April 26, 2007 / 8:38 PM / 13 years ago

Talk therapy helpful in adults with OCD

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - People suffering with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) may benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy, researchers from Australia report in the current issue of The Cochrane Library.

OCD is a chronic and disabling anxiety disorder characterized by recurrent obsessions, such as persistent thoughts, impulses or mental images that promote anxiety, together with compulsions, such as repetitive behaviors like washing hands. The most common treatments for OCD are drug therapies, like antidepressants, and psychological therapies, particularly cognitive behavior therapy.

Dr. IIeana Gava of the Mandala Clinic in New South Wales and colleagues conducted a systematic review of randomized OCD trials to compare the effectiveness of psychological treatments to “treatment as usual.”

They found 8 studies, which together suggested that cognitive and/or behavior treatments were better than treatment as usual conditions at reducing OCD symptoms.

Specifically, the pooled data showed that patients receiving any form of cognitive behavioral therapy had significantly fewer obsessive-compulsive symptoms post-treatment than subjects receiving treatment as usual.

Psychological treatments were also effective in reducing the severity of depression and anxiety symptoms. There were no differences observed between individual and group therapy in terms of symptom improvement.

SOURCE: The Cochrane Library 2007.

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