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Obsessive-Compulsive Symptoms in Schizophrenia and in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Differences and Similarities

TONNA, MATTEO, MD; OTTONI, REBECCA, MD; PAGLIA, FRANCESCA, MD; MONICI, ALBERTO, MD; OSSOLA, PAOLO, MD; DE PANFILIS, CHIARA, MD; MARCHESI, CARLO, MD

Journal of Psychiatric Practice®: March 2016 - Volume 22 - Issue 2 - p 111–116
doi: 10.1097/PRA.0000000000000131
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Introduction: A growing literature suggests that obsessive-compulsive (OC) phenomena represent a distinct dimension in schizophrenia, independent of nuclear psychotic symptoms. Nevertheless, the OC psychopathologic profile in schizophrenia, compared with “pure” obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), has not yet been investigated extensively. This study investigated the clinical features of the OC dimension in patients with schizophrenia compared with patients with pure OCD.

Methods: The main psychopathologic features of obsessions and compulsions were rated in 35 patients with schizophrenia and 31 patients with OCD, using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis I Disorders, the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale, the Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale, and the Leyton Obsessional Inventory.

Results: OC phenomena were indistinguishable in terms of their severity, resistance, interference, and control in both groups. However, patients with OCD showed higher rates of aggressive, contamination-related, sexual, and somatic themes; moreover, in the group with schizophrenia, a positive relationship was found between washing compulsions and delusions and between hoarding obsessions and delusions.

Conclusions: These results indicate that patients with schizophrenia exhibit a narrower range of obsessive content compared with patients with OCD; in addition, OC and delusional themes tend to be related in schizophrenia as a unique symptomatic phenomenon.

TONNA, OTTONI, PAGLIA, OSSOLA, DE PANFILIS, and MARCHESI: Department of Neuroscience, Psychiatric Unit, University of Parma, Parma, Italy

TONNA, MONICI, DE PANFILIS, and MARCHESI: Department of Mental Health, Local Health Service, Parma, Italy

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Please send correspondence to: Matteo Tonna, MD, Department of Neuroscience, Psychiatry Unit, University of Parma, Ospedale Maggiore, Padiglione Braga, Viale A. Gramsci 14, Parma 43126, Italy (e-mail: mtonna@ausl.pr.it).

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