OCD Treatment at UCLA
The UCLA Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Intensive Treatment Program is designed for people who have moderate to severe OCD and/or Hoarding Disorder. For OCD, our approach integrates cognitive-behavior therapy, and specifically exposure and response prevention (ERP). Our program integrate research-based cognitive-behavioral and pharmacologic approaches for the most effective outcomes of these disorders. Our program has been helping individuals with OCD since 1991. In addition, we have been forerunners in the development of successful approaches to treating Hoarding Disorder (previously a sub-type of OCD and now its own diagnostic category).
What is OCD?
OCD is a disabling disorder consisting of distressing and time-consuming obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors that significantly impact one’s quality of life.
Obsessions are characterized by persistent, repetitive thoughts, impulses or images that are associated with distressing emotions such as anxiety, disgust, or guilt. Obsessions occur against one's will, are intrusive and recurrent and are, often, personally repugnant. These can include:
- Concerns about becoming contaminated
- Concerns that something terrible might happen if something isn't done correctly
- Concerns about causing offense
- Concerns that one may harm others or themselves, even though he/she does not want to
- The urge for things to feel just right
- Obsessive scrupulous, religious, or sexual thoughts
Compulsions are repetitive behaviors that are intended to prevent or correct some dreaded event associated with the obsessions. These can be physical or mental behaviors. People with OCD also often avoid certain situations that might trigger obsessive thoughts, or to prevent something bad from happening. Sometimes individuals with OCD test themselves or others or their environment to make sure that something bad will not happen, or that they know something sufficiently well.
Common compulsive behaviors include:
- Ordering and arranging
- Repeating actions
What is Hoarding Disorder?
Although Hoarding Disorder used to be considered an OCD-related disorder, it is now thought of as its own separate disorder. Regardless, it can still be effectively treated with techniques similar to, but not entirely the same, as those used for OCD.
Hoarding Disorder is defined as the acquisition of, and the failure to discard a large number of possessions that other people would consider useless or of limited value. In addition, living or work spaces are so cluttered that they preclude activities for which those spaces were intended. And, significant distress or impairment in functioning is caused by the hoarding behavior.
Hoarding Disorder is fueled by four fundamental problems: a difficulty with making decisions, a need to do things perfectly, difficulty organizing, and behavioral avoidance. Treatment for hoarding will target these four issues simultaneously. This disorder can be effectively treated in the clinic setting provided the person with hoarding is willing and able to bring a steady supplies of boxes of their clutter to the clinic so that they can practice addressing the issues inherent to Hoarding Disorder.
The usual requirement for admission to the program is that the individual has already tried outpatient CBT and medication management but did not respond sufficiently. Each individual admitted to the program must already have an outpatient therapist and be receiving medication treatment from an outpatient psychiatrist.
Director: Jamie Feusner