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OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) - Quality of Life

Abstract: What is the quality of life for patients with OCD?

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OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) - Quality of Life

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Question(s): 
Written by: Martin Winkler
First version: 22 Jul 2008.
Latest revision: Sep 2012.

How is the quality of life affected for people with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) ?

Answer:

Any anxiety disorder can have a major impact on the quality of life for the patient and his family. OCD (Obsessive-compulsive disorder) is often not well known to the public and patients try to hide their problem even to close friends of their family. And they do not know about the options for appropriate treatment.

One recent Canadian study investigated the quality of life in OCD. This study showed that individuals with OCD were mainly affected by the severity of obsessive thoughts rather than by compulsive rituals. Co-occurrence of depression was the most important predictor for poor quality of life.

Maybe the enviroment (family or friends) are more concerned by the occurrence of compulsive behaviour (and this might interfere with normal living!), but for the OCD patient this might be less stressing (at least compared to the obsessive thoughts).

Any treatment should also consider a secondary or simultaneous depressive disorder. The pharmacotherapy option with serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRI) is a very good choice for most patients with ocd because it has a positive effect on symptoms of ocd and depression. Additional cognitive behavioural therapy (exposure and response prevention) can achieve better results if this comorbidity is considered.

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