INTRODUCTION: The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) has been a particular concern for the last two years, but the published evidence on the subject has remained contradictory and unclear thus far. This study was aimed to be a contribution to the research about the effects of COVID-19 fear and health anxiety on OCD symptoms.
METHODS: OCD patients who were admitted to the psychiatry outpatient clinic were evaluated with the Padua-Inventory-Washington-State-University-Revision (PI-WSUR), The Fear of COVID-19 Scale and Health Anxiety Inventory (HAI) and the interview form prepared for this study.
RESULTS: Of the 54 patients diagnosed with OCD; 34 (62.9%) reported that their complaints had increased over the past year, PI-WSUR total scores and HAI total scores were found significantly related to the total scores of The Fear of COVID-19 Scale. The subscales of obsessive impulses to harm self/others and dressing/grooming compulsions from PI-WSUR were found significantly related to both HAI total scores and The Fear of COVID-19 Scale total scores. However, the subscale of contamination obsessions and washing compulsions was not found significantly related to either HAI total scores or The Fear of COVID-19 Scale total scores.
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION: This study shows that the pandemic period negatively affected a significant population of OCD patients and that there is a significant relationship between the severity of OCD symptoms and health anxiety/COVID-19-related fear. Our study also indicates that COVID-19-related stress does not necessarily cause symptoms of contamination but rather shows specific symptoms based on the themes of OCD itself in one patient.