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Psychotherapy for obsessive-compulsive disorder in adults

Jonathan Abramowitz, PhD
Section Editor
Murray B Stein, MD, MPH
Deputy Editor
Richard Hermann, MD


Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is characterized by recurrent, intrusive, and distressing thoughts, images, or impulses (ie, obsessions) and repetitive mental or behavioral acts that the individual feels driven to perform (ie, compulsions) to prevent or reduce distress.

Treatment with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin–norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), clomipramine, and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) have been shown to be efficacious in the treatment of OCD. CBT is a set of techniques that are used to help people with psychological disorders modify maladaptive patterns of thinking and acting to alleviate emotional symptoms. Components of CBT for OCD include [1]:


Cognitive therapy techniques

Exposure therapy


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Literature review current through: Sep 2016. | This topic last updated: Jun 23, 2016.
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