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Living in hope

Has anyone any experience of homeopathy for OCD?

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Our 12 year old son has a couple of weeks ago been formally diagnosed with moderately severe OCD but let’s face it we already knew this and didn’t need a physiatrist to tell us that.

Looking back he has always had his ‘odd’ ways since he was young but it has escalated out of control since he started at secondary school last year.

We have given up on CAMSH because of the long wait list for CBT treatment and have now gone private before this horrible illness drives us all totally insane and it is breaking my heart to see how much he struggles day by day. He fears germs and contamination and he now struggles to go to school, has now isolated himself totally from his friends and family members, we can not go in his room or touch him and he is constantly fearfully that we may have ‘brushed him’ . 

We are hoping CBT can start in the next couple of weeks but we have also been asked to consider SSRI medication. Whilst we are desperate to give him whatever help he needs, we are concerned by the potential side effects of medication. I’ve started googling homeopathy but am I clutching at straws??? Any helpful advice would be gratefully received please 

Edited by Living in hope
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You are clutching at straws. 

Homeopathy is not the way forward. I have used it successfully to mitigate effects of hay fever, and the homeopath has become a good friend. We both know that the only way it might help is with mitigating anxiety and tried it but it didn't. 

Sadly her own daughter is an OCD sufferer. 

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Homeopathy is a pig in a poke as far as OCD is concerned. 

You are right, however, to be wary of SSRIs with a 12-year-old. Adolescents react differently to meds and suicidal ideation is a big concern. That doesn't mean you can't try them, but a good talk with the doctor is in order and you will have to keep an eye on him for a while to see how he reacts.

CBT is still the way to go.

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No knowledge at all of medication in adolescents but as an adult I'd say dont be scared of meds if an expert says its for the best. Yes side effects can be a bit of an issue but then its the lesser of two evils.

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If he hasn't even tried CBT yet then drug treatment shouldn't be on the radar for a child or adolescent, in my opinion. As Polar Bear says, CBT is the way to go. 

IF he has difficulty engaging with what is required of him from CBT that's when you START to consider the option of medication. But be very clear that medication will not alter his belief in things and people being contaminated. Not one jot. So don't expect his contamination-behaviour to change if he goes on them.

His anxiety may reduce, but it's the thought processes (OCD thinking) which drives his behaviour more than anxiety. Anxiety is the result of the faulty thinking, not the cause.

Homeopathy is, I'm afraid, clutching at thin air for OCD, not even as substantial as clutching at straws. :( 

I suggest you give the CBT a chance before looking at other options. I also recommend you read a good self-help book for parents so you can support the CBT process at home. It's very important to ensure your son feels you are on his side against the OCD, not him and his 'problem' on one side and you and the doctors as the enemy. Again, that comes down to the cognitive approach you take at home being supportive of his recovery. 

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18 hours ago, snowbear said:

If he hasn't even tried CBT yet then drug treatment shouldn't be on the radar for a child or adolescent, in my opinion. As Polar Bear says, CBT is the way to go. 

IF he has difficulty engaging with what is required of him from CBT that's when you START to consider the option of medication. But be very clear that medication will not alter his belief in things and people being contaminated. Not one jot. So don't expect his contamination-behaviour to change if he goes on them.

His anxiety may reduce, but it's the thought processes (OCD thinking) which drives his behaviour more than anxiety. Anxiety is the result of the faulty thinking, not the cause.

Homeopathy is, I'm afraid, clutching at thin air for OCD, not even as substantial as clutching at straws. :( 

I suggest you give the CBT a chance before looking at other options. I also recommend you read a good self-help book for parents so you can support the CBT process at home. It's very important to ensure your son feels you are on his side against the OCD, not him and his 'problem' on one side and you and the doctors as the enemy. Again, that comes down to the cognitive approach you take at home being supportive of his recovery. 

SB. Hmmm. With respect not sure I agree totally with this.

A lot of current thinking is that ALL mental illness is due to a chemical imbalance in the brain. If you sort the imbalance then the problem gets sorted. Yes anixety/OCD or whatever is caused by faulty thinking but surely the argument is that there wouldn't be faulty thinking if the balance was right.

