Natural Cures for Anxiety-Related Illnesses

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (O. C. D.), Depression, Panic Attacks, Agoraphobia

Natural Cure

By Grantley Morris


Do you keep doubting that Christ has forgiven your every sin, despite repeated reassurances from such people as pastors? Or do you keep worrying over unwanted thoughts that plague you? If either applies to you, then you are suffering from what is known as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). This affliction, which can take other forms besides the religious, is so common and debilitating that it has generated much medical and scientific research. These investigations affirm that if you suffer this affliction, chances are that it is because your body is low in an essential substance, such as a vitamin or mineral or something similar.

There is much scientific evidence that many psychological afflictions, such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, panic disorder, agoraphobia and clinical depression, are related to serotonin levels in one’s brain chemistry. The main focus of this webpage is OCD. If you suffer from any of the other conditions just listed, the possibilities mentioned below might work, but I urge extra caution, especially in the case of depression. If at all possible, talk it over with a doctor. If you genuinely cannot afford a doctor or any other health professional, at least do as thorough an Internet search as you can.

The class of medication commonly called anti-depressants but more correctly known as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) can in some people cause a marked improvement. As with any medication, however, people differ as to how much they benefit and whether they suffer any side-effects. Another complication is that certain Christians, for somewhat illogical, almost superstitious reasons, feel uncomfortable about taking medication to aid one’s psychological well-being, even though they have no qualms about taking other chemicals (such as vitamins and minerals) to boost their physical and psychological well-being.

A Natural Alternative to Medication

Research suggests there are alternative ways – such as vitamins and minerals – of correcting medical disorders associated with one’s brain chemistry. One likely possibility is inositol. A carbohydrate about half the sweetness of table sugar, it occurs naturally throughout the human body and in many foods. It plays an essential role in how cells communicate with each other.

Once regarded as a member of the vitamin B complex (B8), inositol has been reclassified, simply because the human body can produce inositol. There are strong theoretical reasons for suspecting that inositol can help with anxiety-related illnesses such as OCD because, as Wikipedia states, “serotonin activity modulation” are among inositol’s many vital functions. It goes on to say, “Some preliminary results of studies on high-dose inositol supplements show promising results for people suffering from problems such as bulimia, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, agoraphobia, and unipolar and bipolar depression . . . In a single double-blind study on 13 patients, myo-inositol (18 grams daily) has been found to reduce the symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) significantly, with effectiveness equal to SSRIs [antidepressants] and virtually without side-effects.”

What first drew my attention to the healing power of inositol was a highly enthusiastic e-mail from a reader of my pages about Religious Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (scrupulosity). Michael was so thrilled about the transformation that inositol had apparently brought to his life that he was most keen that I tell everyone, even though doing so was of no personal benefit to himself. After sharing his experience, I’ll provide a more sober assessment and discuss other possible helps:

    After six months completely free of any type of scrupulosity (religious OCD) I have to report that the missing link is inositol.

    I’m a fan of herbs and vitamins, but inositol is no regular supplement; it’s a life changer.

    Brain scans confirm that OCD occurs when the brain is abnormally overactive. It’s as if when I have OCD my brain is overheating and inositol is the water that puts out the fire.

    I saw a licensed counselor who happened to be a Christian and an expert on scrupulosity. He isn’t biased by any drug manufacturer and has actually suffered from scrupulosity himself, had brain scans done and understands it quite well.

    I am convinced that it is through taking inositol that the disgusting thoughts that used to bombard my brain no longer torment me but are now processed in another way. These days, if I get a bad thought I am able to see it for its silliness and disregard it. But it’s more than a mere deflection. As a car that keeps racing gets worn out, so a human brain that keeps racing exhausts the person. So now, because of the peace I feel, I have incredible energy as well as freedom.

    In Israel, they often prescribe inositol for O.C.D., rather than anti-depressants. I’m not referring to a couple of 500mg inositol pills, but 10 grams a day. [Some studies have used slightly higher dosages.] It’s simple: you just get a bucket of it, scoop in tablespoons full, mix and drink. It has virtually no taste.

    It does not drug people; it restores them by correcting an abnormality in their body chemistry. Some scientific studies suggest that, in large doses, inositol is more effective than anti-depressants.

    I think of it this way: without vitamin C, I’ll suffer scurvy; without vitamin D, I’ll suffer brittle bones; without inositol, I’ll suffer OCD.

    The benefits should be shouted upon the rooftops! If you don’t tell others about this I’ll be greatly disappointed!

Disclaimers & Further Information

Before saying a little more about Inositol, I would like to share the experience of another friend, Sarah, who suffers from anxiety:

    I don’t think Inositol works for me. Instead, I tried Magnolia Bark Extract for about three weeks and it completely took away my anxiety. When I went to bed, or rested during the day, there was no annoying anxiety and I fell asleep quickly. It also relaxed my body and took away the clenched fists that I have had for years. The downside, however, is that I started getting a very bad rash on my hands and my back and also my head began feeling peculiar – as if my brain were expanding or something. I had to get medication (an antihistamine and a cream) to sort it out.

