Obsessive-compulsive-disorder (OCD) is currently listed under anxiety disorders in the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV). However, the upcoming revised edition of the DSM proposes removing OCD from this category and listing it under the heading of related OCD conditions, which include body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), tic disorders, eating disorders, alcohol and drug dependence, trichotillomania, obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD), and other impulse disorders, such as kleptomania. This is of great concern to many mental health experts who believe that OCD is a genetically inherent in individuals with a family history of anxiety. To provide further evidence of this, O. J. Bienvenu of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at John Hopkins University School of Medicine in Maryland conducted a study that examined the comorbidity and genetic relationship between many of these conditions, OCD, and anxiety.
For the study, Bienvenu gathered data from two existing OCD research projects, the John Hopkins OCD Family Study (JHOFS) and the OCD Collaborate Genetics Study (OCD). The two studies provided family history and comorbidity on more than 450 individuals over a period of 10 years. After reviewing the data, Bienvenu discovered that anxiety, personality, depressive or obsessive-compulsive disorders were more likely to be present in participants who had OCD or had an immediate family member with OCD. Specifically, the findings revealed that generalized anxiety, agoraphobia, OCPD, tic disorders, BDD, and grooming disorders were comorbid in most of the participants with a family or personal history of OCD. However, eating disorders, impulse control issues, and alcohol or drug dependence were not common in this group of participants. Bienvenu believes the evidence from this study underscores the concerns raised by mental health professionals with regard to the upcoming DSM-5. Bienvenu added, “Since anxiety disorders are highly comorbid with OCD, and they appear to share familial influences with OCD, we feel it would be erroneous to remove OCD from the anxiety disorders section in DSM-5.”
Bienvenu, O. J., Samuels, J. F., Wuyek, L. A., Liang, K.-Y., Grados, M. A., Cullen, B. A., Riddle, M. A., Greenberg, B. D., Rasmussen, S. A., Fyer, A. J., Pinto, A., Rauch, S. L., Pauls, D. L., McCracken, T. J., Piacentini, J., Murphy, D. L., Knowles, J. A., Nestadt, G. Is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder an Anxiety Disorder, and What, If Any, Are Spectrum Conditions? A Family Study Perspective. Psychological Medicine 42.1 (2012): 1-13. Print.
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