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Obsessive–compulsive symptoms in schizophrenia: a review

  • Sandeep Grover (a1), Swapnajeet Sahoo (a1) and Indu Surendran (a1)



To review the available literature on obsessive–compulsive symptom (OCS)/obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) in patients with schizophrenia.


Electronic searches were carried out to locate studies reporting various aspects of OCS/OCD in patients with schizophrenia.


Available evidence suggests that prevalence of OCS/OCD in patients with schizophrenia is much higher than prevalence in general population and it is seen in all the stages of schizophrenia, starting from at risk mental state to chronic/stabilisation/deficit phases. Symptom profile of OCS/OCD in schizophrenia is similar to that seen in patients with OCD only. Presence of OCS/OCD is associated with higher severity of symptoms of schizophrenia and more negative outcome. At present there is very limited data on the efficacy/effectiveness of various pharmacological measures and psychological interventions, for management of OCS/OCD in patients with schizophrenia. There is some evidence pointing towards beneficial effect of certain antipsychotics, antidepressants and cognitive behaviour therapy. Management of OCS/OCD in patients with schizophrenia involves proper assessment. If the OCS/OCD is related to use of particular antipsychotic use, initial attempt must be made to reduce the dose of antipsychotics, however, if this is not effective, than addition of a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRIs) must be considered. If the OCS/OCD is not related to the use of antipsychotic medication, than depending up on the severity of psychotic symptoms, addition of SSRIs must be considered.


This review suggests that OCS/OCD is highly prevalent among patients with schizophrenia and there is limited good quality evidence to make any specific recommendations for management.


Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: Dr. Sandeep Grover, Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh 160 012, India. Tel: +91 172 275 6807; Fax: +91 172 2744401; +91 172 274 5078; E-mail:


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