July 17, 2005

OCD & Schizophrenia Overlap

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and schizophrenia have a good amount of things in common. "Although OCD and schizophrenia are distinct diagnostic entities, there is considerable overlap between the two disorders in terms of clinical characteristics, brain areas that are affected and pharmacotherapy" (Price, 2005). Those who have OCD are not more likely to develop schizophrenia, but those with schizophrenia are more likely to develop OCD. Around 8% to 46% of patients with schizophrenia also have OCD, whereas the general population has a 1.2% to 2.4% percentage that develops OCD. Yet the relationship between these two disorders is not fully understood as of yet.

As Price (2005) states, "Patients with "pure" OCD exhibit delayed memory, response inhibition and impaired performance in alternation learning. Such learning impairment in OCD patients has been demonstrated in measures sensitive to changes in orbitofrontal cortex function. Among patients with chronic OCD, the odds of schizotypy are substantially increased with early age of OCD onset, male gender, counting compulsions and a history of a specific phobia. Overlapping brain areas--thalamus, caudate nucleus, anterior cingulate, and prefrontal cortex--have also been consistently implicated in both disorders."

One of the criteria used to diagnose OCD is how aware the patient is of the unreasonable or excessive nature of his/her obsessions and compulsions. Delusional thinking is often associated with a lack of insight in to such things. Those who have both schizophrenia and OCD usually have a more severe functional impairment and other more severe effects of the illnesses.

The relationship between OCD and schizophrenia need to be further studied, but there is no denying that they have and intricate and complex relationship.

The source of this article is Jossey-Bass, an Imprint of Wiley Brown University Psychopharmacology Update, written there by Lawrence H. Price.

For more information on the link between schizophrenia and OCD go to: http://tinyurl.com/a2blg


Harry Stack Sullivan discovered a link between OCD and Schizophrenia many years ago.
Also, Frieda Fromm-Reichmann has written about the link between schizphrenia and creativity.

If a person is in an altered schizophrenic state, then the things in the above mentioned study which are measured and are the focus of attention of the study, may serve to diagnostically label such people in terms of the researcher's own limitations, and may completely ignore the overall personal potential and creativity of such people, which the process of psychoanalytic psychotherapy may offer some people who are suffering in this way.

Posted by: John Don at March 21, 2007 09:56 AM

I have had OCD my whole life. I have a ear problem right now and I am hearing things. Too much fluid in ear. Now I keep thinking I have schizornia. I am obsessed about it. The doctors all say no. Is this common to think you hear things.

Posted by: JoEllen at March 18, 2008 11:36 AM

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