    Magnolia Bark is believed to affect GABA (Gamma Aminobutyric Acid) levels, which in turn are thought to affect anxiety levels. Since Gotu Kola is also believed to affect GABA, I switched to it, but the result was the same as Magnolia Bark, so I stopped.

    Then I tried Inositol but my anxiety returned. I tried Magnolia Bark again and quickly calmed. I am thinking of just reducing the dosage. I’ve also ordered some pure GABA to see how I react to that. I am going to keep trying alternatives until I get the result I want without the rash.

I guessed that her side effects were an uncommon reaction but I looked it up on the Internet. I only visited three sites and although I found no reference to her particular side effects I was alarmed by what I read:

    “Magnolia is POSSIBLY SAFE for most people when used short-term. The safety of magnolia use for more than 6 weeks is unknown” (www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-188-magnolia.aspx?activeingredientid=188&activeingredientname=magnolia).

    Another site warns that certain substances in magnolia bark “may cause respiratory paralysis. It is also toxic to small children and infants, even in small doses” (www.livestrong.com/article/172755-side-effects-magnolia-bark-extract/).

    Another website www.vitaminsestore.com/magnolia-bark-benefits-reviews-side-effects-and-dosage/), despite stating that “there is no standard recommended dosage,” mentions 300mg three times a day and says, “the herb is considered safe when taken at optimum or lower dosage levels.” It adds that overdose may lead to “serious side effects such as vertigo and paralysis,” and states that it must be avoided in children, people with kidney ailments and in pregnant women (for whom it “may cause uterine contraction and miscarriage”). It also says magnolia extracts “must be avoided at least two weeks prior to a surgical procedure.” Additionally, it warns that it interacts with alcohol, barbiturates, CNS depressants and Benzodiazepines.

I’ve made only a very superficial web search of side effects but it’s enough for me to urge significant caution.


I warn that I have no medical expertise, and more research is needed on inositol and other “natural” treatments. A frustrating problem with “natural” cures is that if drug companies cannot patent it, there is much less motivation to conduct high quality scientific research to confirm the benefits.

Some studies suggest that drinking coffee and prolonged use of antibiotics might contribute to inositol deficiency.

Some practitioners suggest combining inositol with a similarly common and important nutrient: choline.

Through getting to know large numbers of sufferers, I’ve noticed that the chemical imbalance causing OCD is not necessarily constant. Some people have bad bouts separated by sometimes years or even decades of normality. So you might possibly not need to take inositol for life but if you eventually decide to risk no longer taking it, taper off very slowly and remain alert for the slightest indication that you should increase the dosage again. As a safeguard, it is best to let friends and loved ones know. They might notice you beginning to slip back into OCD before you do. Not needing inositol is no achievement. It simply means your body has regained equilibrium, and is likely to go out of whack again sometime in the future.

Empowered by the boost the inositol gave, Michael was able to have the mental clarity to use other mental techniques to fight OCD. He eventually felt so well that he stopped taking inositol for quite a while. Long after he wrote the above report about inositol, he told me, “I bought some inositol powder yesterday. I will use it for maintenance. It’s amazing how subtle scrupulosity is. Unwanted thoughts are starting to come back. I was getting proud thinking I have scrupulosity licked.”

The way to overcome an imbalance in brain’s chemistry is not through mental gymnastics but by taking something to correct the physical disorder.

It is important to realize that it is impossible for “natural” to always mean safe. Life-threatening food allergies are proof that there is virtually no substance in existence that someone somewhere does not suffer a serious reaction to. A sip of orange juice could kill a friend of mine. For someone else it could be a trace of wheat or a nut or something else that is not only absolutely safe but deliciously nutritious for billions of people. Because inositol is water soluble, there is a good chance of even mega-doses not accumulating in the body. However, inositol has been found to have interactions with certain drugs. To a medical ignoramus like me, http://www.buzzle.com/articles/inositol-side-effects.html seems a balanced and sobering evaluation of the side effects. It certainly lists more possible side effects that most other websites. On the other hand, as this article points out, there are possible physical benefits, or if you like, beneficial side effects, in addition to helping anxiety-related illnesses. Possibilities (still to be rigorously confirmed) include improving liver function by preventing the accumulation of fat in the liver, improving cholesterol levels, assisting the production of healthy cells in the bone marrow, intestines and eye membranes, and helping to prevent or even improve diabetic nerve disorders. There are claims it may treat or prevent cancer. Inositol plays a role in hair growth and some men taking inositol supplements have even reported less hair loss!

Obviously the safest course is to seek expert monitoring, should you consider taking inositol.

