When patients suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder, Dr. Kirsten Thompson offers psychiatric assessment and treatment from her practice in Brentwood, Los Angeles, California. She has helped many patients with OCD learn to manage their conditions and live healthy and productive lives.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a chronic mental health condition characterized by uncontrollable, recurring thoughts (obsessions) and behaviors (compulsions) that the patient is compelled to repeat. Some patients develop obsessions with specific numbers and the compulsive behaviors have to be repeated without interruption that many times while others will continue with a behavior, even if that behavior is or becomes dangerous and harmful. OCD is a common mental health condition that affects patients of all ages. Risk factors for the condition include genetics, brain structure and function, and the patient’s environment.
Patients with OCD present obsessive symptoms, compulsive symptoms, or a combination of both. Obsessions are repeated thoughts, mental images, or urges that cause the patient anxiety. For example, a patient may experience a fear of germs, aggressive or harmful thoughts, symmetry and order, and unwanted forbidden thoughts of a sexual or religious nature. Compulsions are behaviors that a patient feels the need to complete over and over again. These may include ordering and arranging items in a specific way, repeatedly checking on things like whether or not the door is locked or the oven is off, counting, cleaning or hand washing. It is important to understand that not all rituals are compulsions and the desire to double check that you locked the door is not a sign of this mental health disorder. OCD is typically diagnosed with these thoughts and behaviors are uncontrollable and excessive to the point of getting in the way of everyday life. People with OCD do not typically experience pleasure when performing their compulsive behaviors.
Dr. Thompson treats her patients with OCD with a combination of medication and psychotherapy. Each patient will receive a full psychiatric assessment before a diagnosis is made. Once a patient is diagnosed with OCD, Dr. Thompson creates a customized treatment plan to address his or her specific needs. Therapy can help patients to learn to recognize and control their compulsive behaviors while medication can address the imbalance in brain chemistry that can lead to this disorder. If the compulsions are driven by a trauma in the patient’s past, psychotherapy can also help to resolve the patient’s feeling about that event as part of the healing process.