Depression and Obsession: Explore the Link Between Depression and OCD

, ,
depression and obsession

Anyone who lives with OCD is not surprised to learn that co-occurring depression is quite common. On its own, OCD is a very difficult mental health condition to live with. Every day, a huge amount of energy is spent trying to manage the thought obsessions with compulsive actions. Having OCD can cause the person to withdraw due to the compulsions, and become isolated, which could spark depression. Read on to learn more about the link between depression and obsessions.

Learn About OCD

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder with two distinct features: obsessive thoughts and compulsive actions. For example, the person with OCD may obsess about germs. He or she may become very focused on avoiding what they perceive to be harmful germs. To offset the fear, they spend huge amounts of time each day washing their hands.

Here are some common symptoms of OCD:


  • Intense fear of germs or contamination.
  • A need to have things arranged in a certain order, a need for symmetry.
  • Aggressive thoughts or urges.
  • Being highly attuned to bodily functions.
  • Worries about getting hurt or of loved ones getting hurt.
  • Having a fixation on taboo subjects, usually sexual or violent in nature.


  • Excessive cleaning, and repetitive hand washing.
  • Fear of touching doorknobs or of handling items touched by others. Avoids physical touch
  • Arranging items in a precise way and becoming very upset when anyone changes the arrangement.
  • Fearing the loss of items or paperwork that can lead to hoarding.
  • Checking things over and over, such as whether the lights or oven are turned off.
  • Compulsive counting and ordering.
  • Performing tasks in one particular order.

Learn About Depression

About 21 million U.S. adults struggle with a depressive episode in any given year. Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a mood disorder that features some or all of the following symptoms lasting more than two weeks:

  • Persistent low mood, despair, feeling hopeless.
  • Changes in eating habits.
  • Changes in sleep patterns.
  • Trouble making decisions.
  • Slowed or agitated thoughts and movements.
  • Feelings of low self-worth, guilt, or shame.
  • Loss of interest in life.
  • Fatigue
  • Thoughts of suicide or death.

Depression and Obsession a Common Dual Diagnosis

Of all the mental health disorders, OCD co-occurs most with depression. In fact, about 50% of those with OCD also diagnosed depression. Studies have shown that people with OCD and co-occurring depression state their OCD occurred first, before the depression.

Having both depression and OCD does make treatment more complex. Some of the treatments prescribed for OCD are not appropriate for those with depression. The mental health expert involved in your care must toggle the line between treatments that work for each disorder.

We Can Help! Call Now!

How OCD May Cause Depression

The fear caused by the obsessive thoughts and the compulsions that follow can make OCD actually disabling. Living with OCD puts great stress on relationships, careers, and living life in general. It isn’t hard to see why the distress OCD causes in daily life might lead to depression.

A recent study delved into these co-occurring disorders and found that the depression emerged as a result of the OCD. The urges and compulsions caused by the OCD diminished the quality of life, which takes its toll on mental health.

Treatment Solutions for Depression and Obsession

As mentioned above, a dual diagnosis of OCD and depression complicates the treatment picture. Here are some treatment methods that have helped people with OCD, and also some OCD/depression:

  • Antidepressants. SSRIs are the first line of treatment for depression. It is often necessary to get the depression symptoms under control before starting to work on the OCD. These drugs also help relieve some symptoms of OCD.
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. CBT is very effective in helping people who battle depression. This therapy helps patients note which thoughts invoke or fuel the depressive symptoms or actions. Once these are identified, the therapist guides them to create new thought patterns.
  • Exposure and Response Therapy for Intrusive Thoughts. One treatment method that helps OCD is called exposure and response prevention (ERP). ERP is a form of CBT where the patient is slowly exposed to the obsessive thoughts. By stating the thoughts out loud to the therapist, much of the power of the thoughts is reduced.
  • Habit Reversal Training. This therapy is focused on the compulsive actions that follow the obsessions. The person is asked to practice the ritual in the mirror. This makes them more aware of the muscle or body sensation associated with it. Thus, they become more aware of noting when the urge develops, and then blocks it with a competing response.
  • Cognitive Therapy. With this type of therapy, the patient trains the mind to focus on the experience of the negative thought. This prompts them to relate to the thought in a new way. In changing the way the thought is perceived, from negative to neutral, they can also change their response to it.

Residential Treatment Program Designed Helps Depression and Obsession

OCD is a challenging mental health disorder that can harm many areas of your life. Combine OCD with depression, and the effects could be disabling. When struggling with this dual diagnosis, why not enroll in a residential mental health program for a more intensive treatment approach?

Where outpatient treatment is suited for someone with mild OCD or mild depression, it doesn’t offer the scope of treatment needed for a dual diagnosis. Residential treatment offers a chance to focus only on your mental health with no distractions. This small, intimate treatment setting provides customized treatment plans and a high level of personalized care. The programs feature:

  • Psychotherapy.
  • Group therapy.
  • Family therapy.
  • Holistic treatment.
  • Experiential activities.
  • Exercise
  • Nutrition

If you suffer from OCD and are depressed, consider taking the first step toward better functioning and improved wellness. Seek residential mental health treatment today.

Elevation Behavioral Health Residential Mental Health Treatment

Elevation Behavioral Health offers the perfect setting for getting a handle on depression and obsession. Our caring team is dedicated to treatment solutions that will improve your quality of life. For questions about our private residential program, please reach out today at (888) 561-0868.