Obsessive-compulsive spectrum and disorders of the skin

Jon E. Grant, Brian L. Odlaug

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Several disorders may be related to obsessive-compulsive disorder based on available data concerning their clinical characteristics, which have been described as constituting the obsessive-compulsive spectrum. Within the obsessive-compulsive spectrum, two disorders are often characterized by a focus on the skin: pathologic skin picking and body dysmorphic disorder. Although sharing several phenomenological similarities, treatments may differ between these disorders. Pathologic skin picking may respond to psychological treatment and serotonergic or possibly glutamatergic agents, whereas body dysmorphic disorder appears to respond well to serotonergic medications and cognitive-behavioral therapy. This review focuses on what is currently known about the clinical presentation, possible etiology and treatment of these disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)523-532
Number of pages10
JournalExpert Review of Dermatology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported in part by a Career Development Award by the National Institute of Mental Health (K23 MH069754-01A1) (Jon Grant). Jon Grant has received research grants from Forest Pharmaceuticals and GlaxoSmithKline. The authors have no other relevant affiliations or financial involvement with any organization or entity with a financial interest in or financial conflict with the subject matter or materials discussed in the manuscript apart from those disclosed.

Copyright 2009 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Body dysmorphic disorder
  • Comorbidity
  • Excoriation
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive spectrum
  • Pathological skin picking
  • Skin


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