Of course, CBT will help you deal with the faulty thinking - for most people anyway. It might even make the faulty thinking no longer an issue. I would agree this is probably the ideal situation.

Obviously, meds are complicated a bit because of adolescents and different reactions. Sometimes I think though the NHS forces the CBT route because its cheaper and easier.

In my circumstance, son is seeing a consultant psych today. So we can get all options looked at. In the past, he has totally blanked any attempts at counselling/advice or therapy so we pretty much know he wont bother with CBT.

Although I would agree, homeopathy = pointless. Trouble is I can see OPs point - you get so little help with NHS you get nowhere.

OP - where are you living? Have you considered private appt? If you're in South west I'll let you know how this one turns out (Bristol) - £220 which was "ok" price. (Place in Cardiff wanted £900!).

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1 hour ago, paulfoel said:

A lot of current thinking is that ALL mental illness is due to a chemical imbalance in the brain. If you sort the imbalance then the problem gets sorted. Yes anixety/OCD or whatever is caused by faulty thinking but surely the argument is that there wouldn't be faulty thinking if the balance was right.

Hi Paul,

If only it was as simple as that. There's a lot of misinformation out there, I'm afraid. People readily latched onto the idea that mental illness is due to chemical imbalance in the brain, but there's actually not much research evidence to support this idea. The more recent research (which is now able to look at cellular level with real-time scans) has shown the theory to be incorrect. And it was only a theory - largely driven by 'there-ought-to-be-a-pill-for-every-ill' thinking and drug company peddling back in the 1980s and 90s. 

Serotonin and dopamine levels have been noticed to be low in some people with OCD, but they are also often 'low' in the healthy population and it's never been established what the 'normal' level actually is. So unless you accept that every single person on the planet has a fluctuating mental disorder the imbalance theory needs to be chucked out the window.

Interestingly, serotonin levels can be raised by changing how you think as easily as with drugs. Did you know that if you smile more often you will raise your baseline serotonin level? Dopamine levels increase with positive emotions and the hope/promise of a reward. In other words the levels of neurotransmitters present in the brain is a chicken and egg situation. How you currently think dictates the levels just as much as the current levels affect how you think. 

As we learn more about how the brain works, top researchers are concluding that the low levels probably result from the thinking rather than the thinking resulting from the levels. Personally I thing we're on a swing-o-meter of opinion and the truth is likely to lie somewhere in between, with activity and chemicals responding to each other in a continual feedback loop (as is the case with all other organs and systems in the body.) But people love a simple answer whereas nature is beautiful in the simplicity of it's complexity! 

 

2 hours ago, paulfoel said:

Sometimes I think though the NHS forces the CBT route because its cheaper and easier.

Sadly it's the other way around, Paul. Because psychiatrists know there aren't anywhere near enough trained therapists available, drugs are often pushed as a means of 'doing something' while on a very long waiting list for CBT. 

Please don't get the idea I'm against medication. It has it's place and when selectively used for the right patients it can have great benefits. But it's always been known they don't work for everybody, the mechanism by which they do work is poorly understood, and the more that is learned about these drugs it has become clear that however they work it isn't by achieving a 'chemical balance' as was originally thought back in the 1980s. 

When someone is suffering as greatly as your son, Paul, and there are drugs available that might help even to a small degree, it's not unreasonable to try them earlier than the 'ideal' of waiting until two full courses of CBT have been completed. Medication is always an individual thing though and what might be recommended for one sufferer could be wrong for another sufferer with seemingly identical symptoms. Which is why each person needs to be reviewed on their own merits/situation. 

In short, there's no one-size-fits-all solution (not even CBT) and the more you dig into how things work (or don't work) the more complex it becomes. Fascinating stuff. :) 

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Some very interesting info SB. :-)

Well he saw a consultant today and hes been prescribed sertraline and advised to continue with CBT.  So best of both worlds I think.

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That sounds like progress, Paul. I'm pleased to hear it. Fingers crossed. :) 

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On 13/11/2017 at 09:23, paulfoel said:

No knowledge at all of medication in adolescents but as an adult I'd say dont be scared of meds if an expert says its for the best. Yes side effects can be a bit of an issue but then its the lesser of two evils.

