Obsessive-compulsive behaviors or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a fairly common condition among children with an autism-spectrum disorder.
What is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?
Quoting from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) website "Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, OCD, is an anxiety disorde characterized by recurrent, unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and/or repetitive behaviors (compulsions). Repetitive behaviors like handwashing, counting, checking, or cleaning are often performed with the hope of preventing obsessive thoughts or making them go away. Performing these so-called 'rituals,' however, provides only temporary relief, and not performing them markedly increases anxiety."
"People with OCD may be plagued by persistent, unwelcome thoughts or images, or by the urgent need to engage in certain rituals. They may be obsessed with germs or dirt, and wash their hands over and over. They may be filled with doubt and feel the need to check things repeatedly."
Treatment is Available
According to the NIMH effective treatment is available. However, this treatment usually means pharmaceutical medication, which in some cases may be necessary. Unfortunately, medications can bring unwanted side effects.
However, there are some natural medicine options. One in particular is a supplement called Inositol.
Inositol, which was once considered to be a vitamin, is converted in our bodies from dietary sugars. It is found in various food sources such as fish, meat, poultry and dairy products.
Various Dosages of Inositol Found to be Effective
In a nutritional study through the American Journal of Psychiatry (1996) high doses of Inositol were found to be effective at alleviating OCD in some adults. A follow-up study later found that smaller dosages (approximately 2000mg/day) were effective as well.
The PDR for Nutritional Supplements (2000) indicates that "no significant adverse effects noted...use of daily dose of 8.8 grams of Inositol Hexaphosphate taken for several months" (Autism: Effective Biomedical Treatments - Baker & Pangborn).
Start with a Lower Dose and Increase as Needed
I have seen Inositol work very well for some kids with OCD. One memorable case was a child who would pull his hair out from his scalp. Aggressive and destructive behavior can also be alleviated too.
General recommends are start with small doses (start low, start slow, and build-up as necessary) at first to see what effect it has on your child. An initial starting dose for small to medium-size children is approximately 350 to 700mg per day. Larger children and/or adults may need to start with 1000mg or more. Many forms of Inositol comes as a tasteless powder with ¼ to ½ teaspoon equaling 700mg (make sure to check dosing amounts on bottle). In some kids, increasing the dose may be necessary to see desired effects. 700 to 3000mg may be necessary – this is usually split dosed throughout the day – some taken in the morning and some in the evening. Higher doses of up to 10 grams may need to be used for serious aggressive and destructive behavior.
I have never seen Inositol interact negatively with medications and it has been well tolerated by both children and adults. However, before giving any new supplement to your child - particularly if they are taking prescription medication for any psychological condition - your prescribing doctor should be informed before.