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Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2005 Feb;255(1):65-71.

Obsessive-compulsive syndromes and disorders: significance of comorbidity with bipolar and anxiety syndromes.

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  • 1Zurich University Psychiatric Hospital, Lenggstrasse 31, P. O. Box 68, 8029 Zurich, Switzerland.



To determine the prevalence and clinical characteristics of comorbid obsessive compulsive disorders and syndromes (OCD/OCS), compared with pure OCD/OCS among adults in the community.


Data were drawn from the Zurich Study, a longitudinal cohort study of 591 adults in the canton of Zurich. Comorbid OCD/OCS was compared with pure OCD/OCS groups in terms of distress, impairment, family history, suicide behavior and treatment using multivariable logistic regression analyses.


OCD was significantly comorbid with bipolar I/II and minor bipolar disorders, anxiety states (GAD, repeated panic attacks) and social phobia, whereas there was no clear association between OCD and major depressive disorder or phobias other than social phobia. Results suggest that comorbid OCD/OCS is common among adults in the community, with the majority of those with OCD/OCS having at least one comorbid mood or anxiety disorder with a prevalence of 7.4% compared to 4.8% of remaining OCD/OCS. Comorbidity of OCD/OCS and anxiety states was more common among women (85.6 %) and comorbidity with bipolar spectrum was more common among men (69.6%). Comorbid OCD/OCS was associated with significantly higher levels of treatment seeking, impairment,distress and suicidality compared with pure OCD/OCS. Comorbidity with bipolar disorders significantly increased the risk for alcohol abuse/dependence.


Comorbidity of OCD/OCS with bipolar disorder and bipolar spectrum disorders is common and very probably explains the association between OCD and depression found in other studies. The early recognition of bipolar/cyclothymic OCD/OCS may help to prevent the abuse of/dependence on alcohol.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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