 

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On 12/11/2017 at 21:05, taurean said:

You are clutching at straws. 

Homeopathy is not the way forward. I have used it successfully to mitigate effects of hay fever, and the homeopath has become a good friend. We both know that the only way it might help is with mitigating anxiety and tried it but it didn't. 

Sadly her own daughter is an OCD sufferer. 

Thank you for your advice I do appreciate it. I thought I’d ask the question but deep down I already knew the answer and I won’t waste what energy I have left on this! 

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On 13/11/2017 at 02:23, PolarBear said:

Homeopathy is a pig in a poke as far as OCD is concerned. 

You are right, however, to be wary of SSRIs with a 12-year-old. Adolescents react differently to meds and suicidal ideation is a big concern. That doesn't mean you can't try them, but a good talk with the doctor is in order and you will have to keep an eye on him for a while to see how he reacts.

CBT is still the way to go.

 

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Thank you everybody for your helpful advice and it’s such a relief to hear from others with first hand experience of this horrible condition.

I thought I’d ask the question about homeopathy but deep down I already knew the answer but just want to make sure we do not leave any stone unturned so to speak.

Things are starting to happen now we are going private and we are hoping CBT with start within the next 2 weeks. Think we will see how our son responds initially to the CBT before rushing on the medication side of things.

 

 

 

 

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11 hours ago, Living in hope said:

Thank you everybody for your helpful advice and it’s such a relief to hear from others with first hand experience of this horrible condition.

I thought I’d ask the question about homeopathy but deep down I already knew the answer but just want to make sure we do not leave any stone unturned so to speak.

Things are starting to happen now we are going private and we are hoping CBT with start within the next 2 weeks. Think we will see how our son responds initially to the CBT before rushing on the medication side of things.

 

 

 

 

Hi Living - yes as SB says CBT works very well for some people - I have no doubt of that. We're continuing with our son.

Our problem was, knowing our son, and past experience, hes just not the sort who would engage with CBT so we needed another approach.

Very happy with the progress yesterday so hes got meds as well now. Of course, not cheap - its going to be £400 for two appointments. Im fortunate to be able to afford that but its scandalous to think that there are people out there left high and dry.

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On 16/11/2017 at 09:16, paulfoel said:

Hi Living - yes as SB says CBT works very well for some people - I have no doubt of that. We're continuing with our son.

Our problem was, knowing our son, and past experience, hes just not the sort who would engage with CBT so we needed another approach.

Very happy with the progress yesterday so hes got meds as well now. Of course, not cheap - its going to be £400 for two appointments. Im fortunate to be able to afford that but its scandalous to think that there are people out there left high and dry.

Hi Paulfoel - really pleased to hear your son is doing better now. Fingers crossed it will be onwards and upwards for you all. I’d be really interested to hear how his progress continues. Totally agree how scandalous the NHS mental health services are and this is particularly bad when it comes to children and young people. If only the NHS could see that earlier intervention would help people (and the NHS) in the long run - surely that’s not rocket science! 

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On 21/11/2017 at 22:41, Living in hope said:

Hi Paulfoel - really pleased to hear your son is doing better now. Fingers crossed it will be onwards and upwards for you all. I’d be really interested to hear how his progress continues. Totally agree how scandalous the NHS mental health services are and this is particularly bad when it comes to children and young people. If only the NHS could see that earlier intervention would help people (and the NHS) in the long run - surely that’s not rocket science! 

Yes a few thing struck me about recent experiences:-

1. GP are not interested at all in getting involved - they shovel it along as soon as they can.

2. The people in CAMHS don't appear to give a monkeys as long as they tick the box and meet their targets. There is no provision to expedite care it seems.

3. There are people working in CAMHS (our local one anyway) who don't deserve to be looking after a hamster let alone a vulerable teenager. We've had all sorts of excuses why they can't help ranging from call the police, call social services to telling us we needed to look at our parenting skills.

4. There appears to be NO provision for adolescents to see a Psych doctor or consultant AT ALL to determine the most appropriate treatment plan.

5. There is NO emergency provision for mental health for adolescents (at least in my area). Pretty sure if an adult presented at A&E there would be an on-call mental health professional available - not for anyone else.

 

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