Barriers to treatment and service utilization in an internet sample of individuals with obsessive-compulsive symptoms

Depress Anxiety. 2010 May;27(5):470-5. doi: 10.1002/da.20694.


Background: Despite the increasing dissemination of treatment for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) in the past decade, the majority of individuals with OCD are not receiving appropriate treatment. This study examined rates of treatment utilization and barriers to treatment in an internet sample of individuals with self-reported OCD.

Methods: One hundred and seventy-five participants completed an online survey examining OCD symptoms, psychosocial measures, barriers to treatment, and treatment utilization.

Results: Sixty percent of the sample reported receiving treatment for their OCD symptoms. The majority of participants who sought pharmacotherapy received SSRIs, whereas the majority who sought psychotherapeutic treatment received "talk therapy." The cost of treatment, lack of insurance coverage, shame, and doubt that treatment would be effective were the most commonly endorsed barriers to treatment among the sample.

Conclusions: Findings demonstrated relatively low treatment utilization rates among the sample, with many participants receiving treatments other than the gold-standard medication and psychotherapy treatments (i.e. SSRIs and cognitive behavioral therapy, respectively). Furthermore, a large portion of the sample endorsed many barriers to treatment seeking, such as logistic and financial barriers; stigma, shame, and discrimination barriers; and treatment perception and satisfaction barriers. This study highlights the need for more effective treatment dissemination in OCD.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Health Care Costs
  • Humans
  • Internet / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Mental Health Services / economics
  • Mental Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder* / epidemiology
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder* / pathology
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder* / therapy
  • Psychology
  • Quality of Life / psychology
  • Shame
  • Surveys and Questionnaires