Living in less sunny areas may increase OCD risk

Washington: Living in less sunny areas? It could lead to OCD.

According to a new research from Binghamton University, State University of New York, living at higher latitudes, where there is also less sunlight, could result in a higher prevalence rate of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

Professor of psychology at Binghamton University, Meredith Coles, said, “The results of this project are exciting because they provide additional evidence for a new way of thinking about OCD.”

To compile data, Coles and her research team read through many papers that addressed OCD prevalence rates in certain places and then recorded the latitudes of each location.

Individuals with OCD commonly reported not being able to fall asleep until later than desired. Often they slept very late in order to compensate for that lost sleep, thus adopting a delayed sleep-wake pattern that had adverse effects on their symptoms.

“This delayed sleep-wake pattern may reduce exposure to morning light, thereby potentially contributing to a misalignment between our internal biology and the external light-dark cycle,” Coles added.

This misalignment is more prevalent at higher latitudes areas where there is reduced exposure to sunlight which places people living in these locations at an increased risk for the development and worsening of OCD symptoms.

Additionally, the team of researchers hopes that further study exploring exposure to morning light could help develop new treatment recommendations that would benefit individuals with OCD.

The full findings are present in the Journal of Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders.