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Full remission and relapse of obsessive-compulsive symptoms after cognitive-behavioral group therapy: a two-year follow-up

Remissão completa e recaídas dos sintomas obsessivo-compulsivos depois da terapia cognitivo-comportamental em grupo: dois anos de acompanhamento

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to assess whether the results obtained with 12 sessions of cognitive-behavioral group therapy with obsessive-compulsive patients were maintained after two years, and whether the degree of symptom remission was associated with relapse. METHOD: Forty-two patients were followed. The severity of symptoms was measured at the end of cognitive-behavioral group therapy and at 18 and 24 months of follow-up. The assessment scales used were the Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale, Clinical Global Impression, Beck Depression Inventory, and Beck Anxiety Inventory. RESULTS: The reduction in symptom severity observed at the end of treatment was maintained during the two-year follow-up period (F = 57.881; p < 0.001). At the end of the treatment, 9 (21.4%) patients presented full remission, 22 (52.4%) presented partial remission, and 11 (26.2%) had unchanged scores in the Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale. After two years, 13 patients (31.0%) presented full remission, 20 (47.6%) had partial remission, and 9 (21.4%) had unchanged Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scalescores. The full remission of symptoms at the end of the treatment was a protective factor against relapse (χ2 = 4,962; df = 1; p = 0.026). CONCLUSION: Our findings underscore the importance of attaining full remission of obsessive-compulsive symptoms during treatment and the need for new therapeutic strategies to achieve this.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder; Cognitive therapy; Psychotherapy, group; Longitudinal studies; Recurrence

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