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Obsessive compulsive disorder: a unitary syndrome, or an ambiguous label for separate psychiatric conditions?

Objective

It has long been recognized that obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), a complex, treatment-resistant disorder, is a heterogeneous syndrome that has several subtypes (e.g. cleaning, checking). Recently, there has been a growing interest in a more discrete nosological approach, which suggests that these subtypes should be considered as distinct psychiatric conditions with specific characteristics and preferred treatments. However, OCD is still treated it as one condition with several different 'manifestations'. The proposed project has two components. The first, which focuses on information processing, aims at classifying symptom clusters of OCD based on their associations with excessive visual attention to small details, a relevant cognitive style.

The other component will utilize recently developed psychometric techniques to examine the prevalent nosological consideration of OCD as one unitary disorder in research and in practice. The expected findings will have both theoretical and practical implications. Theoretically, they may challenge the current consideration of OCD as a unitary syndrome. Practically, they may indicate whether researchers and clinicians should avoid equating individuals with very different and possibly unrelated symptom profiles. Such an approach may improve the consistency and reliability of scientific findings in the field, and most importantly, it may facilitate the development of more fine-tuned and efficacious treatments.

Relevance to FP6: I just started a tenure track position in Israel. Funding this project will facilitate the set-up of my clinical research lab, a first of its kind in my university, and increase my ability to conduct research and attract graduate students during the crucial reintegration period. Also, it will help in maintaining my ties with my colleagues in the US, thus allowing continuous transfer of knowledge, and promote the reputation of my group, thus forming the basis for future collaborations within the EU.

Call for proposal

FP6-2004-MOBILITY-12
See other projects for this call

Coordinator

THE HEBREW UNIVERSITY OF JERUSALEM
Address
The Authority For Research And Development, Edmond J. Safra Campus, Givat Ram
Jerusalem
Israel