Despite generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) being one of the most prevalent comorbidities in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), few studies have researched its impact on the OCD phenotype. The present study investigated how the sociodemographic and clinical profile of people with OCD with comorbid GAD differs from people with OCD without comorbid GAD. We hypothesised that the phenotype of the comorbid group would be closely related to GAD, in that it would more likely be female, have an earlier age at onset of OCD, and show an increased severity of fear-related OCD symptoms (aggressive, sexual/religious, and contamination dimensions), more avoidant behaviours, greater suicidality, more severe anxiety symptoms, and increased rates of comorbid anxiety and mood disorders. The study included 867 participants with OCD, with GAD being comorbid in 33.56%. Mann-Whitney U tests, chi-square tests with continuity correction, and logistic regressions were performed. Results showed that comorbid GAD was uniquely associated with an increased number of avoidant behaviours, greater anxiety severity, panic disorder without agoraphobia, social phobia, specific phobia, and type II bipolar disorder. These results illustrate the clinical severity associated with this comorbidity and highlight markers that can aid diagnosis of GAD in OCD. Future studies should investigate whether this comorbidity has an impact on the treatment of OCD.
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder