Combining Pharmacotherapy and Psychological Treatments for OCD

David F. Tolin

in The Oxford Handbook of Obsessive Compulsive and Spectrum Disorders

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780195376210
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Combining Pharmacotherapy and Psychological Treatments for OCD

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This chapter reviews the outcome literature on the efficacy of combined pharmacotherapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Quantitative review of randomized studies, in which treatments were combined simultaneously, indicated that combined therapy shows a small but significant advantage over exposure and response prevention (ERP) monotherapy, and a moderate advantage over serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SRI) monotherapy. Studies of sequential treatment combination, in which CBT was added after a trial of SRI monotherapy, suggest a significant incremental benefit of CBT, including for patients who show minimal response to SRI monotherapy. The chapter concludes by discussing new possibilities for combined therapy, including the use of pharmacologic strategies explicitly intended to potentiate the mechanisms of CBT.

Keywords: obsessive compulsive disorder; medications; antidepressants; SSRI; cognitive-behavioral therapy; exposure and response prevention; behavior therapy; combination therapy

Article.  6881 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Clinical Psychology

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