The biological approach to treating OCD - Evaluation

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  • Evaluation
    • Drug therapy is effective at tackling OCD symptoms
      • Clear evidence that SSRIs reduce symptoms and increase quality of life
      • Soomro et al. (2009) reviewed studies comparing SSRIs to placebos and concluded all studies showed significantly better results for SSRIs than placebo conditions
      • Effectiveness is greatest when SSRIs are combined with psychological treatment (usually CBT)
      • Symptoms decline significantly for around 70% of patients taking SSRIs
      • Alternative treatments/combinations will be effective for some of the remaining 30%
      • Drugs can help most patients with OCD
    • Drugs are cost effective and non-disruptive
      • Cheap compared to psychological treatments
      • Good value for public health systems like the NHS
      • Non-disruptive compared to psychological therapies
      • You can simply take drugs until your symptoms decline and not engage in the hard work of psychological therapy
    • Drugs can have side-effects
      • A significant minority will get no benefit from taking drugs
      • Some patients suffer side-effects such as indigestion, blurred vision and loss of sex drive (only usually temporary)
      • Clomipramine - side effects are more common and can be more serious
      • 1/10 suffer erection problems, tremors and weight gain
      • 1/100 become aggressive and suffer disruption to blood pressure and heart rhythm
      • Reduce effectiveness because people stop taking the medication
  • Evaluation extra
    • Unreliable evidence for drug treatment
      • Some controversy attached
      • Some psychologists believe the evidence favouring drug treatments is sponsored by drug companies who do not report all the evidence
    • Some cases of OCD follow trauma
      • OCD is widely believed to be biological in origin
      • Makes sense that the standard treatment should be biological
      • Acknowledged that OCD can have a range of other causes
      • In some cases it is a response to a traumatic life event


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