Breakthrough data suggests cognitive behavioral therapy alone is effective when provided by expert therapists
According to current epidemiological data, approximately 1 in 200 young people suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). OCD patients obsess about thoughts of bad things that can happen (obsessions) and perform repetitive, destructive actions (compulsions) as a means of dealing with those thoughts. OCD can cripple their lives, disrupt their learning, and drive a wedge through their families. Now, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine researchers, in conjunction with a team of researchers from Duke University Medical Center, have developed a scientifically conclusive treatment combination – using Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) and commonly a prescribed anti-depressant medication – to help pediatric patients overcome OCD. Their conclusions – based on a five-year study – may be found in the October 27th issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
Edna B. Foa, PhD, Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry; Director, Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety; and Co-Principal Investigator for Penns component of The Pediatric OCD Treatment Study (POTS) says, "This investigation shows that children diagnosed with OCD respond better to a combination of CBT and Zoloft as compared to placebo and either treatment alone. However, at the Penn site, children responded equally well to CBT alone and to the combined treatment". Zoloft (sertraline) is a commonly prescribed selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), which elicits its effects by increasing the activity of serotnin in the brain. CBT includes helping the children confront anxiety-evoking situations and refraining from performing compulsions in order to learn their fears are exaggerated or unrealistic. This is the first study to test the efficacy of combining the two treatments in pediatric patients.
Ed Federico | EurekAlert!
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