Promising Finds for OCD Sufferers

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) can help people with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) learn to respond to obsessions more flexibly, among other positive results, says the first randomized control trial of ACT for OCD. 

The recently-published study, led by researcher Dr. Michael Twohig at Utah State University, showed greater improvement in OCD symptoms at the end of treatment (as well as at follow-up) for participants in the mindfulness and acceptance-based treatment. The control group was assigned to progressive relaxation training (PRT), in which people are systematically taught ways of relaxing, beginning with their muscles. Approximately 80 people were randomly assigned to receive either eight weeks of ACT or eight weeks of PRT delivered in one-hour sessions. Participants were assessed one week before treatment, one week after treatment, and three months later. OCD is a condition characterized by frequent, unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and/or reliance on repetitive or ritualized behavior (compulsions) in order to get rid of obsessions and reduce anxiety.