The Diagnosis and Treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Better Essays
The Diagnosis and Treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

There are many factors to consider in the evaluation and treatment of Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). This paper will discuss the strategies that have proven most effective in treating the disorder, including: drug therapy, cognitive therapy, and family-based therapy. It will focus on the benefits of flexibility, emphasizing combination therapy, especially with cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) has become an increasingly familiar disorder within the world of health and medicine. The recurring obsessions and compulsions associated with the disorder seem quite easy to identify, yet the acknowledgement of OCD in children had been overlooked for quite some time. Many people believe “that children have no reason to develop depression or anxiety disorder such as OCD” (Wiznitzer, 2003). Diagnoses and treatment of OCD patients has only recently shifted from adults to children. Some of the most important questions facing psychologists studying OCD today are how to determine which children suffer from OCD and what treatments most effectively reduce or eliminate their symptoms. Researchers have offered that by applying some of the information learned from treating adults, our understanding of the disorder in children may improve immensely.

With the majority of psychologists agreeing with this proposal, OCD has gained a large amount of attention in the last couple of decades. Recent studies have estimated that “the condition is 2 to 20 times more common than previously thought and has been the catalyst for research activity in the area” (Waters, 2000). Though this heightened attention is good news for suffering children, it has not been as helpful as originally expected. A number of unnecessary drug-based therapies have been implemented in an attempt to meet the increasing demand of OCD treatment. Many of these drugs have proved successful in treating anxiety disorders; however, many OCD cases require more complex treatments. Many could benefit from several alternative forms of OCD treatment, such as family oriented treatments and cognitive-behavioral therapy. Unfortunately, the advantages of combining these methods with drug therapy have nearly been overlooked in the scramble for easy answers.

“Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has emerged as a s...

... middle of paper ...

... important to realize that OCD varies in type and severity, so treatment will vary in their effectiveness. “Whatever is tried, it is important to urge flexibility, as a combination of drug and behavioral treatment may be needed” (Rapoport, 2000). Recent studies such as the ERP and RIDE approve and recommend CBT in treating OCD. They also emphasize the importance of flexibility in successfully treating the disorder. Many cases may benefit best from a combination of drug and behavioral treatment.


Rapoport, J., & Inoff-Germain, G. (2000). Treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder in children and adolescents. Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry, 41(4), 419-431.

Steinberger, K. (2002). Classification of OCD in children and adolescence. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavic, 106(2), 97-102.

Wagner, A. (2003). CBT for Children and adolescents with OCD. Brief Treatment and Crisis Intervention. 3(3). 291-306.

Waters, T., & Barret, P. (2000). The role of the family in childhood obsessive-compulsive disorder. Clinical Child & Family Psychology Review, 3(3), 173-184.

Wiznitzer, M. (2003). Why do psychiatric drug research in children? Lancet, 361(9364). 1147-1148.
Get Access