Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a prevalent, disabling, and comorbid condition that is frequently under-recognized and poorly treated. OCD phenotypes may differ in terms of clinical presentation and severity. However, few studies have investigated whether clinical phenotypes differ in terms of latency to treatment (ie, duration of untreated illness[DUI]), duration, and severity of illness. The present study was aimed to quantify the aforementioned variables in a sample of OCD patients.
One hundred fourteen outpatients with a Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR) diagnosis of OCD were recruited, and their main clinical features were collected. Severity of illness was assessed through the Yale–Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS), and the main phenotypes were identified through the Y-BOCS Symptom Checklist. A one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) test, followed by a Bonferroni post-hoc test, were performed to compare DUI, duration, and severity of illness across subgroups.
In the whole sample, the mean DUI exceeded 7 years (87.35±11.75 months), accounting for approximately half of the mean duration of illness (172.2±13.36 months). When subjects were categorized into 4 main clinical phenotypes, respectively, aggressive/checking (n=31), contamination/cleaning (n=37), symmetry/ordering (n=32), and multiple phenotypes (n=14), DUI, duration, and severity of illness resulted significantly higher in the aggressive/checking subgroup, compared to other subgroups (F=3.58, p<0.01; F=3.07, p<0.01; F=4.390, p<0.01).
In a sample of OCD patients, along with a mean latency to treatment of approximately 7 years, regardless of the phenotype, patients had spent half of their duration of illness (DI) without being treated. DUI, duration, and severity of illness resulted significantly higher in the aggressive/checking subgroup.