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J Psychiatr Res. 2005 Nov;39(6):603-9. Epub 2005 Mar 4.

Effectiveness of intensive residential treatment (IRT) for severe, refractory obsessive-compulsive disorder.

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  • 1McLean Hospital, Harvard Medical School, North Belknap 1, 115 Mill Street, Belmont MA 02478, USA.



The aim of this study was to determine the effectiveness of an innovative Intensive Residential Treatment (IRT) program for severe refractory Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). No formalized OCD IRT outcome studies have been completed to date in North America.


Subjects admitted to the Massachusetts General Hospital/McLean OCD Institute (OCDI) between February 1997 and June 2003 comprised the intent-to-treat sample. Measures of OCD severity, depression severity and psychosocial well-being were determined at admission, interim and discharge points, and were subsequently compared via t-tests using a last-observation-carried-forward approach. Initial OCD severity subgroups and treatment length subgroups were created and analyzed. Correlations and stepwise linear regressions were conducted to determine treatment length predictors.


The sample of 403 individuals (58.7% male) had an average 66 day treatment length. Mean YBOCS scores decreased by 30.1%, from 26.6 (SD 6.1) at admission to 18.6 (SD 7.2) at discharge, reflecting a clinically meaningful improvement (p<0.001). Psychosocial functioning, depression severity scores and self-report global functioning ratings also indicated significant improvement. Subgroups with longer treatment lengths tended to have earlier ages of OCD onset and increased OCD severity scores at admission.


IRT deserves recognition as a therapeutic approach for severe, refractory OCD. In the largest study to date for IRT significant improvements of OCD severity, depression severity and quality of life were determined. IRT should be considered prior to more invasive approaches for severe refractory OCD.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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