Circadian Rhythms in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: Recent Findings and Recommendations for Future Research
Purpose of Review
Circadian rhythms are a topic of growing interest in mental health, particularly in obsessive-compulsive disorder. However, the consistency of this link has not been carefully examined. Thus, the present review integrates findings from the past 5 years in order to determine the strength of such a relationship and identify areas for clarification and extension.
Findings revealed inconsistent evidence for a link between circadian rhythms and OCD. Chronotype is unrelated to OCD symptoms in adolescents but predicts OCD symptoms in adults. Results on delayed sleep timing are equivocal. Circadian rhythm disorders predict OCD treatment outcome. Preliminary evidence implicates decreased light exposure and diurnal symptom variability in OCD.
The relationship between circadian rhythms and OCD may vary by age, diagnostic status, and assessment method. Recent findings are limited by an overreliance on convenience samples and singular self-report methods. Recommendations for future research on the role of circadian rhythms in OCD are discussed.
KeywordsObsessive-compulsive disorder OCD Circadian rhythms Chronotype Eveningness Sleep timing
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent
This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.
Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance
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