Cognitive-Behavioral Group Therapy in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: A Randomized Clinical Trial
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BACKGROUND: The present study was designed to verify the efficacy of cognitive-behavioral group therapy (CBGT) in reducing obsessive-compulsive symptoms and the intensity of overvalued ideas, as well as in improving the patient's quality of life. METHODS: Forty-seven patients meeting DSM-IV criteria for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) were randomly assigned to either 12 weekly CBGT sessions or a waiting list (control group). Treated patients were followed for three months. RESULTS: There was a significant reduction in the Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale (p < 0.001), in the National Institute of Mental Health Obsessive-Compulsive Scale (p < 0.001), in the Overvalued Ideas Scale (p < 0.001), and a significant improvement in the quality of life in the four domains of the World Health Organization Quality of Life Assessment Scale: physical (p < 0.001), psychological (p < 0.017), social (p < 0.018) and environmental (p < 0.04). No significant reduction was found in the Hamilton Rating Scale for Anxiety (p = 0.111) and the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (p = 0.271). The concomitant use of anti-obsessional medications did not influence the results. The rate of improved patients was 69.6% in the treated group and 4.2% in the control group (p < 0.001). The therapeutic gains were maintained and an additional reduction in symptoms was observed during the 3-month follow-up period. CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest that CBGT is effective in reducing the intensity of OCD symptoms and of overvalued ideas, and that it improves the OCD patient's quality of life in a short period of time.
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