For the current study, Sandeep Grover, M.D., a professor of psychiatry at the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research in India and colleagues recruited 181 adults with schizophrenia. The patients were evaluated using several screening tools, including the Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale, the Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Symptom Checklist, and the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale.
The analysis showed that 51 (28.2%) patients met the criteria for current OCD and 71 (39.2%) reported having experienced at least one obsession or compulsion for one month or more. The most common obsessions reported by patients were those of contamination (25.4%) and a need for symmetry and exactness (11.6%); the most common compulsions were cleaning/washing (27.1%) and checking (24.3%).
When the authors compared patients with current OCD with those without, they found patients with current OCD were more likely to have experienced the onset of schizophrenia at a younger age. Patients with schizophrenia and OCD were also more likely to have comorbid depression and report suicidal ideation.
Additional analysis revealed that patients with schizophrenia who were in remission but met the criteria for OCD had higher levels of disability in the domains of communication and understanding than those without OCD; those in clinical remission with OCD also had higher a prevalence of depression.
Based on these findings, the authors recommended that all patients with schizophrenia undergo regular evaluations for symptoms of OCD.
For related information, see the Psychiatric News article “Early Social Functioning May Predict Long-Term Outcome in Psychosis.”