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Curr Med Chem. 2018;25(41):5698-5711. doi: 10.2174/0929867325666180104150854.

Is There A Role For Lifestyle Interventions In Obsessive-Compulsive And Related Disorders?

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Obsessive, Compulsive, and Anxiety Spectrum Research Program. Institute of Psychiatry, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
D'Or Institute for Research and Education, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Brain & Mental Health Laboratory, Monash Institute of Cognitive and Clinical Neurosciences and School of Psychological Sciences, Monash University, Victoria, Australia.


Many of the currently available treatments for obsessive-compulsive and related disorders (OCRDs) such as pharmacotherapy augmentation strategies, partial hospitalization programs, deep brain stimulation, and neurosurgery are efficacious for individuals suffering from more severe forms of these conditions. Unfortunately, the application of these treatments in milder forms of illness and subclinical samples, which affect a substantial portion of the population, is not justifiable by their costs (e.g. cognitivebehavioral therapy) and/or potential for side effects (serotonin-reuptake inhibitors associated sexual side effects). As such, there is an urgent need to develop simple yet effective treatments, such as modifiable lifestyle interventions, that can be employed on a broader scale. Here, we review the current state of evidence that supports or refutes the efficacy of lifestyle approaches for OCRDs. We focus on dimensions of lifestyle that are deemed important for cardiovascular diseases; namely, physical activity, stress, sleep, diet and eating behaviors, alcohol consumption, and smoking. Despite the relative scarcity of welldesigned randomized controlled trials targeting unhealthy life styles in OCRDs, we found meditation-based therapies and interventions focusing on eliminating sedentarism to be promising approaches. In the future, these strategies may represent valid alternative for subjects with subthreshold symptoms or at risk for OCRDs or other "compulsive" disorders.


Obsessive-compulsive and related disorders; alcohol use; diet; lifestyle; physical activity; smoking; stress.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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