Psychiatry Fast Five Quiz: How Much Do You Know About Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?

Stephen Soreff, MD


December 01, 2016

OCD represents for many patients a lifelong disorder whose symptoms rarely resolve spontaneously. About 70% of patients who enter treatment achieve significant improvement of symptoms; roughly 15% of patients experience a progressive worsening of symptoms over time. Pharmacologic treatment is often prescribed on an ongoing basis, and relapse is not uncommon if a successfully treated individual discontinues treatment.

Patients who successfully complete a course of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)—even as few as 12-20 sessions—may experience lasting relief from symptoms. Extended but less frequent CBT may further decrease the risk for relapse. Complete remission of symptoms is rare without behavioral therapy.

Patients with disabling, treatment-resistant symptoms may be candidates for neurosurgical intervention. The most common interventions target a specific small lesion (such as in cingulotomy) or involve deep brain stimulation. In the latter, a device is implanted to electrically stimulate the subthalamic nucleus. Serious adverse events have been associated with this technique, however.

For more on the treatment of OCD, read here.

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