Depression and risk of suicide in patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder: A hospital-based study

Ind Psychiatry J. 2016 Jul-Dec;25(2):166-170. doi: 10.4103/ipj.ipj_63_16.


Background: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a chronic, distressing, anxiety disorder associated with significant functional impairment. Patient with OCD often suffer from one or more co-morbid disorders. Major depression has been the most common co-morbid syndrome. Comorbid Axis I disorders along with increased severity of comorbid depressive and anxiety symptoms, increased severity of obsessions, feelings of hopelessness and past history of suicide attempts have been associated with worsening levels of suicidality in OCD (Angelakis I, Gooding P., 2015). As per data Thirty-six percent of the patients of OCD report lifetime suicidal thoughts and 11% have a history of attempted suicide(Torres AR, Ramos-Cerqueira AT, et al, 2011). There is a reasonable probability that the patient of OCD have suicidal thoughts, plans or actually attempt suicide.

Aim: To assess depression and suicidality in OCD patients.

Method: This study was conducted on 50 patients diagnosed with OCD as per ICD 10 criteria, both outpatient & indoor, from department of psychiatry, Dayanand Medical College & Hospital, Ludhiana, Punjab, India. A socio-demographic proforma (containing demographic details), Hamilton Depression Rating & Scale, Columbia suicide severity rating scale (CSSRS) & Yale Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale Symptom Checklist (YBOCS) were administered.

Results: Mild depression was found out to be 40% whereas 16% were suffering from moderate depression and 10% and 14% had severe and very severe depression respectively. Suicidal ideation was found in 52 % of patients.16% of patients had history of actual attempt. Data showed that 70% of females had suicidal ideations. It was also found that in cases of severe and very severe depression associated with OCD all the patients had suicidal ideations as compared to 35% in mild and 87.5% in moderate depressive patients. It was found that 40% of severe depressive and 28.57% of very severe depressive patients had attempted suicide one or more times during the course of illness. Also suicidality was found to be maximum in those with symptoms of cleanliness and contamination (57%) followed by religious obsessions (45%), sexual obsessions (33%), repeated rituals (31%) and other obsessions like need to touch, ask (26%) respectively.

Conclusion: OCD is associated with high risk not only depression but also of suicidal behavior. It is vital that patients of OCD undergo detailed assessment for suicide risk and associated depression. Aggressive treatment of depression may be warranted to modify the risk of suicide. Behavioral and cognitive techniques along with pharmacotherapy should be used to target co-existing depressive symptoms so as to decrease morbidity and mortality.

Keywords: Depression; Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD); Suicidality.