Overlap of obsessive and posttraumatic symptoms: A systematic review

José Carlos Medina Rodríguez, Elia Mireya Solís Villegas

DOI: https://doi.org/10.17711/SM.0185-3325.2022.018


Background. Current medical literature suggests a symptomatic overlap between posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), which makes understanding their impact on the treatment process a challenging undertaking.

Objective. The key aim of this work was to deliver a comprehensive overview of empirical and observational studies concerning the overlap between both psychopathologies.

Method. Two independent authors searched PubMed, PsycINFO, and Web of Science databases between April and July 2020 utilizing relevant MeSH terms. Subsequently, a systematic scoping review was undertaken according to the PRISMA-ScR Statement to identify all relevant publications concerning the overlap of OCD and PTSD symptomatology. We included peer reviewed studies published in any language that contributed quantitative or qualitative data that addressed the relationship between OCD and PTSD symptoms as the main aim or outcome of the study. Non-peer-reviewed articles, studies that did not address this phenomenon of interest, and gray literature documents were excluded. This review was not registered into the International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews, since, according to the National Institute of Health Research, scoping reviews are ineligible for registration into PROSPERO.

Results. Twenty-five relevant studies were included (11 cross-sectional studies, 5 longitudinal-prospective studies, 4 case series, 4 case studies and 1 retrospective study). We did not conduct any statistical analysis due to the diversity of the included studies, thus proceeding to realize a thematic synthesis of the obtained data.

Discussion and conclusion. A symptomatic overlap exists between both comorbidities in some clinical populations, and this relationship may hamper treatment outcomes.


Humans; comorbidity; obsessive compulsive disorder; post-traumatic stress disorder

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