Delia PODEA* (1,2), Radu SUCIU (2), Cristina SUCIU (3), Mihai ARDELEAN (4)
(1) Western University “Vasile Goldiş”, Arad, Romania
(2) County Clinical Emergency Hospital Arad, Arad, Romania
(3) County Clinical Emergency Hospital Târgu Mureş, Târgu Mureş, Romania
(4) Mental Health Center Târgu Mureş, Târgu Mureş, Romania
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a chronic anxiety disorder with an estimated lifetime prevalence in adults of 2–3 %. Our aim is to provide an overview of the development of effective psychological treatments for OCD, together with a systematic literature review of the latest research in the field. An extensive literature search was performed to identify relevant articles in several databases including MEDLINE, PUBMED and PsycINFO, using the following keywords: obsessive–compulsive disorder, cognitive-behavioural therapy, exposure, response prevention, cognitive therapy. Controlled trials have demonstrated that cognitive- behavioral therapy (CBT) is an effective treatment for OCD. CBT is at least as effective as medication and shows good benefits at follow up. Nevertheless, more studies are still needed, mainly focusing on long-term follow-up, group-treatment and the combined use of CBT with SSRIs. A prefrontal cortico-striato-thalamic brain system is involved in the mediation of OCD symptoms. Recent research has demonstrated that CBT for OCD can systematically modify cerebral metabolic activity in this cortico- subcortical circuit in a manner which is significantly related to clinical outcome.
Keywords: obsessive–compulsive disorder, cognitive-behavioural therapy, exposure, response prevention, cognitive therapy