PITTSBURGH, April 16, 2007 Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic (WPIC) of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) is accepting patients for their Child and Adolescent Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Intensive Outpatient Program. The program is one of only a few such programs in the United States and the only program in the region to provide specialized treatment services to children diagnosed with OCD.
Approximately two percent of children and adults have OCD, an anxiety disorder characterized by recurrent, unwanted thoughts and/or repetitive behaviors. While OCD can arise at any time during a persons life, it frequently emerges during childhood and adolescence.
The WPIC Intensive Outpatient Program uses evidence-based therapies to provide specialized and individual treatment regimens which can include cognitive behavioral therapy with exposure and response prevention (CBT with E/RP), pharmacotherapy and family therapy.
"An intensive outpatient program has many benefits for children living with OCD. The program provides more intense and frequent treatment than they would receive through a traditional outpatient treatment program, while being less restrictive than an inpatient program," said Andrew Gilbert, M.D., assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and the programs attending child and adolescent psychiatrist. "The program offers a number of additional benefits, including the opportunity to provide group-exposure treatments in a nurturing environment. The children and adolescents in our program frequently act as a support system for one another, which appears to enhance the effectiveness of the treatment."
Treatment is targeted at 7 to 18 year olds who have a primary diagnosis of OCD, although younger patients may be admitted on a case-by-case basis. The program runs for nine hours a week in the afternoon, and most participants remain in treatment for approximately six to eight weeks depending upon how each individual responds. Under the guidance of a multidisciplinary team of skilled, trained therapists including a nurse clinician, educational specialist, social workers and psychiatrist, treatment is personalized to each participant depending on individual needs and preferences. All participants receive individual and group therapy sessions, with a focus upon developing both an understanding and ability to carry out CBT with E/RP.
Medication is a treatment option, but is not mandatory for participation. Published scientific research suggests that combination pharmacological and behavioral therapy is most effective in treating pediatric OCD. The decision regarding the use of medication is made by the participants and their parents or guardians and the treatment team. Those who do chose to use medication as part of their treatment are closely monitored by a psychiatrist and nurse clinician for the duration of participation in the program.
To augment the effectiveness of the treatment program, participants and their families are given educational information about OCD and are taught how to use CBT with E/RP to manage OCD symptoms outside of the program. Families are encouraged to participate in family therapy at least once each week during treatment.
At the start of the program each participant receives a thorough psychiatric evaluation to determine if the program is right for him or her. If the program is not considered appropriate, the child will be referred to a more appropriate care program.
For more information about the Child and Adolescent Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Intensive Outpatient Program of Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, call 412-488-4186. The program is located on Pittsburgh's South Side at1011 Bingham St.
For more information about services offered by Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic of UPMC, call 412-624-1000.