Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Exercise may reduce anxiety and depression, symptoms that often accompany OCD, and may increase resiliency to normal stress. Moderate aerobic exercise combined with regular cognitive-behavioral training and incentives (rewards for adhering to the exercise and behavior training programs) produced reductions in OCD symptoms in a study of 15 OCD patients. The symptom reductions persisted through the 6-month follow-up in patients that adhered to the exercise regimen (Brown 2007). A preliminary trial that added a 12-week structured exercise program to cognitive-behavioral therapy for OCD found a robust benefit, which surpassed the effects of CBT alone observed in other studies (Rector 2015). A larger trial of aerobic exercise in 102 OCD patients is currently underway (Abrantes 2012).
Stress may precipitate OCD (Albert 2000; Grisham 2011; Pace 2011; Visser 2014) because it can reinforce compulsive behavior (Pauls 2014). There are many methods that have been used for stress reduction, such as supplementation with the hormone DHEA and maintaining sex hormone balance. For more information, refer to Life Extension’s Stress Management protocol.