Tourette's syndrome, trichotillomania, and obsessive-compulsive disorder: How closely are they related?

Ygor Arzeno Ferrão, Euripedes Miguel, Dan Joseph Stein

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


The question of whether Tourette's syndrome (TS) and trichotillomania (TTM) are best conceptualized as obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorders was raised by family studies demonstrating a close relationship between TS and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and by psychopharmacological research indicating that both TTM and OCD respond more robustly to clomipramine than to desipramine. A range of studies have subsequently allowed comparison of the phenomenology, psychobiology, and management of TS and TTM, with that of OCD. Here we briefly review this literature. The data indicate that there is significant psychobiological overlap between TS and OCD, supporting the idea that TS can be conceptualized as an OCD spectrum disorder. TTM and OCD have only partial overlap in their phenomenology and psychobiology, but there are a number of reasons for why it may be useful to classify TTM and other habit disorders as part of the obsessive-compulsive spectrum of disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-42
Number of pages11
JournalPsychiatry Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 30 Nov 2009


  • Habits
  • Impulse control disorders
  • Obsessive-compulsive behavior
  • Tic disorders


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