Patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) can improve their symptoms significantly by adding exposure and response prevention therapy to their treatment regimen when common drug treatment options have failed, according to new research from psychiatrists at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
Exposure and response prevention therapy is a type of cognitive behavior therapy in which the patient is asked to confront triggers that give rise to their obsessions in order to refrain from performing the rituals in response to these obsessions. The study is published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.
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.
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