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OCD and Depression: What’s The Link?

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and depression have a complex and deep relationship. It may be possible to improve both your mental and physical health by learning why these two conditions frequently co-occur and, perhaps more importantly, how to approach treatment when you have both. Keep reading to learn some helpful facts.

Difference Between Anxiety and Depression – OCD and Depression

The fact that one term denotes a single sickness while the other denotes a collection of ailments is a significant distinction between anxiety and depression.

In reality, depression is one illness. There are numerous distinct symptoms (see below). And different people may experience it very differently. However, the term “depression” only refers to one illness.

The word “anxiety” can indicate a number of different things. We all experience anxiety occasionally, and the word “anxiety” can be used to describe that feeling simply. However, when we use the word anxiety in a medical context, it actually refers to anxiety disorder.

Some less frequent conditions are included under anxiety. These include panic disorders and phobias. However, generalized anxiety disorder is the most prevalent (GAD). In the US, a generalized anxiety disorder may affect four to five out of every 100 persons. In this post, we’ll concentrate on generalized anxiety.

What is Anxiety Disorder? OCD and Depression

According to The National Institute on Mental Health, periodic anxiety is a standard component of life. When faced with a challenge at work, before a test, or before making a crucial decision, you could experience anxiety. However, anxiety disorders involve more than just passing apprehension or terror.

Anxiety and depression difference: It’s critical to get anxiety treatment as soon as possible since, for someone with an anxiety condition, the anxiety does not go away and can worsen over time. The symptoms might affect daily tasks like work performance, academic progress, and interpersonal connections. Generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and various phobia-related disorders are only a few of the several types of anxiety disorders.

Anxiety and depression difference: People with a generalized Anxiety disorder (GAD) display excessive Anxiety or worry, most days for at least 6 months, about many things such as personal health, work, social interactions, and everyday routine life circumstances. Fear and Anxiety can cause significant problems in areas of their life, such as social interactions, school, and work. 

What is Depression? OCD and Depression

Depression (also known as Major Depressive Illness or Clinical Depression) is a common but significant mood disorder, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. It produces severe symptoms that interfere with your ability to function on a daily basis, including sleeping, eating, and working. The signs of depression must last for at least two weeks before a diagnosis may be made.

Depression treatment is required when depressive symptoms are chronic and do not go away since some types of depression are slightly different or may arise in unusual situations.

Types of Depression

  • Persistent depressive disorder (also called dysthymia): is a depressed mood that lasts for at least two years. A person diagnosed with persistent depressive disorder may have episodes of major Depression along with periods of less severe symptoms, but symptoms must last for two years to be considered a persistent depressive disorder.
  • Psychotic Depression: occurs when a person has severe depression plus some form of psychosis, such as having disturbing false fixed beliefs (delusions) or hearing or seeing upsetting things that others cannot hear or see (hallucinations). The psychotic symptoms typically have a depressive “theme,” such as delusions of guilt, poverty, or illness.
Depression (also known as Major Depressive Illness or Clinical Depression) is a common but significant mood disorder.
Depression (also known as Major Depressive Illness or Clinical Depression) is a common but significant mood disorder.
  • Bipolar disorder: is different from Depression, but it is included in this list because someone with bipolar disorder experiences episodes of extremely low moods that meet the criteria for major Depression (called “Bipolar Depression”). But a person with bipolar disorder also experiences extreme high – euphoric or irritable – moods called “mania” or a less severe form called “hypomania.”
  • Postpartum Depression: is much more serious than the “baby blues” (relatively mild depressive and anxiety symptoms that typically clear within two weeks after delivery) that many women experience after giving birth. Women with postpartum Depression experience full-blown major Depression during pregnancy or after delivery (postpartum depression). The feelings of extreme sadness, anxiety, and exhaustion that accompany postpartum depression may make it difficult for these new mothers to complete daily care activities for themselves and/or their babies.
  • Seasonal affective disorder: is characterized by the onset of Depression during the winter months, when there is less natural sunlight. This Depression generally lifts during spring and summer. Winter Depression, typically accompanied by social withdrawal, increased sleep, and weight gain, predictably returns every year in seasonal affective disorder.
  • SAD Seasonal Depression (Depressed SAD): A form of depression known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is triggered by the changing of the seasons; it starts and ends about at the same periods each year. If you have SAD like the majority of people do, your symptoms begin in the fall and last through the winter, draining your energy and making you cranky. Typically, these symptoms go away in the spring and summer. SAD less frequently results in depression in the spring or early summer and clears up in the fall or winter.
    SAD treatment options include medications, psychotherapy, and light therapy (phototherapy).

