Chapter 5. Obsessive-Compulsive Spectrum Disorders: A Review

  1. Mario Maj2,
  2. Norman Sartorius3,
  3. Ahmed Okasha4 and
  4. Joseph Zohar5
  1. Eric Hollander and
  2. Jennifer Rosen

Published Online: 28 NOV 2001

DOI: 10.1002/0470846496.ch5

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Volume 4

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Volume 4

How to Cite

Hollander, E. and Rosen, J. (2000) Obsessive-Compulsive Spectrum Disorders: A Review, in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Volume 4 (eds M. Maj, N. Sartorius, A. Okasha and J. Zohar), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/0470846496.ch5

Editor Information

  1. 2

    University of Naples, Italy

  2. 3

    University of Geneva, Switzerland

  3. 4

    Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt

  4. 5

    Tel Aviv University, Israel

Author Information

  1. Department of Psychiatry, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 28 NOV 2001
  2. Published Print: 16 JUN 2000

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780471871637

Online ISBN: 9780470846490



  • obsessive-compulsive disorder;
  • spectrum disorders;
  • diagnosis


Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is characterized by obsessions (recurrent, intrusive and disturbing ideas, thoughts, impulses or images) as well as compulsions (repetitive behaviours performed according to certain rules or in a stereotyped fashion, designed to reduce discomfort). As our current understanding of OCD has grown, we have identified other disorders that may share features of OCD. Among these shared features are symptom profile, neurobiology, aetiology and treatment response. Recognizing these features that span across several disorders has led to the idea of an obsessive-compulsive spectrum of disorders (OCSD). Many of these disorders are quite devastating to afflicted individuals, their families and society as a whole. We discuss clinical approaches used to view the OCSDs and symptom overlap between the disorders. In particular, we focus on the impulse control disorders, somatoform disorders, and neurological disorders with repetitive behaviours. We also present studies on the effectiveness of serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SRIs) in treating these disorders.