems found in the community with obsessive-compulsive disorder being the fourth most common psychiatric disorder and the tenth most disabling in the world. Amongst the anxiety disorders that affect over 14% of Australians during any given year, panic and obsessive compulsive disorders (OCD) were found to be amongst the most common. Indeed, OCD was found to occur in 1.9% of the population as estimated by the National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing. Over a larger time frame, SANE Australia estimates approximately 3% of the Australian population will develop OCD at some point during their life.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is classified as an anxiety disorder characterized by negative intrusive thoughts, obsessions, repetitive compulsive behaviours and mental acts aimed at reducing associated anxiety. OCD also has several associated disorders that are referred to as OCD spectrum disorders and also a multitude of co-morbidities. These include body dysmorphic disorder, trichotillomania, hypochondriasis and eating disorders. 90% of OCD patients experience at least one co-morbid diagnosis, and major depressive disorder affects two thirds of the OCD population at some point in their life. 50% experience suicidal ideation and 15% attempt suicide. OCD causes distress and disability, yet it is often unrecognized and under-treated due to an associated secrecy that OCD individuals feel appropriate when dealing with their condition.

Onset is common in adolescence and over 50% of OCD individuals experience symptom onset prior to their mid 20s. Up to 70% of OCD individuals report experiencing continuous symptoms, and 23% undergo alternate increases and decreases in symptomology. OCD is clearly a condition that impacts heavily on a substantial part of the community throughout daily life. 


How Can OCD Be Treated ?


Even though it is prevalent and can be disabling, OCD is not completely understood.  Certainly it is one of the most difficult psychiatric disorders to treat and is often resistant to contemporary therapies possibly due to the complexity of its aetiologies which include cognitive, behavioural, neurobiological and genetic factors.

Both cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) and pharmacological treatments have demonstrated some effectiveness in reducing OCD symptoms and are capable of producing some symptom relief. However, pharmacological treatments are rarely curative. Response to medication is much slower than with other anxiety disorders, and as much as one third of OCD individuals do not experience any improvement from pharmaceuticals. Of those that do experience some benefits, only 30% - 60% symptom relief is reported. Furthermore, within those that do respond to medication, discontinuation of pharmacologic interventions can initiate a complete relapse to the original severity.

On the other hand, and using mainly exposure and response treatments, CBT can produce very beneficial results that continue well after treatment has ceased. However, initial results of CBT can be slow.

Other approaches include the operation Deep Brain Stimulation which is expensive and full of possible complications, and acupuncture. 


How Can The Body Guard Help ?


The treatment of OCD is one of my specialist areas. I use individualised nutritional therapy (which has a significant history in the treatment of anxiety disorders) as well as introduce a unique program of targeted yoga and meditation techniques that stimulate the vagus nerve, rebalance the nervous system with breathing techniques that rebalance brain activity and which assist in neurotransmitter and hormone regulation.

Nutritional therapy has very few side affects, is not addictive and is a non-invasive therapy that can address in-born errors of metabolism in key neurobiological pathways, neurochemical synthesis, second messenger signalling and uptake of neurotransmitters.  Case studies have found multi component micronutrient treatment more effective than Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.  I always recommend to my OCD patients that concurrent treatment by a psychologist in addition to a naturopathic/nutritional approach is their best option. 


A Holistic Treatment Plan


OCD can be accompanied not only by a host of co-morbidities such as trichotillomania but also by many other problems and conditions, often caused by the stress that OCD causes the body.

As a naturopath Christine takes a holistic approach to your health. She doesn't just treat the OCD, she considers the whole body as a starting point for treatment - a treatment that may address simultaneously dietary inadequacies, gut absorption issues, mineral and vitamin rebalancing, hormonal adjustments etc. She also finds it vital to check for, and respond to, heavy metal toxicities and gut overgrowths.  Most of all, Christine tries to find ways of reducing  stress, as experienced in the mind via the anxiety, as well as reducing the resulting stress that impacts on the body and its systems.


The Body Guard's Background In OCD


Treatment for OCD was the area for Christine's Masters thesis at RMIT University and she is up-to-date with the latest developments in this field. 

In addition to her naturopathic background, Christine has also undertaken over twenty years of study in yoga, breathing and meditation techniques and knows which techniques are the most appropriate for anxiety disorders. See more at Professional Background.


If you feel you have anxiety, or even OCD, or would simply like to feel better, contact The Body Guard 07 31512183 or 0421 379615 to make an appointment.

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Christine Barnes11 Jan 2018 3:04 PMWhy Toy with the Thyroid?More...Christine BarnesThe Body Guardwww.thebodyguard.com.au
Christine Barnes5 Apr 2013 3:00 PMTestimonial 12A great caring attitude and a vast knowledge in herbal medications, nutrition and meditation.More...Christine BarnesThe Body Guardwww.thebodyguard.com.au