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Depression Fact Sheet

Depression Overview

Depression is a group of illnesses like depression or bipolar disorder that are connected to mood elevation or depression

Types of Depression

  • Clinical Depression: A mental health disorder characterized by persistently depressed mood or loss of interest in activities, causing significant impairment in daily life.
  • Persistent depressive disorder: A mild but long-term form of depression.
  • Bipolar disorder: A disorder associated with episodes of mood swings ranging from depressive lows to manic highs.
  • Bipolar II disorder:  A type of bipolar disorder characterized by depressive and hypomanic episodes.
  • Postpartum depression: Depression that occurs after childbirth.

Depression Treatments

  • Support group: A place where those pursuing the same disease or objective, such as weight loss or depression, can receive counseling and exchange experiences.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy: A conversation treatment that aimed to change the negative attitudes, actions, and feelings connected to psychiatric discomfort.
  • Counseling psychology: A subfield of psychology that handles issues with the self that are connected to work, school, family, and social life.
  • Anger management: To reduce destructive emotional outbursts, practice mindfulness, coping skills, and trigger avoidance.
  • Psychoeducation: Mental health education that also helps individuals feel supported, validated, and empowered
  • Family therapy: psychological counseling that improves family communication and conflict resolution.

Depression and Anxiety Statistics

It’s critical to understand the distinction between anxiety and depression. Anxiety, in its most basic form, is an excessive feeling of worry, whereas depression, in its most basic form, is an excessive feeling of worthlessness and hopelessness. It is conceivable for someone to experience depression and anxiety simultaneously.

6.8 million

GAD affects 6.8 million adults or 3.1% of the U.S. population, yet only 43.2% are receiving treatment.

Source: National Institute on Mental Health

19 million

19 million adults experience specific phobias, making it the most common anxiety disorder in America.  

Source: ADAA2020

17.3 million

Major depressive disorder affects approximately 17.3 million American adults or about 7.1% of the U.S. population aged 18 and older.

Source: National Institute of Mental Health

Generalized anxiety disorder and depression can both have emotional and physical symptoms.
Generalized anxiety disorder and depression can both have emotional and physical symptoms.

Depression and OCD

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and depression have a complex and deep relationship.

It may be possible to improve both your mental and physical health by learning why these two conditions frequently co-occur and, perhaps more importantly, how to approach treatment when you have both. Here are some helpful facts.

OCD and depression frequently coexist in the same person. According to the International OCD Foundation, depression affects 25 to 50 percent of OCD sufferers. However, for a small number of people, both diseases start at the same time. Most people first suffer from OCD symptoms. Rarely depression symptoms will appear before OCD.

Because of this, experts frequently assert that OCD is not always associated with depression but that OCD is a component of depression.

Can Depression cause OCD?

No studies have shown that depression causes OCD, despite the fact that it is unclear what actually causes OCD. OCD may result from any of the following, according to the National Institute of Mental Health:

  • Genetics
  • Differences in the frontal cortex and subcortical regions of the brain
  • Childhood trauma
  • Streptococcal infection

Can OCD Cause Depression?

Does OCD cause depression? The short answer is yes. Because depression often begins after OCD symptoms develop, researchers think the difficulties of living with OCD can lead to depression symptoms.

Depression can develop because of the following:

  • The nature of your compulsive thoughts
  • Difficulties caused by compulsive actions
  • The problems OCD causes in your life and relationships

OCD Depression: Obsessions and depression

Can OCD lead to depression? OCD causes unwelcome, distressing, and recurrent thoughts. Many people experience shock, fear, and eventually depression just from the nature of their thoughts. Here is an illustration of how that sequence might function. A new parent may experience unwelcome, abrupt thoughts of hurting the child. These kinds of intrusive thoughts are experienced by about half of all parents (including moms and fathers).

Even though the infant may never be in any danger, the ideas can be terrifying and quite embarrassing. A parent who is unaware of how frequent these ideas are may believe that their child has a problem. These and other intrusive thoughts are brought on by OCD. Thoughts that are invasive frequently contain violent imagery, but not all do.

However, intrusive thoughts may not always portend a higher danger of harm. But if the ideas are present along with anxiety, despair, or OCD, the danger may rise. Distressing thoughts can eventually result in depression because they can make a person feel as though they are powerless over their thoughts, which is both terrible and crippling.

