Herb could be the answer for patient's obsessive worrying

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY

September 02, 2001|By Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon | Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon,Special to the Sun; King Features Syndicate

Q. I am 38 years old and have had anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) almost my entire life. I've tried many psychiatric medications, but they cause too many side effects.

I constantly worry, worry, worry about my health. I'm always arranging and rearranging my desk, clothes and closets, and I make lots of lists every day. Do you know of any natural products that can help these problems?

A. Ask your doctor about Saint-John's-wort. A small preliminary study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry (August 2000) suggests that this herb might be helpful for symptoms of OCD.

The herbs kava and valerian have been used for anxiety. But they shouldn't be used together because they could be too sedating.

You might want to consider cognitive behavioral therapy, which offers long-lasting nondrug solutions to such symptoms. The book Stop Obsessing! by psychologists Edna Foa and Reid Wilson is a good introduction.

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