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Sanjaya Saxena, M .D.

Professor, UCSD Department of Psychiatry
Director, UCSD Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders Program
Director, UCSD Outpatient Psychiatric Services
140 Arbor Drive
San Diego, CA 92103
E-mail: ssaxena@ucsd.edu 
Phone: (619) 543-6883
FAX:  (619) 543-6883

Dr. Saxena received his Bachelor's degree from Swarthmore College and his medical degree (Alpha Omega Alpha) from University of Minnesota Medical School.  He did his psychiatry residency at UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute, then completed a research fellowship in neuroimaging in neuropsychiatric disorders, receiving a Charles A. Dana Foundation Scholarship.  He was on the faculty of the UCLA Department of Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences for nine years before coming to UCSD and the VA San Diego Healthcare System in November, 2005.  In 2006, he became the Director of the UCSD Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders (OCD) Program.  He also created San Diego VA Anxiety Disorders Clinic and directed it for four years.  He continues to direct the UCSD OCD Clinic and now also serves as Director of UCSD Outpatient Psychiatric Services. 

Research Focus
Dr. Saxena is the Director of the UCSD OCD Research Program.  His research focuses on the neurobiology and treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and related disorders.  He uses functional and structural brain imaging to understand the brain circuits that mediate OCD symptoms, to reveal how effective treatments work in the brain, and to predict response to different types of treatments.  Recently, Dr. Saxena has been studying specific subtypes and variants of OCD, such as Compulsive Hoarding and Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD), to understand their neurobiology and develop better treatments for these disabling conditions.  He has received several research grants from the NIMH and the Obsessive-Compulsive Foundation.  He has also won awards from the American Psychiatric Association and American Neuropsychiatric Association.  Dr. Saxena serves on the Scientific Advisory Board for the International Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Foundation and is an advisor to the DSM-5 Workgroup on Obsessive-Compulsive Spectrum Disorders. 

Clinical Focus
Dr. Saxena directs the UCSD Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders Clinic, which provides specialized assessment and treatment of patients with OCD and OC-Spectrum Disorders with both medications and cognitive-behavioral therapy.  From 2006-2009, he created and directed the VA San Diego Healthcare System Anxiety Disorders Clinic.  These two clinics are the only programs of their kind in the San Diego area.

In January, 2010, Dr. Saxena became Director of UCSD Outpatient Psychiatric Services (OPS), the largest clinical program and training site in the Department.  UCSD OPS includes the UCSD Gifford Clinic and Co-Occurring Disorders Program for patients in the San Diego County Mental Health system, as well as UCSD Psychiatric Associates, which serves insured and self-pay patients.  Dr. Saxena leads a multi-disciplinary faculty of clinicians and supervisors who see patients and teach psychiatry residents and other mental health trainees who rotate through these clinics.  He is heavily involved in teaching of residents and medical students and won the UCSD Psychiatry Full-Time Faculty Teaching Award in 2007.  Dr. Saxena was elected into Best Doctors in America in 2005-2006, 2007-2008, 2009-2010, and 2011-2012.  He was also elected into America’s Top Doctors in 2008-2010.

Selected Publications

  • Saxena S, Brody AL, Schwartz JM, Baxter LR.  Neuroimaging and frontal-subcortical circuitry in obsessive-compulsive disorder.  Brit J Psychiatry 173 (suppl. 35): 26-38, 1998.

  • Saxena S & Rauch SL.  Functional neuroimaging and the neuroanatomy of obsessive-compulsive disorder.  Psychiatric Clin N Am 23 (3): 563-586, 2000.

  • Saxena S, Brody AL, Ho ML, Alborzian S, Ho MK, Maidment KM, Huang SC, Wu HM, Au SC, Baxter LR.  Cerebral metabolism in major depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder occurring separately and concurrently.  Biol Psychiatry 50: 159-170, 2001.

  • Saxena S, Brody AL, Ho ML, Alborzian S, Maidment KM, Zohrabi N, Ho MK, Huang SC, Wu HM, Baxter LR.  Differential cerebral metabolic changes with paroxetine treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder versus major depression.  Arch Gen Psychiatry 59:250-261, 2002.

  • Saxena S, Brody AL, Ho ML, Zohrabi N, Maidment KM, Baxter LR.  Differential brain metabolic predictors of response to paroxetine in obsessive-compulsive disorder versus major depression.  Am J Psychiatry 160: 522-532, 2003.

  • Saxena S, Brody AL, Maidment KM, Smith EC, Zohrabi N, Katz E, Baker SK, Baxter LR.  Cerebral glucose metabolism in obsessive-compulsive hoarding.  Am J Psychiatry 161: 1038-1048, 2004.

  • Saxena S, Brody AL, Maidment KM, Baxter LR.  Paroxetine treatment of compulsive hoarding.  J Psychiatr Res 41: 481-487, 2007.

  • Saxena S.  Is compulsive hoarding a genetically and neurobiologically discrete syndrome? Implications for diagnostic classification.  Am J Psychiatry 164 (3), 2007. 

  • Saxena S.  Neurobiology and treatment of compulsive hoarding.  CNS Spectrums 13(9)(Suppl 14): 29-36, 2008.

  • Saxena S, Gorbis E, O’Neill J, Baker SK, Mandelkern MA, Maidment KM, Chang S, Salamon N, Brody AL, Schwartz JM, London ED.  Rapid effects of brief intensive cognitive-behavioral therapy on cerebral glucose metabolism in obsessive-compulsive disorder. Molec Psychiatry 14: 197-205, 2009.



University of California, San Diego, Department of Psychiatry, 9500 Gilman Drive, Mail Code 0603 La Jolla, CA 92037-0603
Telephone: (858) 534-3684, Fax: (858) 534-7653, Electronic Mail: psychiatry@ucsd.edu