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For those with OCD, there are natural treatment plans that may help manage symptoms. One of the most popular forms used today is aromatherapy. Here, we discuss the 7 best essential oils for OCD.
Most people have a misunderstanding of what OCD is. This diagnosable mental health disorder has been mistaken by most people as someone who acts very cleanly, organized, and a bit high strung.
Yes, some people like things done a certain way and get upset when they are unable to do it. This is pretty normal behavior in people with type A personalities.
However, these types of people commonly get mistaken for someone who has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
What OCD actually is
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 treatment that works in the long run, people with OCD need to turn to various forms of treatment – both prescribed and natural.
While we will be exploring the best essential oils for OCD as a natural treatment later in this article, it is important to also discuss the prescribed treatment options.
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 prescribed. 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.
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.
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.
The 7 Best Essential Oils for OCD
- Chamomile essential oil is known for its ability to relieve depression and anxiety. It also serves as a relaxant and aids with sleeping problems.
- Rosemary essential oil has many benefits for the immune system, but it is listed as one of the best essential oils for OCD because it also benefits neural connections and can reduce OCD effects.
- Lavender essential oil has many positive effects when used in aromatherapy, including stress and anxiety reduction, easing nervousness. It also has sedative properties to help those who struggle calming their minds enough at night to sleep.
- Geranium essential oil has a sweet scent that can induce a state of relaxation and calm feelings of fear and nervousness.
- Valerian essential oil is popularly known as one of the best essential oils for OCD because of how it has a positive effect on neurotransmitters. This calms anxiety and promotes restful sleep patterns.
- Frankincense essential oil is one of the most popular essential oils for aromatherapy today, but many people are not aware that it is one of the best essential oils for OCD. It can reduce the severity of OCD significantly by lowering levels of anxiety and stress.
- Ylang Ylang essential oil Multiple studies have shown that ylang ylang essential oil soothes anxiety, nerves, and built-up stress. The relaxing effects have been proven on those with anxiety disorders in this 2015 study.