Background: Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) symptoms within the
context of a bipolar disorder (BD) have been described since the 19th century. Interestingly,
the existence of a relevant overlap between the aforementioned psychiatric syndromes
has been confirmed by a number of recent epidemiological and family studies.
Aims: The aim of the present paper is to review the clinical features and the therapeutic
implications of the OCD-BD comorbidity.
Discussion: In the last two decades, the frequent association between OCD and BD has
been earning a growing interest given its relevant nosological and therapeutic implications.
Usually patients suffering from OCD-BD comorbidity show a peculiar clinical
course, characterized by a larger number of concomitant depressive episodes and episodic
course. In these cases, the treatment with antidepressants is more likely to elicit hypomanic
or manic switches, while mood stabilizers significantly improve the overall clinical
picture. Moreover, OCD-BD patients are frequently comorbid with a number of other
psychiatric disorders, in particular anxiety disorders, social phobia, and different substance
abuses, such as alcohol, nicotine, caffeine and sedatives.
Conclusions: BD-OCD comorbidity needs further investigations in order to provide more
solid evidences to give patients a more precise clinical diagnosis and a more targeted