I see the phenomenon of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) in terms of underlying metabolic disorders that can be treated without recourse to drugs.
OCD can be described as a wide range of symptoms that compels a person to act or think in repetitive ways also known as rumination. The person may be afflicted with compulsive thoughts or possessed with fear of contamination by bugs. This would result in him/her having to wash their hands over an over again. Others are compelled to make sure that water taps have been properly closed or things are in their correct place. It has features in common with what is often called “perfectionism”, which is sometimes shown as intolerance to people’s foibles. “Rules MUST be strictly adhered to!” This has inevitable consequences to one’s self-image subjected to an obsession that “I am not good enough!”. This may extend to a diagnosis of Body Dysmorphic Disorder, where the person is obsessed about a perceived imperfection of one’s body or bodily functions, such as olfactory reference syndrome (compulsive belief of smelling) PsychCentral. Another common symptom is repetitive thoughts of constant fear of death, aggression, sexual ideation and violence or wanting to harm people or getting irritated by people’s quirky or unconventional behaviour. Other behaviours associated with OCD are nail biting or trichotillomania urges to pull out hair of scalp, eyelashes, eyebrows, skin picking and hypochondriasis (obsessive fears of having an illness). Obsessive thoughts can also be caused by a conviction or delusion that a mood disorder MUST have “psychological” reasons dating back to “forgotten” memories originating from childhood. Symptoms of OCD may vary over time depending on the popular notions of what constitutes obsessive thoughts. But there seems to be a common element of stress that can not be related to the environment. See also: Diagnostic criteria of Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCD) in Benjamin J Sadock, 806
OCD seems to be caused by excess secretion of adrenaline, the fight/flight hormone, from an internal origin. Adrenaline is also the focusing hormone, because in case of danger you cannot take your eyes away from the enemy (tiger). Thus it forces you to focus on things. Hence excess adrenaline production can result in Obsessive Thoughts and Compulsive Behaviours of the kind of “making sure behaviour”. Like compulsively making sure that you have closed the door properly or making sure that you have not caught a bug and compulsively washing your hands. Making sure you breath fresh air etc.
Understanding the psychological consequences of OCD could lead us to suspect that the generation of stress hormones can also create the fearful imageries experienced by people suffering from psychotic episodes – during periods of stress – as in schizophrenia. Being suddenly bombarded with endogenous stress hormones – such as cortisol and adrenaline – the mind appears to create images and ideas that fits the strange inner experience of panic and fear. Hence, hallucinations and delusions resulting in excess adrenaline production can make sense to otherwise incomprehensible ‘psychological’ events. This has been further discussed here. See also Psychological Projection and Hypoglycemia.
Some of these weird and varied “psychological” and physical symptoms are explained in Anxiety and the Sympathetic Nervous System.
OCD is a sub-class of anxiety attacks. Both OCD and anxiety attacks are marked by excess adrenaline production mainly caused by unstable blood sugar levels that can easily be tested by medical tests, such as the test for hypoglycemia as explained here.
The real question is why is the body overproducing adrenaline and at the wrong time and circumstances? The answer lies in the the function of adrenaline. Adrenaline apart from being a fight/flight hormone is also a hormone that converts sugar stores in the body (glycogen) into glucose. (See image) Glucose is the brain’s major source of energy. It requires about 70% of glucose to fuel the biochemical machinery of brain cells. Without that energy brain cells will soon die. Thus whenever the brain senses energy starvation it will trigger the release of adrenaline so as to feed the brain again with energy. For the effects of insulin resistance on the body see here.
The next question is: why is the brain starved of energy with all that sugar being consumed in our society?
The reason is that a person may have a physical disorder that prevents the conversion of sugar sources in food (carbohydrates) into biological energy called ATP. That energy is essential in the production of feel good (relaxing) neuro-chemicals, such as serotonin. Without it we will feel anxious, insecure, in danger and panicky without knowing why.
This is usually the case when a person suffers from Insulin Resistance. Insulin Resistance is usually associated with the development of Diabetes Type II. Most doctors can test this, but they appear to have problems testing for pre-diabetic insulin resistance, because they have not been trained for this. We have a test for hypoglycemia at our web site. This condition is called “The Hypoglycemic Syndrome” which is characterized by unstable blood sugar levels, going up and down. Unstable blood sugar levels, due to insulin resistance, causes the body to release stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. Whenever there is a sudden drop in brain sugar levels, adrenaline kicks in to attempt the redress the imbalance. One immediate remedy to stabilize blood sugar levels is by taking Glycerine as one tablespoon mixed in glass of water and mixed with a dash of lemonade to improve taste.
Thus now we have an explanation how excess adrenaline can cause OCD, and for that matter many other so-called “mental” illnesses. Apart from hypoglycemia, there are many other factors that can contribute to OCD. See: Silent Diseases and Mood Disorders
The solution is to go on a hypoglycemic diet, as first step in treatment. It may take some time to stabilise blood sugar levels. This is similar to a diabetic diet. It normalizes blood sugar levels, and stops the brain from producing stress hormones. Apart from hypoglycemia there are many other metabolic disorders that are responsible for “abnormal psychological” experiences, but this is another matter. See “Silent Diseases and Mood Disorders” below.
Please discuss this article with your health care worker, doctor or nutritional doctor or therapist.