Living with OCD and Depression

Managing a dual diagnosis of OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) and depression can be challenging. You are already managing your obsessions and compulsions but must also deal with feelings associated with depression. Living with OCD and depression can often be overwhelming.

What Is OCD?

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a mental illness that can have debilitating symptoms that prevent sufferers from functioning normally. While OCD has traditionally been categorized as an anxiety disorder, recently the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth Edition (DSM-5) created an entirely separate mental disorder category for OCD and OCD-related illnesses. Although OCD is a is chronic condition, there are a variety of treatments that have been found to be successful in alleviating OCD symptoms and underlying issues.

OCD is a disorder that causes the sufferer to have obsessive and unwanted thoughts and/or repetitive behaviors. Obsessive thoughts may cause the person to feel a great amount of anxiety or cause them to develop compulsions. Compulsions are the behaviors which people with OCD may perform to alleviate their anxiety-inducing thoughts. These behaviors often impede a person’s ability to live their everyday life – for instance, they might obsessively wash their hands or perform other rituals to an extreme. The most common way to treat OCD is with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and medications. However, these common treatments are not effective for everyone. TMS therapy is a safe and effective option for those suffering with OCD symptoms even when conventional treatments have not provided symptom relief.

What Is Depression?

Depression is a mood disorder characterized by a loss of interest in daily routines, activities, and events the person previously found enjoyment and pleasure doing. Feelings of sadness and helplessness also accompany depression. Some people isolate themselves away from family and friends or have little will or desire to do anything at all. 

Both OCD and depression can have negative impacts on one’s personal and social life. They can affect one’s ability to attend school, work, socialize, and participate in various events. 

How Are OCD and Depression Linked?

Research has shown that about 33% of people diagnosed with OCD will experience some form of depression at some point in their life. Additionally, approximately two-thirds of people with OCD will experience at least one major depressive episode during their lifetime. However, the link between OCD and depression is a one-way link. If you are diagnosed with OCD, you may probably experience some type of depression. Conversely, if you are diagnosed with depression, you are very unlikely to develop OCD. 

Furthermore, there can be biochemical factors that cause someone with OCD to develop depression. Both disorders change and later the production of chemicals in the brain, namely serotonin. 

These biochemical factors result in behavioral changes as well. Some of the associated behavioral changes found with OCD can lead to depression because OCD enhances the biochemical imbalance in the brain. 

Research has also shown that people with OCD who have negative or disturbing obsessions are more likely to be living with OCD and depression. Often, depression appears in this group than from the compulsive behaviors people cannot control. These negative or disturbing obsessions could include:

  • Worry about harming others.
  • Fear of losing control.
  • Anxious about peaking one’s mind using profanity or obscene gestures.
  • Having perverse or obsessive sexual thoughts that involve children, rape, incest, aggression, etc. 
  • Fear of doing things that are wrong morally or socially.

Another link between OCD and depression can be the stress of managing one’s obsessions and compulsions. So, being diagnosed with OCD and the stress of learning how to live productively with it, can be a risk factor that could lead to depression. 

Living with OCD and Depression 

It is possible to live a productive life when you have a dual diagnosis of OCD and depression. Both disorders are treatable and full remission is possible. If you have been diagnosed with OCD, or OCD and depression, there are many treatments that can help. At Neuro Wellness Spa in Southern California, we provide comprehensive psychiatric care and innovative treatments to help you manage your OCD and depression. Please feel free to contact us if you have further questions about OCD or depression or would like to schedule a consultation today. This is mental health care, reimagined.

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