Obsessive-Compulsive & Related Disorders Clinic 

What is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)?

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is characterized by the presence of intrusive, unwanted thoughts and images that increase one’s anxiety and promote repetitive behaviors. 

Common themes of intrusive thoughts are:

  • Concerns of sexual orientation or taboo thoughts
  • Desire for symmetry
  • Fear of harming oneself or others
  • Fear of physical or mental/emotional contamination
  • Having a strong preference or strong dislike of certain words, numbers or colors
  • Hoarding/saving obsessions
  • Needing a “just right” feeling
  • Preoccupation with physical health
  • Scrupulosity

Compulsions or repetitive behaviors, which are aimed to “undo” or neutralize the intrusive thought, can be performed physical or mentally.

These compulsions often include:

  • Attempting to “undo” a thought
  • Avoidance of triggering situations
  • Excessive reassurance seeking
  • Repeating behaviors

Both obsessions and compulsions cause significant distress and functional impairment.

What are Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRBs)?

Trichotillomania and excoriation disorder are two types of BFRBs. 

  • Trichotillomania refers to the repetitive, uncontrollable pulling of hair from one’s body.
  • Excoriation disorder is the recurrent, uncontrollable picking of one’s skin. 

Both disorders result in significant physical damage and emotional distress, as the behaviors are often difficult to curtail.

Treatment

We provide evidence-based treatment for adolescents and adults with OCD and BFRBs. These strategies include exposure and response prevention — the “gold standard” treatment for OCD — as well as strategies to enhance emotion regulation and for adaptive coping with stressors that promote vulnerability to OCD and BFRBs.

During an initial evaluation, we aim to assess symptom presentation, treatment goals and the level of treatment appropriate for each person. We offer treatment ranging from sessions once per week to daily, intensive treatment. We also offer medication consultation and management.