People that are diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) are at increased risk of developing schizophrenia or schizophrenia spectrum disorders.
Sandra M. Meier, PhD, of Aarhus University, Denmark, and colleagues examined the relationship between OCD and schizophrenia, including whether having a family history of OCD increases the risk of schizophrenia.
The team examined data from 3 million Danes born between 1955 and 2006, who underwent follow-up between 1995 and 2012. A total of 30,556 people developed schizophrenia or schizophrenia spectrum disorders during this period.
The presence of prior diagnosis of OCD was associated with an increased risk for developing schizophrenia (incidence rate ratio=6.90; 95% CI, 6.25-7.60) and schizophrenia spectrum disorders (IRR = 5.77; 95% CI: 5.33-6.22) later in life, the researchers reported in JAMA Psychiatry.
In addition, children of parents who were diagnosed with OCD also had an increased risk of schizophrenia (IRR=4.31; 95% CI: 2.72-6.43) and schizophrenia spectrum disorders (IRR=3.10; 95% CI: 2.17-4.27).
“The observed increase in risk suggests that OCD, schizophrenia, and schizophrenia spectrum disorders probably lay on a common etiological pathway,” the researchers concluded. “Future research is needed to disentangle which genetic and environmental factors are truly common to OCD and schizophrenia or schizophrenia spectrum disorders.”
Despite a remarkable co-occurrence of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and schizophrenia, little is known about the clinical and etiological relationship of these 2 disorders. Exploring the degree to which these disorders share etiological factors might provide useful implications for clinicians, researchers, and those with the disorders.
The objective of the study is to to assess whether patients with OCD experience an enhanced risk of developing schizophrenia and schizophrenia spectrum disorders and to determine whether a family history of OCD constitutes a risk factor for schizophrenia and schizophrenia spectrum disorders.