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Behavioural addictions in obsessive compulsive disorder

Behavioural addictions in obsessive compulsive disorder – Prevalence and clinical correlates

Open Access: Yes



Behavioural addictions (BAs) share phenomenological overlap and neuropsychological similarities with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD); however, the relationship remains understudied. This study reports the prevalence of BAs in patients with OCD and healthyxcontrols (HCs). It compares the clinical characteristics including impulsivity traits among OCD subjects with and without BAs. A total of 150 OCD patients and 131 HCs were assessed using structured instruments for the following BAs  (Internet/Sex/Pornography/Mobile phone/Kleptomania/Compulsive buying/Pyromania/Gambling/Food/Exercise). Impulsivity was assessed using Barratt Impulsiveness Scale (BIS-11). Subjects: with OCD reported significantly higher prevalence of atleast one co-occurring BA compared to HC [OCD (70%); HC (58%), p < 0.036]. They also reported a significantly higher prevalence of Internet Addiction (29.3% vs 3.1%), pornographic addiction (12.7% vs 0%), and sex addiction (10% vs 1.5%). Though use of mobile phone use and food addiction were not significantly different when compared using the diagnostic criteria, subjects  with OCD reported significantly higher intensity of symptoms when comparison was made using severity scores. When OCD patients with and without BAs were compared, those with BAs were significantly male, with a lower age at onset and assessment. They had significantly higher total impulsivity scores, motor and attentional subscale scores on BIS. The two groups did not differ in symptom profile and comorbidities of OCD. To conclude, the co-occurrence of BAs among subjects with OCD is common. Additionally, OCD subjects with cooccurring BAs have certain specific demographic characteristics and higher impulsivity.



“OCD [obsessional-compulsive disorder] subjects had higher prevalence of internet, pornographic and sex addiction.”



Dev Rai, T. S. J., Narayanaswamy, J. C., Arumughan, S. S., & Reddy, Y. C. J. (2022).  Behavioural addictions in obsessive compulsive disorder – Prevalence and clinical correlates. Psychiatry Research Communications, 2(1), Article 100016.


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