OCD is a disorder where the individual is plagued by uncontrollable obsessions and compulsions that interfere with his/her daily functioning. It is an anxiety disorder that can start at any age, although most commonly it begins in childhood through to early adulthood. While it is a waxing and waning disorder, if left untreated, it can escalate in severity over time.
Obsessions are characterized by persistent, irrational ideas or images that keep returning again and again. Compulsions are repetitive behaviors that are intended to prevent or correct some dreaded event. The most common obsessions are repetitive thoughts, impulses or images that are anxiety provoking. They occur against one's will, are intrusive and persistent and are, often, personally repugnant. These can include:
Fear of becoming contaminated
Fear that something terrible might happen if something isn't done correctly
Fear of causing offense
Fear of throwing something away that might be important
The urge for things to feel just right
Scrupulous or religious thoughts
Compulsions are conscious behaviors or rituals that are done to alleviate anxiety caused by the obsessions and are carried out even though the person is aware that these actions are senseless or excessive. Compulsions can often take the form of:
Washing or cleaning hands excessively
Ritually checking things excessively
Doing things "perfectly"
Making mental checklist or saying mantras over and over
The Semel Institute and Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital are world leaders in the diagnosis and treatment of OCD and is part of the UCLA Anxiety Disorders Program. Its highly specialized program is designed to accommodate people with all types of cases, ranging from mild to severe.
Highly trained specialists in cognitive behavior therapy, including Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP), and in medication management of anxiety disorders are responsible for and implement the program. In addition, a variety of clinical settings is offered to suit differing needs. These include:
Intensive Treatment Program
To further ensure the best and most appropriate treatment, OCD program is divided into two departments:
For people who can manage their anxiety disorders on a weekly, outpatient basis, UCLA Outpatient Anxiety Disorders Clinic provides both Behavior Therapy and Medication Management. It treats all anxiety disorders, including OCD, Panic Disorder, Agoraphobia, Social Phobia and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. The clinic also offers an extensive evaluation and treatment program. If you are uncertain about which course of action may be most appropriate for you, please use the number and assistance will be provided.
For further information, please contact us by calling the UCLA Anxiety Disorders Clinic (310) 825-9989
For more information on physicians and services at UCLA, please call our Physician Referral Service at (800) UCLA-MD1 or (310) 825-2631. For UCLA Neuropsychiatric and Behavioral Services, contact our ACCESS Center at (800) 825-9989 or (310) 825-9989.
Service available Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (PST) to assist you.