Obsessive-compulsive disorder

What is obsessive-compulsive disorder?

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) can co-occur in people with schizophrenia. It involves persistent and intrusive thoughts (obsessions) and repetitive actions (compulsions). The DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition) defines obsessions as recurrent and persistent thoughts, urges, or impulses that are experienced as intrusive and unwanted with associated anxiety or distress. The individual attempts to suppress these obsessions by performing compulsions; repetitive behaviours (e.g., hand washing, ordering, checking) or thoughts (e.g., praying, counting, repeating words). The obsessions or compulsions are time-consuming and can cause significant impairment in social, occupational, or other areas of functioning. Related disorders include hoarding disorder, excoriation disorder (skin-picking), body dysmorphic disorder (obsessive focus on a perceived flaw in appearance) and trichotillomania (hair-pulling).

What is the evidence for OCD in people with schizophrenia?

Moderate to high quality evidence suggests the prevalence of OCD in people with schizophrenia is around 13.6% and the prevalence of obsessive-compulsive symptoms is around 30.3%. Rates are higher in outpatients than in inpatients (17% vs. 11%), and in people with chronic schizophrenia than in people with first-episode psychosis (13% vs. 0.8%).

People with schizophrenia and obsessive-compulsive symptoms, but not a diagnosis of OCD, have more severe symptoms of schizophrenia than people with schizophrenia without obsessive-compulsive symptoms.

Moderate to high quality evidence found no differences in cognition between those with OCD and those without OCD.

March 2022

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Last updated at: 1:40 pm, 29th March 2022
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Fact Sheet Technical Commentary
Tags:  OCD

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