Professor Mike Kyrios, Director, The Research School of Psychology, ANU
The recent fifth edition of the American Psychiatric Associations Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (APA, 2013) highlighted the distinctiveness of the obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorders (OCSD). The numerous OCSDs are characterised by the experience of unwanted, intrusive and persistent ideas, thoughts, images or urges that cause marked anxiety, distress or discomfort. This results in attempts to avoid, ignore, suppress or neutralise intrusions and associated situations with overt or covert purposeful repetitive responses that the individual feels driven to perform often in accordance with rigid rules. The OCSDs are common and highly disabling disorders associated with high health costs. While effective treatments exist for most OCSDs, this is not the case across the board, improvements in the efficacy and effectiveness of treatments needs to improve and access to evidence-based treatments is variable.
This talk presents ongoing research over numerous years on two OCSDs, namely Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Hoarding Disorder (HD). While OCD has long been recognised by diagnostic taxonomies, HD has only recently been recognised as a separate disorder. This is reflected in differences between the two disorders in the state-of-the-art with respect to conceptual frameworks, evidence-based treatments, resource access, and workforce issues. The talk will give an overview of the ongoing development of effective and accessible treatments for both disorders, as well as future directions for improving the wellbeing of the nearly one million Australians who suffer from one or both of these disorders.