500,000 Australians suffer OCD but few seek help

Posted on November 11, 2014

Photo: flickr

About 500,000 Australians suffer from the debilitating mental health disorder but only one-third receive treatment.

Professor Michael Kyrios, director of the ANU Research School of Psychology and president of the Australian Psychological Society, said an evaluation of online treatments proved it could be as effective as face-to-face therapy in people with low to moderate OCD.

"I was not a believer," he said. "I was always of the view that you needed to have face-to-face therapy to have any impact on their wellbeing but it does work and it works really well as a form of early intervention."

Australia is regarded as a world leader in e-therapy, with programs aimed at assisting people with OCD using interactive cognitive behavioural therapy.

People with OCD endure symptoms for an average of seven years before seeking help, with the condition generally becoming chronic if left untreated. In about 50 per cent of cases symptoms first appear when in the sufferer is in their teens and are defined by recurrent and persistent thoughts and repetitive behaviours performed according to rigid rules.

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Category(s):Obsessions & Compulsions (OCD)

Source material from Sydney Morning Herald