Major Depressive Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Do the Sexual Dysfunctions Differ?

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Objective: Major depressive disorder (MDD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) are known to have significant impact on sexual functioning. They have been studied individually. Therefore, this study was planned to compare the sexual dysfunction between MDD, OCD, and GAD with healthy subjects as controls.

Method: Four groups (MDD, OCD, GAD, and healthy subjects), matched for age, gender, marital status, and education status were identified by using the Psychiatric Diagnostic Screening Questionnaire. Subjects in these groups were assessed for absence of any major physical and psychiatric disorders. MDD, OCD, and GAD were rated for severity of illness by using the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression, Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale, and Hamilton Rating Scale for Anxiety, respectively. Subjects were evaluated with the Arizona Sexual Experiences Scale for sexual dysfunction, which was defined as either a score of >= 5 on any item or a total score of >= 17. Suitable statistical analysis was used to interpret the results. The study was conducted from May 2006 through July 2007.

Results: Fifty patients in each group were selected. The rate of sexual dysfunction was 30% in healthy controls, 76% in MDD subjects, 50% in OCD subjects, and 64% in GAD subjects. Low desire was the most commonly reported dysfunction among all the categories (p < .001). No particular dysfunction was associated with the 4 categories under study. Severity of illness did not correlate with the severity of sexual dysfunction.

Conclusions: Persons with MDD have more sexual dysfunction than those with OCD and GAD. These disorders had a pervasive affect on sexual functioning of the individuals.

Prim Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry 2008;10(4):299-305