New Treatment for OCD

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder may have new treatment techniques

(RxWiki News) Compulsive checking, a behavior related to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), can lead to debilitating behavior. Current treatments and therapies have low success rates, but some are taking a new approach.

Compulsive checkers are unable to stop themselves from repeatedly checking on a situation that they feel responsible for.

For example, they may continue to check that the stove is off, despite having just checked.

The new approach to treatment, which is currently being developed in the lab, takes a detailed look at the emotional responses of compulsive checkers.

"Talk to your psychologist about facing your fears and anxieties."

"For years, the best way to treat compulsive checking in OCD sufferers has been through a difficult therapeutic process known as exposure and response prevention, or ERP" explains Adam Radomsky, PhD, professor of psychology and the Director of the Centre for Clinical Research in Health at Concordia University.

"By facing their worst fears repeatedly until their anxiety declines, patients learn to diffuse their hypervigilant checking responses — in theory,” continues Radomsky. “Refusal rates for ERP are unacceptably high, which is why we need to develop a new and refined treatment that specifically works for compulsive checking.”

The researchers believe that compulsive checkers have overbearing feelings of responsibility and fear - as well as a personal lack of confidence. The treatment attempts to modify these feelings of responsibility and perceived fear.

Additionally, the team believes that their new approach could restore personal confidence and reduce self-doubt in compulsive checkers.

The treatment has been developed in the lab, and is set to begin clinical trials. More research is necessary to determine how effective the new approach will be.

The study was published in the May, 2010, issue of the journal Cognitive and Behavioral Practice and was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. 

Review Date: 
April 13, 2012