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Bergen 4-Day Treatment (B4DT) Appears Effective for OCD in Adolescents (2024 Study)

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) in adolescents is a challenging condition, marked by intrusive thoughts and compulsive behaviors that significantly impair daily functioning.

Recent studies have spotlighted the Bergen 4-Day Treatment (B4DT), an intensive, concentrated therapy approach showing promising outcomes in treating adolescents with OCD across various sites in Norway.

This innovative method, comprising prolonged sessions of Exposure and Ritual Prevention (ERP) delivered over four consecutive days, has been replicated successfully, demonstrating its effectiveness and acceptability among this age group.


  1. High Effectiveness & Acceptability: The B4DT approach has proven highly effective and acceptable for adolescents with OCD, with significant reductions in OCD symptoms and high patient satisfaction scores post-treatment.
  2. Rapid Symptom Reduction: A majority of participants were classified as responders and achieved remission status shortly after treatment, with improvements sustained at a three-month follow-up.
  3. Widespread Applicability: The treatment has been successfully implemented in different clinics across Norway, indicating its generalizability and effectiveness across various settings.
  4. Intensive Treatment Advantage: The B4DT’s concentrated format allows for a quicker recovery process compared to traditional, spread-out therapy sessions, offering a compelling alternative for adolescents and their families.

Source: BMC Psychiatry (2024)

The Bergen 4-Day Treatment for OCD (Overview)

The B4DT is a groundbreaking intensive treatment model for OCD, developed in Bergen, Norway.

It diverges from conventional therapy models by condensing the treatment into 4 consecutive days of intensive therapy sessions.

Structure & Implementation

The treatment is delivered in a group format, with a 1:1 patient-therapist ratio, ensuring personalized attention.

The first day focuses on psychoeducation for both the adolescents and their parents, setting the stage for the intensive exposure tasks that follow on days two and three.

The final day is dedicated to consolidating the gains, planning for future exposure tasks, and strategies for preventing relapse.

Core Principles & Techniques

At its core, the B4DT utilizes the principles of ERP, a proven method for treating OCD.

The intensive nature of the treatment allows for sustained and focused exposure tasks, confronting the patient with their fears in a controlled environment, thereby reducing the OCD symptoms effectively and efficiently.

(Related: Bergen 4-Day Treatment for Social Anxiety)

Major Findings: Bergen 4-Day Treatment for OCD in Adolescents

Solvei Harila Skjold et al. researched the effectiveness, acceptability, and sustainability of the Bergen 4-day treatment (B4DT) for adolescents with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) – below are the major findings.

1. Reduction in OCD Symptoms

Immediate Impact: Posttreatment assessments revealed a substantial reduction in OCD symptoms among participants. The mean score on the Children’s Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (CY-BOCS) significantly decreased from a baseline mean indicative of moderate to severe OCD to a posttreatment mean reflecting mild OCD symptoms. This translates to an 85.71% response rate, defined as a reduction of at least 35% in CY-BOCS scores.

Sustained Improvement: At the three-month follow-up, the reduction in OCD symptoms was not only maintained but showed further improvement. The percentage of participants classified as responders increased to 92.3%, with 84.62% achieving remission status, indicating a CY-BOCS score of 12 or below alongside a reduction of at least 35% in CY-BOCS scores.

2. General Anxiety & Depression Reduction

General Anxiety: The Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7-item (GAD-7) scale showed a significant decrease in scores from pretreatment to posttreatment, with continued improvement observed at the three-month follow-up. This highlights B4DT’s broader therapeutic impact beyond OCD symptoms, addressing associated anxiety symptoms effectively.

Depression: Similar trends were observed with the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9), which measures depressive symptoms. Participants reported a statistically significant reduction in depressive symptoms posttreatment, with a slight but not statistically significant further decrease at follow-up. This indicates B4DT’s capacity to alleviate depressive symptoms in adolescents with OCD, although the effect size was smaller compared to OCD and anxiety symptom reductions.

