Sudden gains in internet-delivered CBT for obsessive-compulsive disorder

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In our most recent paper, published in the Journal of Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders, we investigate sudden gains in internet-based CBT for OCD. A sudden gain means a large improvement in symptoms between two therapy sessions (i.e. weeks in internet-based CBT), that is stable once the improvement has taken place. We used data from a previous trial where 128 participants received internet-based CBT.

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We found that 38% of the patients experienced a sudden gain. Sudden gainers showed significantly larger improvements on the clinician-administered Y-BOCS than non-sudden gainers at post-treatment (d = 1.11), as well as at 3-month (d = 1.06), 12-month (d = 0.88) and 24-month follow-up (d = 0.77). Sudden gainers also showed significantly less severe OCD symptoms than gradual gainers at post-treatment (d = 0.50), as well as 3-month (d = 0.55) and 12-month follow-up (d = 0.57). In addition, patients receiving DCS showed a significantly higher rate of sudden gains.

We conclude that sudden gains are common in ICBT for OCD and are associated with favourable short and long-term treatment outcomes. Sudden gains is something we will be investigating further in our other clinical trials for OCD and related disorders.

New study: Adapted CBT for adults with OCD and ASD

We have just released a pre-print1 where we describe an adapted cognitive behavior therapy for adults with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). You can find the full paper here.

OCD and ASD often co-occur but effective treatment options for this patient group are sorely lacking. We extended an adapted CBT protocol developed in the UK at our specialist clinic for OCD and related disorders (OCD-programmet).

Our results show that OCD-symptoms (both when rated by a clinician and by the participants themselves) decrease over the course of treatment, but that few participants were completely symptom free.

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Results on the main outcome: Yale-Brown Obsessive-compulsive Scale (YBOCS) rated by clinicians.

We discuss three ways to develop the treatment further: adding more support in between sessions to help participants do exposure exercises on their own, including interventions to help participants find meaningful daily activities, and intensifying the treatment over a shorter time span.

If you are interested in learning more, you can find the pre-print at the pre-print server PsyArXiv.


  1. A pre-print is a manuscript that has been read and approved by all authors but has not gone through peer-review yet. It’s a popular way to quickly disseminate results in fields like genetics, physics and mathematics. It is gaining popularity in other fields as well. Wikipedia article ↩︎