Dr. Simpson shares when patients with obsessive compulsive disorder/OCD need treatment.
When you look at patients with OCD, the majority of them have moderate or severe symptoms. Only 15% of them have mild symptoms. So, OCD is one of those disorders where it’s not so hard, I mean, in our clinic we usually see people who are obviously ill or people who don’t have the disorder. It’s actually very rare that we’re scratching our heads to wonder, “Well, you know, is this really important here, important enough to be treated?”
Here is what we use sort of clinically as a rubric: The obsessions and compulsions have to be more than an hour a day, the symptoms need to be obviously distressing or someone wouldn’t be coming for treatment, and the symptoms have to impair functioning. Those are sort of the three things that we use as a sense of, you know what, we need to treat people here.
About Dr. Simpson, M.D., Ph.D.:
Helen Blair Simpson, M.D., Ph.D., an expert on obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), is an associate professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University, New York City, where she directs the Anxiety Disorders Clinic and OCD Research Program at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. She was a member of the work group that developed the first “Practice Guidelines for the Treatment of Patients With OCD” for the American Psychiatric Association.
Through her research, Dr. Simpson is working to trace the brain circuits believed to play a major role in the development of obsessions and compulsions, and she has developed novel approaches to treatment. Her research has been supported by a NARSAD Young Investigator grant.