Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Diet

OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) is on the rise in our children. It’s actually now the fourth most common mental disorder and is nearly as common as asthma or diabetes. But can diet play a part in controlling it? Well, yes in a lot of cases it can!

OCD is a disorder in which the sufferer experiences unreasonable fears, thoughts and compulsions. This may include aversion to being dirty resulting is obsessive hand washing, hoarding, checking, arranging and measuring. It disorder also comes with a lot of anxiety.

Scientists at the US National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH) have investigated whether a bacterial infection could play a part in the disorder and have come up with some interesting findings. Streptococcal bacteria, which cause strep throat, scarlet fever and other infections, has been linked to having negative effects on the brain which could trigger OCD, or a syndrome which is very similar, by affecting brain enzymes. This an affect communication between the neurons which can lead to a tic disorder termed “paediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococci” (PANDAS).

These bacteria can live in food, most commonly unpasteurized milk, ice cream, cheese, eggs, custard, shrimp and lobster. Although pasteurisation of milk should kill most bacteria, studies have shown that many will survive. Milk can also carry other pathogenic bacteria, such as Salmonella, Tuberculosis bovis and Brucella. Interestingly, Brucella is very common in women but goes largely undiagnosed because of the “vague” and non-specific nature of the symptoms. Symptoms include light fever, joint pain, mild flu, chills and fatigue. A qualified Homeopath or Naturopath should be able to diagnose it. It’s pretty difficult to get rid of and is usually resistant to antibiotics. However, with the right diet and treatment it can be overcome.

Inflammation in the gut of children, and certainly of adults, can lead to neurotoxins disrupting brain function also causing OCD or other mental or emotional disorders. An anti-inflammatory diet and one which promotes gut healing and immune defence can be really beneficial in treating the symptoms.

Of course OCD and other mental or emotional disorders aren’t all caused or made worse through diet, but it’s a really safe and beneficial avenue to explore as it commonly will bring great results.

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