Additionally, research from 2018 demonstrates that ruminating, or repeatedly having unfavorable or worrying thoughts, is a major factor in both melancholy and OCD. Researchers tested people with OCD and depression in 2017 to see if they were more likely to have anxious or depressing thoughts. Researchers discovered that persons with these two diseases frequently experience anxious and sad thoughts.

In an older study, researchers found that people with OCD experienced fewer depression symptoms when they showed three common patterns:

  • Thought their actions could change an outcome
  • Thought themselves capable of taking those actions
  • Thought they had control in a given situation, so they could take the necessary action
Ryan Zofay forming a circle and hugging friends.

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Depression OCD: Compulsions and depression

People with OCD typically act in a certain way in reaction to intrusive thoughts in the hope that their actions would either make the ideas disappear or stop something negative from happening. It is challenging to meet the requirement that these compulsive actions be carried out flawlessly each time.

According to researchers, this form of obstinate perfectionism, which characterizes OCD, is a major contributing factor to depression.

Functioning and Depression

Your capacity to conduct yourself in a healthy manner can be negatively impacted by sadness and OCD. Your mental condition is affected by obsessions. Schedule disruptions can result from compulsions.

You may start to exhibit signs of depression when your relationships, social life, therapy, and performance at work or in school are impacted. According to research, the more severely your obsessions and compulsions affect your daily functioning, the harsher your depressive symptoms.

Ocd Anxiety And Depression (OCD Depression Anxiety)

Anxiety is a key component of OCD (OCD anxiety depression). People with OCD may feel anxiety for many reasons, including:

  • Distressed by the content of the thoughts that intrude on them
  • Are anxious to keep the thoughts from happening again
  • Feel anxiety until they perform a compulsive behavior
  • Feel anxiety about whether they’ve performed the behavior correctly
  • Feel anxiety over what other people think of them
  • Feel anxiety in response to how other people treat them because of their condition
  • Are anxious about other practical and emotional effects of OCD on their lives

Anxiety is also common among people with depression. The National Alliance on Mental Illness estimates that 60 percent of people with anxiety also have depression and vice versa.

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How are OCD and Depression Similar?

These two disorders share many overlapping symptoms, including:

  • They can affect your mood, relationships, and ability to function well.
  • Both are associated with negative beliefs about yourself.
  • They can cause thinking patterns that worsen symptoms.
  • Medication for OCD and depression: Both can be treated with psychotherapy and medication – especially selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)Trusted Source.
If you experience sadness for more than two weeks, speak with your doctor. If you are contemplating suicide, call emergency services to get immediate medical attention.
If you experience sadness for more than two weeks, speak with your doctor. If you are contemplating suicide, call emergency services to get immediate medical attention.

ADHD OCD Anxiety Depression

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have several symptoms in common and can both affect a person’s performance at work and in school. Although it’s uncommon, it’s conceivable for someone to have both ADHD and OCD. One illness could also be misdiagnosed and taken for another. Here are some similarities and differences between OCD and ADHD that you should be aware of.

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We Level Up Dual Diagnosis Treatment

The exact definition of dual diagnosis (also referred to as co-occurring disorders) can differ between institutions.  However, it is generally described as the specific treatment of someone who has been diagnosed with a substance use disorder and a mental health disorder at the same time.

Treating dual-diagnosis clients is a critical aspect of our inpatient treatment experience because co-occurring disorders are strongly correlated with instances of substance abuse. Creating a treatment plan that addresses the physical aspects of withdrawal, the psychological connection with drug use, and managing underlying mental health disorders is part of setting clients up for success. 

A thorough mental health analysis identifies possibilities for treatment.  Meeting with mental health counselors and medical care providers means access to behavioral therapy and medication treatment.

At our dual diagnosis treatment center, We Level Up can implement the highest quality of care. We recognize the fragile complexities of how mental and substance abuse disorders can influence others and sometimes result in a vicious cycle of addiction.  That’s why we offer specialized treatment in dual-diagnosis cases to provide the most excellent chance of true healing and long-lasting recovery.

It can be challenging to accept that you may be living with a mental illness, but once it is properly diagnosed and treated, treating the presenting case of substance abuse can be magnitudes easier. Only a properly trained medical professional can diagnose these underlying conditions.  If you believe you are suffering from a disorder alongside addiction, we urge you to seek a qualified treatment center to begin your journey to recovery. Call We Level Up today.

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