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The temporal relationship between premonitory urges and covert compulsions in patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder

The temporal relationship between premonitory urges and covert compulsions in patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder
The temporal relationship between premonitory urges and covert compulsions in patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder
Recent studies in patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) have shown that many compulsions are associated with urges rather than obsessions. Premonitory urges are uncomfortable sensory feelings or a rising inner tension, often likened to the urge to scratch, yawn or blink. We studied premonitory urges preceding mental compulsions in 19 patients with OCD and preceding eye blinks in 16 healthy controls. Urge intensity was assessed continuously over 20 min using a real-time urge intensity monitor; compulsions and blinks were measured as discrete events in a free compulsion/blinking and a compulsion/blink suppression condition. Urge intensity showed an inverted U-shaped relationship (increase then decrease) around compulsions within a time-window of approximately 60 s in patients with OCD and within 13 s around blinks in healthy controls. Urge intensity was higher during compulsion / blink suppression and varied more independently of compulsion execution in patients with OCD. There is a close temporal relationship between premonitory sensations and compulsion execution that changes when compulsions are suppressed, indicating that urge intensity might drive the execution of and is then alleviated by compulsions. Suppression weakens the association between urge intensity and compulsion execution.
6-12
Brandt, Valerie
e41f5832-70e4-407d-8a15-85b861761656
Hermanns, Johanna
3053ca0a-faa8-4aaf-872c-3aa442d866c9
Beck, Christian
4f842587-4992-49fe-b61e-9ebbe2a3079c
Bäumer, Tobias
cbdb5485-b57f-4ec2-ab91-3abf58288d83
Zurowski, Bartosz
a7f5168c-3e76-4948-8f14-ef30e262e019
Münchau, Alexander
cd1e6ae3-a5d1-4c08-a9cb-228056c4e428
Brandt, Valerie
e41f5832-70e4-407d-8a15-85b861761656
Hermanns, Johanna
3053ca0a-faa8-4aaf-872c-3aa442d866c9
Beck, Christian
4f842587-4992-49fe-b61e-9ebbe2a3079c
Bäumer, Tobias
cbdb5485-b57f-4ec2-ab91-3abf58288d83
Zurowski, Bartosz
a7f5168c-3e76-4948-8f14-ef30e262e019
Münchau, Alexander
cd1e6ae3-a5d1-4c08-a9cb-228056c4e428

Brandt, Valerie, Hermanns, Johanna, Beck, Christian, Bäumer, Tobias, Zurowski, Bartosz and Münchau, Alexander (2018) The temporal relationship between premonitory urges and covert compulsions in patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder. Psychiatry Research, 262, 6-12. (doi:10.1016/j.psychres.2018.01.041).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Recent studies in patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) have shown that many compulsions are associated with urges rather than obsessions. Premonitory urges are uncomfortable sensory feelings or a rising inner tension, often likened to the urge to scratch, yawn or blink. We studied premonitory urges preceding mental compulsions in 19 patients with OCD and preceding eye blinks in 16 healthy controls. Urge intensity was assessed continuously over 20 min using a real-time urge intensity monitor; compulsions and blinks were measured as discrete events in a free compulsion/blinking and a compulsion/blink suppression condition. Urge intensity showed an inverted U-shaped relationship (increase then decrease) around compulsions within a time-window of approximately 60 s in patients with OCD and within 13 s around blinks in healthy controls. Urge intensity was higher during compulsion / blink suppression and varied more independently of compulsion execution in patients with OCD. There is a close temporal relationship between premonitory sensations and compulsion execution that changes when compulsions are suppressed, indicating that urge intensity might drive the execution of and is then alleviated by compulsions. Suppression weakens the association between urge intensity and compulsion execution.

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Accepted/In Press date: 16 January 2018
e-pub ahead of print date: 20 February 2018
Published date: April 2018

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Local EPrints ID: 417310
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/417310
PURE UUID: 7c8d80e6-bb82-4297-a88e-98dcc7ada15c

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Date deposited: 29 Jan 2018 17:30
Last modified: 22 Oct 2020 04:01

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Contributors

Author: Valerie Brandt
Author: Johanna Hermanns
Author: Christian Beck
Author: Tobias Bäumer
Author: Bartosz Zurowski
Author: Alexander Münchau

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