Cognitive-behavioral and Related Therapies for Obsessive–Compulsive and Related Disorders

Y.C. Janardhan Reddy; Shyam Sundar Arumugham; Srinivas Balachander


Curr Opin Psychiatry. 2021;34(5):467-476. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Purpose of Review: Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) with exposure and response prevention is the first-line treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and related disorders such as body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). We review here recent developments in CBT and related therapies in treating OCD and related disorders.

Recent Findings: Superiority of CBT over medications in treating OCD is being questioned by some recent meta-analyses, nonetheless CBT continues to be the mainstay of treatment. Web-based therapies have been shown to be beneficial in treating at least mild-to-moderately ill patients. Mindfulness-based CBT, intensive residential treatment and Bergen 4-day concentrated exposure are also proving to be useful in treating OCD. Large well designed studies have demonstrated the efficacy CBT over supportive therapy in treating BDD. Research on the efficacy of CBT in treating hoarding disorder is accumulating.

Summary: Efficacy of web-based CBT has a potential public health importance in that CBT may now become accessible to all and benefit at least mild-to-moderately ill patients who form most of the clinically ill sample. Similarly, efficacy of Bergen 4-day concentrated exposure will have a huge public health implication if the findings can be replicated in other centers across the world.


Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the first-line treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)[1,2] and body dysmorphic disorder (BDD).[3] Similarly, other forms of psychosocial interventions such as habit reversal therapy (HRT) are found to be useful in treating trichotillomania (TTM) and skin picking disorder (SPD).[4] We review here important recent advances in CBT and related therapies in the treatment of OCD, BDD, TTM and SPD.