- Danish study found obsessive compulsive disorder raises the risk of being diagnosed with schizophrenia
- Children of parents with OCD also more susceptible to the mental illness
People who suffer obsessive compulsive disorder are more likely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia, new research has warned. File picture
People who suffer obsessive compulsive disorder are more likely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia, new research has today warned.
And children of parents with OCD are also more prone to the mental health illness as they grow up.
A team of Danish scientists found sufferers are more at risk of both schizophrenia and related spectrum disorders.
The two conditions are distinct but do, at times, overlap, studies have shown.
To explore the links between the two condition, researchers from Aarhus University analysed Danish databases involving three million people born between 1955 and 2006.
They were then followed up from 1995 to 2012.
The scientists used incidence rate ratios (IRRs) as a measure the relative risk to establish the potential relationship between the two disorders.
The findings, published online in JAMA Psychiatry, found a total of 16,231 people developed schizophrenia and 447 (2.75 per cent) 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.
Dr Sandra Meier said: ‘We observed a specific association with OCD.
‘Although a psychiatric hospital contact per se increased the risk of developing schizophrenia and schizophrenia spectrum disorders, a prior diagnosis of OCD explained some additional variation in the disease’s susceptibility.
‘Other childhood-onset disorders such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism and bulimia nervosa did not increase the risk of developing schizophrenia and schizophrenia spectrum disorders as much as OCD, indicating a specifically strong effect of OCD on the disease’s susceptibility.
‘In addition we observed an effect of parental OCD on the risk of developing schizophrenia and schizophrenia spectrum disorders.
‘This effect of parental OCD on the risk of developing schizophrenia and schizophrenia spectrum disorders was not explained by a parental history of other mental disorders leading to psychiatric contact.
‘Interestingly the enhanced risk of children with parents diagnosed as having OCD developing schizophrenia or a schizophrenia spectrum disorder reported in this study can be considered comparable to the risk of second and third-degree relatives of patients with OCD developing OCD.
Children of parents with OCD are also more prone to the mental health illness as they grow up, the Danish researchers found. File picture
‘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.’