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Attitudes of psychiatrists toward obsessive–compulsive disorder patients

Authors Kusalaruk P, Saipanish R, Hiranyatheb T

Received 26 March 2015

Accepted for publication 18 May 2015

Published 15 July 2015 Volume 2015:11 Pages 1703—1711


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 5

Editor who approved publication: Professor Wai Kwong Tang

Pichaya Kusalaruk, Ratana Saipanish, Thanita Hiranyatheb

Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, Ramathibodi Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand

Purpose: Negative attitudes from doctors and the resulting stigmatization have a strong impact on psychiatric patients’ poor access to treatment. There are various studies centering on doctors’ attitudes toward psychiatric patients, but rarely focusing on the attitudes to specific disorders, such as obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD). This research aimed to focus on psychiatrists’ attitudes toward OCD patients.
Patients and methods: The participants were actual psychiatrists who signed a form of consent. The main tool used in this study was a questionnaire developed from a focus group interview of ten psychiatrists about their attitudes toward OCD patients.
Results: More than 80% of the participating psychiatrists reported a kindhearted attitude toward OCD patients in the form of pity, understanding, and empathy. Approximately one-third of the respondents thought that OCD patients talk too much, waste a lot of time, and need more patience when compared with other psychiatric disorder sufferers. More than half of the respondents thought that OCD patients had poor compliance with behavioral therapy. The number of psychiatrists who had confidence in treating OCD patients with medications (90.1%) was much higher than those expressing confidence in behavioral therapy (51.7%), and approximately 80% perceived that OCD patients were difficult to treat. Although 70% of the respondents chose medications combined with behavioral therapy as the most preferred mode of treatment, only 7.7% reported that they were proficient in exposure and response prevention.
Conclusion: Even though most psychiatrists had a more positive than negative attitude toward OCD patients, they still thought OCD patients were difficult to treat and had poor compliance with behavioral therapy. Only a small number of the participating psychiatrists reported proficiency in exposure and response prevention.

Keywords: obsessive–compulsive disorder, psychiatrist, attitude, stigma, Thai

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