For other evaluations, see links. I suggest building up to 10-18 mg slowly so that one’s body adjusts. A high dosage, for example, sometimes causes diarrhea. Also, some people discover they only need a lower dose. Before concluding that it is of no help, however, I suggest building up to the high dose and continuing for four to six weeks. Do not expect the total eradication of OCD. In rare instances, the results can be spectacular but the effect does not have to be dramatic for it to be beneficial. It is worth taking even if one is merely a little less freaked out by unwanted thoughts or feels a little calmer and more able to look at the issue rationally. This can then give a boost to other techniques, such as cognitive therapy.

For your interest, I’ll insert here another favorable response I’ve received but I stress that reactions to medication varies from person to person. So at the end of the day, what really matters is what works for you.

    I had reached out for help earlier this year and you correctly identified my problem as Religious OCD. I just wanted to update you on my life. I am leaving in five hours for another two and a half month trip to Cambodia to run a couple of Alpha courses in the province of Kampong Chhnang and serve in any other way I can to show the love of Jesus in a practical way.

    I wanted you to know that your suggestion to try Inositol has changed my life. I have not crossed over into a dark and hopeless place in over two months. It’s not that negative thoughts don’t cross my mind, it’s just that they’re negative with a small “n” not a “N” and I’m able to say, “That’s not true,” and counter with truth and not go into a pit I can’t get out of. This has literally been a game changer for me! I feel hopeful and encouraged even when my circumstances aren’t the best. The love, forgiveness and sense that God is for me – not against me – is very accessible. Thank you not only for great coaching and an awesome library I continue to feast on – but for encouraging me to try Inostitol. I can’t believe the results!

Other Possible Helps

I once e-mailed someone saying that if they had an iron deficiency, most people would have few qualms about taking a supplement to correct it, so why should anyone have a double standard when it comes to treating a serotonin deficiency (the function of most anti-depressants)? Ironically, I learned soon after that an iron deficiency (even a slight one) can increase anxiety. This has obvious implications for any anxiety-related illness, be it O.C.D., excessive fear, or whatever. As with virtually everything, one needs to be careful, because too much iron can be as dangerous to health as too little.

A quick Internet search reveals that a chromium deficiency (common among people who consume large amounts of alcohol or refined sugars) can also contribute to anxiety. Brewer’s Yeast is a rich source of chromium. Calcium and magnesium are important, too. Calcium is a calmative, and magnesium is needed to absorb it. Adequate levels of potassium and selenium are likewise important for low anxiety. Garlic, along with essential fatty acids such as flaxseed oil and fish oil, have also been suggested to help relieve anxiety. B-group vitamins are considered important in reducing anxiety levels. In fact, vitamin B9 (folic acid) vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) are both believed to affect serotonin levels.

In response to an earlier draft of this webpage, Allison shared her experience:

    I discovered I have a B12 Deficiency and once I started giving myself B12 shots every week, my depression went away, along with all the excess sleeping I was doing. I didn’t take it regularly for a month or so and my anxiety revved up. I am now back on it and seem to be doing better again. I was on anti-depressants for about 11 years, and I was exhausted all the time, they made me gain weight and did not relieve my depression, even though I tried many different kinds. I believe that prescribed medications can be good if you manage to find the right one for you, but no matter what the substance, different people will react differently.

At the very least, why not try a multivitamin with a full range of minerals for a month or so and see if you notice any improvement. My nephew, who suffers from anxiety, was regularly doing this but a blood test proved he needed still more iron to correct his iron deficiency. Just to emphasize how we all differ, however, a close friend cannot take normal multivitamin supplements because she is allergic to a common ingredient in multivitamins. A doctor once urged me to take an especially expensive form of multivitamins and minerals that were meant to be particularly “natural”. He was afterward horrified to discover that the soils where my doctor and I live are unusually rich in copper and since this gets into food grown in them I could be suffering from too much copper. Copper was one of the minerals in the supplement he suggested!

So despite all the medical advances, there are so many variables that there is often a need for prayer and patient trial and error in discovering what will be most effective for each individual.

blasphemous thoughts

If you might have O.C.D. and have not already read Scrupulosity: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and the pages it leads to, it is important to do so, because this affliction is best treated by combining a number of different techniques in addition to medical. Nevertheless, in Medical Treatment of Mental Illness: A Christian View I have pulled out just those parts of the webpage of particular relevance to medical considerations.

For a brief Christian perspective on medical issues, see The Use of Medicine and Doctors: A Christian View.

For further help with depression, see When Things Get Tough: Handling Discouragement, Depression or Apparent Failure and the pages it leads to.

For more from the man who first drew my attention to inositol: When you Cannot Stop Bad Thoughts: Scrupulosity Testimony


Next Page: The Real Reason for Blasphemous Thoughts


Not to be sold. © Copyright, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2016 Grantley Morris. Not to be copied in whole or in part without citing this entire paragraph. Many more compassionate, inspiring, sometimes hilarious writings by Grantley Morris available free at the following internet site www.net-burst.net Freely you have received, freely give.

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