3. High Patient Satisfaction Rates

High Levels of Satisfaction: The Client Satisfaction Questionnaire-8 (CSQ-8) scores posttreatment indicated exceptionally high satisfaction with the B4DT among participants. The mean total satisfaction score approached the maximum possible, underscoring the treatment’s acceptability and perceived effectiveness from the patient’s perspective.

Quality and Service Satisfaction: Specific areas of high satisfaction included the quality of service, the type of service provided, the extent to which the treatment met their needs, and the likelihood of recommending the service to a friend. This comprehensive satisfaction covers various dimensions of the treatment experience, suggesting that B4DT is well-received across multiple facets of care.

4. Robust Efficacy of B4DT

The study’s findings provide robust evidence of B4DT’s effectiveness in significantly reducing OCD, general anxiety, and depressive symptoms in adolescents.

The high response and remission rates posttreatment and at the three-month follow-up demonstrate the treatment’s sustained impact.

Furthermore, the high levels of patient satisfaction underscore B4DT’s acceptability, making it a promising option for adolescents with OCD.

These results are particularly notable given the intensive, short-duration nature of the treatment, suggesting that B4DT can offer a rapid, effective, and well-accepted intervention for adolescents struggling with OCD and its associated symptoms.

(Related: Lifestyle & Health Habits of People with OCD in 2024)

Bergen 4-Day Treatment for Adolescents with OCD (2024 Study)

The study aimed to replicate the initial success of the Bergen 4-day treatment (B4DT) for adolescents with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) using a new sample of adolescents and different therapists at various sites across Norway.


  • The study utilized a naturalistic open trial design, including 43 adolescents aged 16 to 18 years, diagnosed with moderate to severe OCD.
  • Participants underwent the B4DT program, which was delivered over four consecutive days and included exposure and ritual prevention (ERP) techniques.
  • Assessments of OCD symptoms were conducted using the Children’s Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (CY-BOCS), alongside measures for general anxiety (GAD-7) and depression (PHQ-9) symptoms, at pretreatment, immediately posttreatment, and at a three-month follow-up.
  • Treatment acceptability and patient satisfaction were evaluated using the Client Satisfaction Questionnaire (CSQ-8).


  • The study reported significant reductions in symptoms of OCD, general anxiety, and depression from pretreatment to posttreatment, with these improvements maintained at the three-month follow-up.
  • Specifically, 85.71% of participants were classified as responders immediately post-treatment, with 69.05% achieving remission.
  • These figures increased at the 3-month follow-up, with 92.3% responders and 84.62% in remission.
  • High levels of patient satisfaction were reported, indicating the acceptability of the treatment among adolescents.


  • The study’s naturalistic design implies limitations, including the inability to control for all confounding variables and the lack of an independent assessment for all measures.
  • The presence of missing data, particularly regarding comorbidities and self-report measures, might have influenced the results.
  • Additionally, the study’s focus on a specific age group (16-18 years) and the absence of a randomized control group limit the ability to generalize findings across all adolescent populations and to unequivocally attribute improvements to the treatment.


  • Noteworthy strengths of the study include its high ecological validity, stemming from the inclusion of participants from real-world clinical settings across Norway.
  • The zero dropout rate emphasizes the treatment’s feasibility and acceptability among adolescents.
  • The successful replication of B4DT across multiple sites with different therapists adds to the robustness of the findings, suggesting that the treatment can be effectively generalized and implemented in various settings.
  • This broad applicability is crucial for addressing the treatment needs of adolescents with OCD across diverse geographical and clinical contexts.

(Related: Bilateral Anterior Capsulotomy for Treatment-Resistant OCD & Depression)

Potential Applications & Implications of the Findings

The findings from the study on the Bergen 4-day treatment (B4DT) for adolescents with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) have several important applications and implications for clinical practice, research, and policy.

Clinical Practice

Broader Treatment Accessibility: The effectiveness and acceptability of B4DT, demonstrated across multiple sites in Norway, suggest that this treatment model could be widely implemented in diverse clinical settings. This has the potential to make effective OCD treatment more accessible to adolescents, especially in areas where traditional, longer-term therapies are not feasible due to logistical or resource constraints.

