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Child Adolesc Psychiatr Clin N Am. 1999 Jul;8(3):599-616.

Cognitive behavioral therapy of childhood OCD.

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Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, UCLA School of Medicine, USA.


Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a chronic, recurrent, and often disabling disorder in childhood. Comorbid emotional and behavioral disturbance and family dysfunction are common and can serve to complicate both course of illness and treatment outcome. Although traditional psychotherapies have not been shown to be effective for treating core OCD symptoms, controlled trials with adults have shown cognitive-behavioral approaches that include ERP to be highly effective in treating the disorder. The recent development and open evaluation of a handful of standardized and developmentally sensitive ERP-based treatment protocols for childhood OCD indicates that this treatment approach is similarly effective and well-tolerated in teh younger age group. These studies also suggest that adjunctive interventions including family involvement in treatment, anxiety management training, cognitive restructuring, contingency management, and supportive therapy may enhance the efficacy of ERP through the enhancement of treatment compliance and motivation. More study is needed to evaluate the best use of medication and CBT in children and adolescents.

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