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Help for obsessive-compulsive kids.

The largest systematic follow-up to date of children and teenagers suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) indicates that drug and behavioral treatments offer considerable help -- but not a cure - to a majority of youngsters. However, of the 54 individuals tracked, 23 still displayed fullblown OCD, the researchers report. Follow-up ranged from two to seven years after the study began.

OCD sufferers experience disturbing urges to perform certain activities over and over, such as washing their hands, often for hours every day,

All but two youngsters in the study took medication during part or all of the follow-up period. Many relied on an antidepressant drug that boosts levels of the chemical messenger serotonin in the brain (SN: 5/21/88, p.324). The 18 participants who also received behavior therapy, which teaches ways to reduce anxiety and control OCD symptoms, improved about as much as those who received only drugs.

Henrietta L. Leonard, a psychiatrist at the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Md., and her colleagues describe their findings in the June ARCHIVES oF GENERAL PSYCHIATRY.
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Title Annotation:study indicates that medication and behavior therapy about equally effective
Publication:Science News
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Jun 19, 1993
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