Gender differences in obsessive-compulsive disorder: a literature review

Department of Psychiatry, Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.
Revista Brasileira de Psiquiatria (Impact Factor: 1.64). 12/2011; 33(4):390-9. DOI: 10.1590/S1516-44462011000400014
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a heterogeneous condition, in which subtypes have been proposed. Previous studies suggested that gender plays a relevant role in OCD phenotypic expression. This study aimed to review the literature on gender differences in clinical, genetic or familial aspects of OCD.
A conventional review was conducted, including all papers that investigated demographic, clinical, and genetic aspects of OCD according to gender. The search was based on data available in Medline and PsycINFO databases in the last 20 years, using as keywords: obsessive-compulsive disorder; and: gender, sex, male, female, demographic characteristics, clinical features, clinical characteristics, genetic, genes, genetics gender OCD, genes OCD, genes OCD males, genes OCD females.
Sixty three of 487 phenotypical and genetics studies were selected. Most studies indicate that male patients are more likely than females to be single, present early onset of symptoms and chronic course of the disorder, greater social impairment, more sexual-religious and aggressive symptoms, and greater comorbidity with tic and substance use disorders. Female patients present more contamination/cleaning symptoms and greater comorbidity with eating and impulse-control disorders. Genetic and family studies are inconclusive, but suggest that gender may play a role in the disease expression.
Gender is a relevant factor that should be taken into account when evaluating OCD patients. More studies are necessary to determine whether in fact it defines a homogeneous and particular group in OCD.

Download full-text


Available from: Ana G Hounie, Jul 28, 2015
1 Follower
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In this cross-sectional study, we assessed the levels of neurotrophins (NF) of patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) in different stages of treatment and their relationship with OCD clinical features. Forty patients with OCD and 40 healthy controls had Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), Nerve Growth Factor (NGF), and Glial Cell-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (GNDF) plasma levels measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Patients with OCD were further examined with the Obsessive-Compulsive Inventory-Revised, the Beck Depression Inventory, the Beck Anxiety Inventory, and the Sheehan Disability Scale (SDS). Patients with OCD exhibited significantly lower levels of BDNF and significantly increased levels of NGF as compared to healthy controls. In OCD, statistically significant negative correlations between BDNF levels and number of working days lost per week were found. Additional analyses revealed a statistically significant positive correlation between both NGF and GDNF and severity of washing symptoms. Plasma levels of NF were not affected by age, age at OCD onset, gender, major depressive disorder, the relative dose of serotonin-reuptake inhibitors being prescribed, or the use of antipsychotics. Our findings suggest that patients with OCD may exhibit a particular NF profile, with functional impairment correlating with BDNF levels and severity of washing symptoms correlating with NGF and GDNF levels.
    Psychiatry Research 04/2012; 199(3). DOI:10.1016/j.psychres.2012.03.034 · 2.68 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: There is a need to synthesize the growing body of literature on the pharmacotherapeutic management of patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder for clinicians working at a primary care level. We have aimed to generate a simple, easy-to-follow algorithm for the primary care practitioner. This seven-step algorithm addresses diagnosis of obsessive-compulsive disorder, initiation of pharmacotherapy, monitoring and maintenance treatment, and guidelines for the management of patients who are resistant to initial therapy. In creating this algorithm, we have drawn on the body of published evidence, as well as on expert opinion.
    Current Psychiatry Reports 04/2012; 14(3):211-9. DOI:10.1007/s11920-012-0268-9 · 3.05 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Adverse, unfavourable life conditions, particularly during early life stages and infancy, can lead to epigenetic regulation of genes involved in stress-response, behavioral disinhibition, and cognitive-emotional systems. Over time, the ultimate final outcome can be expressed through behaviors bedeviled by problems with impulse control, such as eating disorders, alcoholism, and indiscriminate social behavior. While many reward gene polymorphisms are involved in impulsive behaviors, a polymorphism by itself may not translate to the development of a particular behavioral disorder unless it is impacted by epigenetic effects. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) affects the development and integrity of the noradrenergic, dopaminergic, serotonergic, glutamatergic, and cholinergic neurotransmitter systems, and plasma levels of the neurotrophin are associated with both cognitive and aggressive impulsiveness. Epigenetic mechanisms associated with a multitude of environmental factors, including premature birth, low birth weight, prenatal tobacco exposure, non-intact family, young maternal age at birth of the target child, paternal history of antisocial behavior, and maternal depression, alter the developmental trajectories for several neuropsychiatric disorders. These mechanisms affect brain development and integrity at several levels that determine structure and function in resolving the final behavioral expressions.
    05/2012; 3(3):1000115. DOI:10.4172/2157-7412.1000115
Show more