Can Internet-Based CBT be used to Treat Young People with OCD?

Research Paper Title

Online Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Treatment: Preliminary Results of the “OCD? Not Me!” Self-Guided Internet-Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Program for Young People.

Background

The development and evaluation of Internet-delivered cognitive behavioral therapy (iCBT) interventions provides a potential solution for current limitations in the acceptability, availability, and accessibility of mental health care for young people with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

Preliminary results support the effectiveness of therapist-assisted iCBT for young people with OCD; however, no previous studies have examined the effectiveness of completely self-guided iCBT for OCD in young people.

The researches aimed to conduct a preliminary evaluation of the effectiveness of the OCD? Not Me! program for reducing OCD-related psychopathology in young people (12-18 years). This programme is an eight-stage, completely self-guided iCBT treatment for OCD, which is based on exposure and response prevention.

Methods

These data were early and preliminary results of a longer study in which an open trial design is being used to evaluate the effectiveness of the OCD? Not Me!

Participants were required to have at least subc-linical levels of OCD to be offered the online program. Participants with moderate-high suicide/self-harm risk or symptoms of eating disorder or psychosis were not offered the programme. OCD symptoms and severity were measured at pre- and post-test, and at the beginning of each stage of the programme. Data was analysed using generalised linear mixed models.

Results

A total of 334 people were screened for inclusion in the study, with 132 participants aged 12 to 18 years providing data for the final analysis.

Participants showed significant reductions in OCD symptoms (P<.001) and severity (P<.001) between pre- and post-test.

Conclusions

These preliminary results suggest that fully automated iCBT holds promise as a way of increasing access to treatment for young people with OCD; however, further research needs to be conducted to replicate the results and to determine the feasibility of the programme.

Reference

Rees, C.S., Anderson, R.A., Kane, R.T. & Finaly-Jones, A.L. (2016) Online Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Treatment: Preliminary Results of the “OCD? Not Me!” Self-Guided Internet-Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Program for Young People. JMIR Mental Health. 3(3):e29. doi: 10.2196/mental.5363.

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