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Papers of the Week

2022 Mar 07

Neurosci Biobehav Rev

Morbidity and mortality in obsessive-compulsive disorder: A narrative review.


de la Cruz L F, Isomura K, Lichtenstein P, Rück C, Mataix-Cols D
Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2022 Mar 07:104602.
PMID: 35271916.


Current knowledge on the general somatic health of individuals with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is very limited. Here, we critically review the emerging literature on the topic. Rapidly accumulating evidence indicates an association between OCD and autoimmune diseases, which is not limited to streptococcus-related conditions. Similarly, an association with metabolic and circulatory system diseases has been reported, which is at least partially independent from psychiatric comorbidities and familial confounders. Preliminary results also suggest potential links with dementia, insomnia, respiratory diseases, gastrointestinal diseases, migraine, and chronic pain, but replication is warranted. The risk of death by suicide in OCD is now well established. OCD has also been associated to increased mortality due to natural causes, but more research on specific causes of death is needed. Clarification of the mechanisms behind the observed associations will be critical to inform the rational design of prevention efforts. In the meantime, while OCD symptom reduction remains a priority, clinicians should also focus on monitoring the general health and promoting healthy lifestyles of persons with OCD.