Exposure therapy may help treat OCD patients

Exposure therapy may help treat OCD patients

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental health condition which is often overlooked as an extension of exaggerations in a person’s behavior. However, obsessive thoughts and compulsive activities can actually interfere with a person’s day-to-day life.

The National Institute of Mental Health reveals that nearly one in 100 people suffer from OCD in the United States and out of that about 51 percent cases are severe. People with OCD can spend hours together in obsessive behavioral activities, thus putting their whole life in a state of compulsiveness bound by specific activities or feelings.

According to a new research by psychiatrists at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and published on its website on November 11, 2015, OCD patients can recover with the exposure and response prevention therapy (EX/RP) when common drug treatments fail.

The researchers also stated that the exposure and response prevention therapy is a type of cognitive behavior therapy which delegates a patient to confront his obsessive feelings that give rise to compulsive activities. OCD is marked by the performing of “rituals” to decrease distress related to one’s obsessions such as excessive hand-washing to cope with a fixation on hand hygiene, for example.

Lead author, Carmen McLean, Ph.D., an assistant professor of clinical psychology in the department of Psychiatry at the Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety at Penn, reflected that EX/RP Is also effective on those OCD patients who do not react to common drug treatments. He said that compared to patients who received OCD related medication, those treated by EX/RP showed significant recovery from OCD symptoms. They also gave a positive outlook towards life, insights and inclination towards social function only after eight weeks of therapy.

This study was done on 32 patients who received the EX/RP treatment for 17 weeks. An evaluation of the patients was done in the 12th and 16th week, which showed significant improvement in them. Twenty-five patients completed the treatment, 17 were treatment responders and 11 were classified as excellent responders. The remaining patients required medication changes during the follow-up period, which enabled them to shift to excellent-responder status.

Senior author, Edna Foa, Ph.D., professor of Clinical Psychology in the department of Psychiatry and director of the Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety at Penn and the creator of exposure therapy said that the research team wanted the patients to be aware of other treatment options which could have a positive response to OCD.

Another study done by researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), which was published in newsmax.com on January 15, 2016 stated that brain scans can spot those patients for whom the cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) will be most effective. In the UCLA study, brains of 17 people with OCD were scanned before and after they underwent CBT. It was seen that people with more efficient brain network viz. “connectivity,” actually had worse long-term outcomes following CBT treatment. The researchers are in a quest to translate the brain information so that it would be beneficial for doctors in taking treatment decisions.

There have been greater advancements in various therapies which have improved the prognosis and further treatment of OCD patients. Assessment procedures for implementing intensive behavioral therapies are leading a road to recovery for many patients who have been suffering from this disorder.

If you or someone you know has been trying to overcome OCD, contact Florida Mental Health Helpline to know about effective mental health treatment procedures. Our expert representatives can help you connect with the best medical practitioners to treat OCD. Chat online with an expert today or call at 866-846-5588 for more information.