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Psychol Serv. 2019 Nov;16(4):605-611. doi: 10.1037/ser0000249. Epub 2018 May 24.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder in the Veterans Health Administration.

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Houston VA Health Services Research & Development Center for Innovations in Quality, Effectiveness & Safety, Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center.


Little is known about the diagnosis and treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). This study examined diagnostic rates of OCD in a national sample of veterans as well as clinical comorbidities and mental health service use following an OCD diagnosis. This study used administrative data extracted from VHA medical records to identify patients with an OCD diagnosis between 2010 and 2011 (N = 20,364). Descriptive analyses examined demographic, clinical, and system-level variables associated with OCD diagnosis as well as mental health service use in a subset of patients newly diagnosed with OCD (n = 5,229). The OCD diagnosis rate in VHA medical records was 0.31% of VHA patients seen in 2010-2011. Examination of new-onset OCD diagnoses in 2010-2011 revealed that OCD was most likely to be diagnosed by physicians (48.6%) and behavioral health providers (31.9%), predominantly in mental health settings (87.5%). In the year following OCD diagnosis, veterans had an average of 3.9 individual psychotherapy and 3.5 psychiatric medication visits. These findings suggest that OCD is likely underrecognized and inadequately treated in the VHA and highlight the need for improved diagnostic and treatment services for veterans with OCD. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).


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