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Recent research: OCD, writing & rumination, trauma & eating disorder, internet depression treatment, and sleep & PTSD

Simpson, H. B., E. B. Foa, et al. (2008). "A Randomized, Controlled Trial of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Augmenting Pharmacotherapy in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder." Am J Psychiatry 165(5): 621-630.  [Abstract/Full Text]  Most OCD sufferers treated adequately with antidepressants will continue to have clinically significant symptoms.  This study shows that adding exposure and response prevention treatment was more effective than adding stress management training in helping further reduce symptoms.  However even after 17 treatment treatment sessions, most sufferers had not yet achieved minimal symptoms.
Sloan, D. M., B. P. Marx, et al. (2008). "Expressive writing buffers against maladaptive rumination." Emotion 8(2): 302-6. [PubMed]  Expressive writing as described by Jamie Pennebaker is an interesting self-help technique with many research studies to back it up.  This paper by Sloan and colleagues suggests that the technique may be of particular help in reducing depression risk in people who tend to ruminate and brood about upsetting experiences.   
Smyth, J. M., K. E. Heron, et al. (2008). "The influence of reported trauma and adverse events on eating disturbance in young adults." Int J Eat Disord 41(3): 195-202.  [PubMed]  A history of past life traumas is associated with the likelihood of having eating disorder symptoms - both on entry to college and over the course of the first term.
Spek, V., P. Cuijpers, et al. (2008). "One-year follow-up results of a randomized controlled clinical trial on internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy for subthreshold depression in people over 50 years." Psychol Med 38(5): 635-9.  [PubMed]  Encouraging study suggesting that people sufferering from mild, subsyndromal depression symptoms may well benefit from internet-delivered cognitive therapy - and that this benefit is still greater than in a control group at one year follow-up.
Spoormaker, V. I. and P. Montgomery (2008). "Disturbed sleep in post-traumatic stress disorder: Secondary symptom or core feature?" Sleep Med Rev 12(3): 169-84.  [PubMed]  The authors of this article argue that sleep disturbance may not just be a symptom of PTSD, but may in fact be a core part of the disorder.  They recommend monitoring and treating PTSD sleep disturbance directly and suggest this may become a useful additional component of PTSD treatment packages.

 

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