Biological Treatment for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

S. Evelyn Stewart, Eric Jenike and Michael A. Jenike

in Oxford Handbook of Anxiety and Related Disorders

Published in print September 2008 | ISBN: 9780195307030
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Biological Treatment for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

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  • Clinical Psychology



This chapter examines how obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) may be effectively treated using biologic approaches. Early recognition and intervention with combined cognitive behavioral and medication therapy limit its subsequent morbidity. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and clomipramine are central in acute and maintenance pharmacotherapy of OCD, often requiring high dosage. Augmenting agents include low-dose typical and atypical antipsychotic agents, among others. As OCD appears to be a chronic waxing and waning illness, effective medications should be continued for at least 1 to 2 years. Relapse rates tend to be high following medication discontinuation, although a history of cognitive behavioral therapy limits this risk. In severe treatment-refractory cases, surgical and somatic therapies such as deep brain stimulation have been used.

Keywords: deep brain stimulation; medication; obsessive-compulsive disorder; pharmacology; somatic; surgery; treatment

Article.  9478 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Clinical Psychology

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