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Front Psychol ; 11: 594277, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1054997


Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a debilitating mental health disorder that can easily become a treatment-resistant condition. Although effective therapies exist, only about half of the patients seem to benefit from them when we consider treatment refusal, dropout rates, and residual symptoms. Thus, providing effective augmentation to standard therapies could improve existing treatments. Group compassion-focused interventions have shown promise for reducing depression, anxiety, and avoidance related to various clinical problems, but this approach has never been evaluated for OCD individuals. However, cultivating compassion for self and others seems crucial for OCD patients, given the accumulating research suggesting that fear of guilt, along with isolation and self-criticism, can strongly contribute to the development and maintenance of OCD. The primary aim of this pilot study was to evaluate the acceptability, tolerability, and effectiveness of an 8-week group compassion-focused intervention for reducing OCD symptoms, depression, fear of guilt and self-criticism, and increasing common humanity and compassionate self-reassuring skills in treatment-resistant OCD patients. Using a multiple baseline experimental design, the intervention was evaluated in a sample of OCD patients (N = 8) who had completed at least 6 months of CBT treatment for OCD, but who continued to suffer from significant symptoms. Participants were randomized to different baseline assessment lengths; they then received 8 weekly, 120-min group sessions of compassion-focused therapy for OCD (CFT-OCD), and then were tested again at post-treatment and at 1 month follow up. Despite the adverse external circumstances (post-treatment and follow-up data collection were carried out, respectively, at the beginning and in the middle of the Italian lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic), by the end of treatment, all participants demonstrated reliable decreases in OCD symptoms, and these improvements were maintained at 4-week follow-up for seven of eight participants. The intervention was also associated with improvements in fear of guilt, self-criticism, and self-reassurance, but less consistent improvements in depression and common humanity. Participants reported high levels of acceptability of and satisfaction with the intervention. Results suggest that the intervention may be beneficial as either a stand-alone treatment or as an augmentation to other treatments.

Front Psychiatry ; 11: 579107, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1004703


Objectives: One of the largest clusters of Covid-19 infections was observed in Italy. The population was forced to home confinement, exposing individuals to increased risk for insomnia, which is, in turn, associated with depression and anxiety. Through a cross-sectional online survey targeting all Italian adult population (≥18 yrs), insomnia prevalence and its interactions with relevant factors were investigated. Methods: The survey was distributed from 1st April to 4th May 2020. We collected information on insomnia severity, depression, anxiety, sleep hygiene behaviors, dysfunctional beliefs about sleep, circadian preference, emotion regulation, cognitive flexibility, perceived stress, health habits, self-report of mental disorders, and variables related to individual difference in life changes due to the pandemic's outbreak. Results: The final sample comprised 1,989 persons (38.4 ± 12.8 yrs). Prevalence of clinical insomnia was 18.6%. Results from multivariable linear regression showed that insomnia severity was associated with poor sleep hygiene behaviors [ß = 0.11, 95% CI (0.07-0.14)]; dysfunctional beliefs about sleep [ß = 0.09, 95% CI (0.08-0.11)]; self-reported mental disorder [ß = 2.51, 95% CI (1.8-3.1)]; anxiety [ß = 0.33, 95% CI (0.25-0.42)]; and depression [ß = 0.24, 95% CI (0.16-0.32)] symptoms. Conclusion: An alarming high prevalence of clinical insomnia was observed. Results suggest that clinical attention should be devoted to problems of insomnia in the Italian population with respect to both prevention and treatment.