Monday, April 28th, 2014
A new study has found that family-based cognitive behavioral therapy has measurable effects on children as young as age 5 who are diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorders (OCD), as Reuters reports:
The behavioral treatment, which involved parents heavily and is already known to work for older kids and teens, left almost three quarters of the young children significantly better off, according to objective measurements.
“I really think that the results highlight this family-based cognitive behavior therapy model as the first-line treatment for children with OCD,” Jennifer Freeman, the study’s lead author, told Reuters Health.
Freeman is affiliated with the Alpert Medical School of Brown University, the Pediatric Anxiety Research Clinic at Rhode Island Hospital and the Intensive Program for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder at Bradley Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island.
People with OCD have a set of compulsions – feeling compelled to do something – that cause them distress or disrupt their daily lives. For example, a person may have an intense fear that something bad will happen unless they perform a certain action multiple times.
The condition has been found to run in families, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), but its cause is still unclear.
About 2.2 million U.S. adults are affected by OCD, with approximately one-third of those having developed symptoms as children, according to NIH.
Considerable research has shown that CBT alone or in combination with anti-anxiety medicine is effective in treating OCD among older children and adolescents, Freeman and her colleagues write in JAMA Psychiatry.
There was little evidence about what worked for younger children with OCD, however.
Image: Young family, via Shutterstock
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Thursday, March 7th, 2013
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), which is marked by heightened levels of anxiety, disruptive repetitive thoughts, and compulsively repeated behaviors, strikes new mothers at higher rates than it affects the general population, a new study to be published in The Journal of Reproductive Medicine has found.
OCD during the postpartum weeks and months may take the form of repeatedly checking to make sure baby is breathing, repeatedly washing bottles, or worrying unceasingly about germs and safety. More from RelaxNews:
Previous studies have suggested that women experience OCD symptoms during the postpartum period, but these studies were based on subjects’ recall of past events, LiveScience reports. However, the new study followed moms throughout the first six months after a baby was born, asking partipants to respond to survey questions. More than 460 new moms participated in the study. About half of the subjects who reported symptoms at two weeks improved by six months, while other women’s OCD symptoms sparked at six months. Stress is a well-known trigger to OCD, so the stress of being a new mom could trigger a preexisting condition in some women, the researchers noted. Postpartum hormone levels could play a role as well.
Image: Baby bottles on drying rack, via Shutterstock
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Friday, November 2nd, 2012
The American Psychiatric Association, publisher of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), is considering naming a new disorder within the category of obsessive-compulsive disorders (OCD)—nail biting. From MSNBC.com:
OCD is most-commonly characterized by unreasonable thoughts and fears (obsessions) that lead you to do repetitive behaviors (compulsions). It’s important to note that only certain types of nail biters–the extreme cases–fit into this category. “As with hair pulling and skin picking, nail biting isn’t a disorder unless it is impairing, distressing, and meets a certain clinical level of severity,” says Carol Mathews, M.D., a psychiatrist at the University of California, San Francisco. “That is not the vast majority of nail bitters,” she says. “It is a very small minority of people.”
What counts as clinical severity? “They have bitten so much that they are getting infections,” Mathews says. “There is physical damage that is impairing their ability to use their hands.”
Experts say that even non-OCD nail biting is unhealthy, as it can spread viruses and bacteria, lead to infections of the nail bed, and contribute to skin infections.
Image: Boy biting nails, via Shutterstock
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