Sensory Phenomena in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and Tourette's Disorder
J Clin Psychiatry 2000;61(2):150-156
© Copyright 2014 Physicians Postgraduate Press, Inc.
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Background: Recent studies have suggested that
obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a heterogeneous disorder
with some forms related to tics and Tourette's disorder. The
present study was undertaken to investigate the sensory phenomena
in patients with OCD and/or Tourette's disorder to determine if
these phenotypic features represent valid clinical indices for
differentiating tic-related OCD from non-tic-related OCD.
Method: We evaluated 20 adult outpatients with
OCD, 20 with OCD plus Tourette's disorder, and 21 with Tourette's
disorder, using a semistructured interview designed to assess
several definitions of sensory phenomena reported in the
literature. DSM-III-R criteria were used for the OCD and
Tourette's disorder diagnoses.
Results: Sensory phenomena including bodily
sensations, mental urges, and a sense of inner tension were
significantly more frequent in the 2 Tourette's disorder groups
when compared with the OCD alone group. Feelings of
incompleteness and a need for things to be "just right"
were reported more frequently in the OCD plus Tourette's disorder
group compared with the other 2 groups.
Conclusion: Sensory phenomena may be an
important phenotypic measure for grouping patients along the
OCD-Tourette's disorder spectrum. Sensory phenomena include
bodily and mental sensations. Bodily sensations include focal or
generalized body sensations (usually tactile,
muscular-skeletal/visceral, or both) occurring either before or
during the patient's performance of the repetitive behaviors.
These sensations are more frequently found in patients with OCD
plus Tourette's disorder than in patients with OCD alone. Mental
sensations include urge only, energy release (mental energy that
builds up and needs to be discharged), incompleteness, and
just-right perceptions. They are all more frequently found in
patients with OCD plus Tourette's disorder than in patients with