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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Diagnosis Associated With Higher Rates Of Schizophrenia

Update Date: Sep 04, 2014 11:01 AM EDT
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A diagnosis of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) has been linked to higher rates  of schizophrenia and schizophrenia spectrum disorders, according to a new study.

OCD and schizophrenia rarely overlap, however some studies have suggested higher rates of co-existing illness with the two disorders in patients.

Researchers analyzed the potential relationship between the two disorders using data from Danish registers. They followed up a total of 3 million people born between 1955 and 2006 from 1995 through 2012. Researchers used incidence rate ratios (IRRs) as a measure of relative risk. 

A total of 16,231 people developed schizophrenia and 447 (2.75 percent) of them had a prior diagnosis of OCD. A total of 30,556 people developed a schizophrenia spectrum disorder and 700 (2.29 percent) of them had a prior OCD diagnosis, the press release mentioned. 

"Despite the fact that our results indicate putative overlapping etiological factors of OCD and schizophrenia or schizophrenia spectrum disorders, they do not necessarily suggest that these disorders should be aggregated into one global diagnosis. However, given these findings and the fact that OCD and schizophrenia co-occur with one another at a higher rate than would be expected in the general population, the phenotypes of these disorders are potentially more similar than currently acknowledged. ... Further research is needed to disentangle which genetic and environmental risk factors are truly common to OCD and schizophrenia or schizophrenia spectrum disorders." Sandra M. Meier, Ph.D., of Aarhus University, Denmark, and colleagues wrote in the article. 

The article was published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.

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