CenTrial Logo

How Therapy Can Help People with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder


Clinical trial finds that therapy is beneficial for people with OCD

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a mental health condition that causes people to have unwanted thoughts and do repetitive actions. A clinical trial looked at two types of therapy, exposure and response prevention (ERP), and stress management therapy (SMT), to see which one is better for treating OCD. The trial also explored how our brain works during therapy and if it can predict how well someone will respond to treatment.

Clinical Trial

Instead of relying solely on medication, therapy has become a popular treatment for OCD. In the trial, researchers compared two types of therapy: ERP and SMT. ERP involves facing fears and resisting the urge to do certain behaviors, while SMT focuses on managing stress. The results showed that ERP was more effective in reducing OCD symptoms compared to SMT. This suggests that directly addressing the core symptoms of OCD through therapy techniques is crucial for successful treatment.


To better understand how therapy affects our brain, researchers used a special machine called functional MRI. They looked at different parts of the brain involved in OCD. The findings showed that people who had less connection between the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) and subcortical regions responded better to ERP, especially if they weren't taking medication. Both ERP and SMT were associated with symptom improvement when there was increased connectivity in certain brain circuits involved in cognitive control and movement.

Are you interested in clinical trials near you?

You can receive free notification of a trial for this, or any other condition, by completing a short confidential health profile.
Find a clinical trial near me

The trial also found that age plays a role in how people respond to therapy. Adolescents who underwent ERP showed more improvement compared to SMT when there was increased connectivity between the frontoparietal regions and a subcortical region called the nucleus accumbens. On the other hand, adults responded better to ERP when there was stronger connectivity between frontoparietal regions. This suggests that the brain's response to therapy can vary depending on a person's age.

The trial's findings provide important insights into how therapy can help people with OCD. By reducing the connection between the vmPFC and subcortical regions, ERP therapy becomes more effective. This means that therapy should focus on managing the influence of emotions on behavior. Additionally, both ERP and SMT showed symptom improvement when certain brain circuits responsible for cognitive control and movement were more connected. These findings highlight the importance of individualized therapy approaches based on age, as younger people may benefit more from targeting specific brain connections.


Therapy is a valuable treatment option for OCD. Understanding how our brain works can help improve therapy outcomes and personalize treatment plans.


Share this article with a friend:

Get emailed clinical trial results in the categories of your choice:
Free subscription to clinical trial results

20,000 clinical trials are seeking participants.
Signup and be matched to trials near you
This free service will notify you of current and future clinical trial matches.

This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. CenTrial Data Ltd. does not take responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. Treatments and clinical trials mentioned may not be appropriate or available for all trial participants. Outcomes from treatments and clinical trials may vary from person to person. Consult with your doctor as to whether a clinical trial is a suitable option for your condition. Assistance from generative AI tools may have been used in writing this article.