Impulse control disorders in adults with obsessive compulsive disorder

Jon E. Grant, Maria C. Mancebo, Anthony Pinto, Jane L. Eisen, Steven A. Rasmussen

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Little is known about impulse control disorders (ICDs) in individuals with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Although studies have examined ICD comorbidity in OCD, no previous studies have examined clinical correlates of ICD comorbidity in a large sample of individuals with a primary diagnosis of OCD. We examined rates and clinical correlates of comorbid ICDs in 293 consecutive subjects with lifetime DSM-IV OCD (56.8% females; mean age = 40.6 ± 12.9 years). Comorbidity data were obtained with the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV. ICDs were diagnosed with structured clinical interviews using DSM-IV criteria. OCD severity was assessed with the Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale. Quality of life and social/occupational functioning were examined using the Quality of Life Enjoyment and Satisfaction Questionnaire and the Social and Occupational Functioning Assessment Scale. All variables were compared in OCD subjects with and without lifetime and current ICDs. Forty-eight (16.4%) OCD subjects had a lifetime ICD, and 34 (11.6%) had a current ICD. Skin picking was the most common lifetime (10.4%) and current (7.8%) ICD, followed by nail biting with lifetime and current rates of 4.8% and 2.4%, respectively. OCD subjects with current ICDs had significantly worse OCD symptoms and poorer functioning and quality of life. These preliminary results suggest that there is a low prevalence of ICDs among individuals with OCD, although certain ICDs (skin picking) appear to be more common.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)494-501
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Psychiatric Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Comorbidity
  • Impulse control disorders
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder
  • Prevalence


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