OCD Increases Risk Of Death Two Fold, Study Shows

In Education

People with OCD frequently arrange their environments meticulously, experiencing heightened anxiety when disruptions occur. Research suggests a potential link between OCD and a lower quality of life, revealing an elevated risk of death, whether from natural or unnatural causes. This association raises concerns about the overall well-being of individuals coping with OCD.

Natural causes of death among OCD patients are manageable

Researchers emphasize that while natural causes of death among OCD patients are a concern, they are largely preventable. They advocate for enhanced surveillance, prevention, and early intervention strategies to significantly reduce the risk of fatal outcomes.

OCD is characterized by intrusive thoughts (obsessions) and repetitive behaviors (compulsions). Examples include excessive handwashing or frequent checking of the front door’s security. This prevalent psychiatric disorder affects approximately two percent of the global and US population, highlighting the importance of addressing its associated risks through proactive measures.

Non-communicable ailments and external factors leading to death, such as suicides and accidents, emerged as significant factors influencing the mortality risk among individuals with OCD. Researchers emphasize the imperative implementation of enhanced surveillance, early intervention and preventive measures to mitigate the likelihood of fatal consequences for individuals with OCD.

OCD associated with adverse health outcomes

Although OCD is associated with various adverse life outcomes, including academic underperformance, limited employment opportunities, alcohol and substance abuse disorders, and an elevated risk of mortality, previous research concentrating on OCD and specific reasons for death predominantly centered on non-natural causes (such as suicide). As a result, there is considerably less understanding about the connection between OCD and death from natural causes.

The study aimed to assess the risk of all-cause and cause-specific death in individuals with OCD compared to matched unaffected individuals from the general population and their unaffected siblings. Notably, the analysis utilized data from Swedish population registers, with a total of 61,378 people with OCD and 613,780 without OCD (matched 1:10) based on sex, birth year, and county of residence. The study also included a sibling group comprising 34,085 individuals with OCD and 47,874 without OCD.

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