Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Cognitive Therapy May Beat Drugs in OCD

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Cognitive Therapy May Beat Drugs in OCD

Article excerpt

HONOLULU -- Cognitive therapy and training improve obsessive-compulsive disorder in children as much as medication and may be beneficial for a greater number of them, according to two studies presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association.

In one study, patients were randomized to either exposure and ritual prevention training, a standard approach used for obsessive-compulsive disorder known to be effective in adults, or to relaxation training as a control, said John Piacentini, Ph.D., of the University of California, Los Angeles, Neuropsychiatric Institute. Both groups received 12 training sessions over 14 weeks. There were 49 subjects in the exposure and ritual prevention-training group and 22 in the relaxation-training group.

The subjects were between 8 years and 17 years of age, and none was on medication.

The study found that 68% of the exposure-training subjects were able to complete their 14-week program, and 57% of the total of 49 subjects had significant improvement on two standard measures used in obsessive-compulsive disorder research.

That response rate is slightly better than the rate reported for selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor treatment, which is 40%-42%, Dr. Piacentini said at the conference.

Only 27% of the subjects randomized to relaxation training had significant improvement.

The second study compared the same type of training for 14 weeks with SSRI treatment using sertraline and with combined treatment, said Lori A. Zoellner, Ph.D., of the Pediatric OCD Collaborative Study Group.

The investigators also included a control group, and they enrolled 28 subjects in each arm of the study. The mean age of the subjects was 11 years.

The cognitive-behavioral approach and the sertraline treatment were equivalent in the study, and the combined approach appeared to improve the degree of response slightly more. …

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