Intensive Treatment Option: B4DT offers a viable intensive treatment option for adolescents with OCD, providing a rapid response and significant symptom reduction. This can be particularly appealing for those seeking quicker relief from symptoms or for whom traditional weekly therapy sessions may not be practical or preferred.

Family Involvement: Given the structure of B4DT, which includes psychoeducation and planning sessions with parents, this treatment model emphasizes the role of family support in the therapeutic process. This approach can strengthen family understanding of OCD and improve the home support system for adolescents.

Research Implications

Further Efficacy Studies: The successful replication of B4DT’s effectiveness in a new sample encourages further research to explore its efficacy in different populations, including younger children with OCD, adults, and those with comorbid conditions. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing B4DT to standard ERP therapies could provide more definitive evidence of its relative efficacy and efficiency.

Long-Term Outcomes: Investigating the long-term outcomes of B4DT is crucial to understanding its sustainability over time. Future studies should include longer follow-up periods to assess the durability of treatment gains and identify any potential need for booster sessions or additional support.

Mechanisms of Change: Research exploring the mechanisms through which B4DT achieves its effects can provide insights into the active components of intensive exposure therapy. This could lead to the refinement of treatment protocols and the development of more targeted interventions.

Which OCD Patients Should Try the Bergen 4-Day Treatment?

Optimal Candidates for B4DT…

  • High Motivation & Commitment: Adolescents who are highly motivated to engage in intensive therapy and committed to the rapid pace of B4DT are more likely to respond positively. Their readiness to confront and work through their OCD symptoms in a condensed timeframe can enhance treatment efficacy.
  • Supportive Family Environment: Those with a supportive family environment, where family members are willing to participate in treatment sessions and facilitate a supportive home environment, tend to benefit more. The involvement of parents in the B4DT process is crucial for its success.
  • Moderate to Severe OCD Without Severe Comorbidities: Adolescents diagnosed with moderate to severe OCD, who do not have severe comorbid psychiatric conditions such as psychosis, severe depression, or active suicidality, are ideal candidates. These patients can fully engage with the intensive nature of B4DT without the complication of managing acute risks associated with severe comorbid conditions.

Less Likely to Respond…

  • Severe Comorbid Psychiatric Conditions: Individuals with severe comorbid psychiatric conditions requiring immediate or more intensive treatment than what B4DT offers may not be suitable candidates. The intensive nature of B4DT might not adequately address the complexities of their psychiatric needs.
  • Low Motivation or Readiness for Change: Adolescents who are not motivated or ready to engage in the intensive and rapid pace of B4DT may find the treatment overwhelming. A lack of readiness for change can hinder the effectiveness of the therapy.
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder or Intellectual Disability: Those with autism spectrum disorder or an intellectual disability that impacts their ability to understand or engage in psychoeducation and cope with the group setting may struggle with the format of B4DT. Alternative, more tailored approaches may be more beneficial for these individuals.

Conclusion: B4DT for OCD Treatment in Adolescents

The Bergen 4-day treatment (B4DT) for adolescents with OCD represents a promising, intensive therapeutic intervention that has demonstrated significant effectiveness in reducing OCD, anxiety, and depressive symptoms.

Its structured, short-duration format offers a rapid, effective, and highly acceptable treatment option, particularly for motivated adolescents with a supportive family environment and without severe comorbid psychiatric conditions.

However, it may not be suitable for all patients, particularly those with severe comorbidities, low motivation, or certain developmental disorders.

This underscores the importance of thorough patient assessment and selection to maximize the benefits of B4DT.

As the mental health field continues to evolve, the B4DT provides an innovative approach to OCD treatment, challenging traditional therapy models and offering new hope for adolescents and their families.

More research and broader implementation could significantly impact the landscape of OCD treatment, making effective, efficient care more accessible to those in need.


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