Obsessive-compulsive disorder and gut microbiota dysregulation.
Med Hypotheses. 2014 Feb ;82(2):163-6. Epub 2013 Dec 1. PMID: 24332563
Jon C Rees
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a debilitating disorder for which the cause is not known and treatment options are modestly beneficial. A hypothesis is presented wherein the root cause of OCD is proposed to be a dysfunction of the gut microbiome constituency resulting in a susceptibility to obsessional thinking. Both stress and antibiotics are proposed as mechanisms by which gut microbiota are altered preceding the onset of OCD symptomology. In this light, pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcal infections (PANDAS) leading to episodic OCD is explained not by group A beta-hemolytic streptococcal infections, but rather by prophylactic antibiotics that are administered as treatment. Further, stressful life events known to trigger OCD, such as pregnancy, are recast to show the possibility of altering gut microbiota prior to onset of OCD symptoms. Suggested treatment for OCD would be the directed, specie-specific (re)introduction of beneficial bacteria modifying the gut microbiome, thereby ameliorating OCD symptoms. Special considerations should be contemplated when considering efficacy of treatment, particularly the unhealthy coping strategies often observed in patients with chronic OCD that may need addressing in conjunction with microbiome remediation.