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Adding Psychotherapy to Meds Helps Kids With OCD
Date:9/20/2011

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Sept. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Adding cognitive behavioral therapy to medication seems to help children and teens with obsessive-compulsive disorder, new research shows.

The findings, published in the Sept. 21 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, confirm previous research on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

"[If] a child has been taking one of the [medications for OCD] and has a partial response, we can get a much better response when we add on CBT," said Lawrence Newman, a psychologist with Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, who was not involved with the study.

Treatment with the class of antidepressants known as serotonin reuptake inhibitors is the mainstay of treatment for OCD, but relief isn't always complete.

"There's plenty of evidence suggesting that medication works," said study author Martin E. Franklin, an associate professor of clinical psychology in psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia. "We find that kids in general are getting better, but there are clinically relevant residual symptoms. They're better, but they're still in need of more care."

Franklin and his colleagues tested the efficacy of both conventional CBT and an abbreviated form of CBT, called "instructions in CBT."

This truncated form of therapy, they had hoped, would help ease patients' symptoms.

"We know CBT works. The reality, unfortunately, is that there aren't a lot of practitioners in community settings," Franklin explained.

The study involved 124 kids aged 7 through 17, all of whom had OCD and who were randomized to one of three groups: medication alone; medication plus conventional CBT; or medication plus instructions in CBT.

The abbreviated CBT consisted of seven, 45-minute visits over a 12-week period while the full CBT program was 14 on
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