OCD and Depression | Orlando OCD Treatment
It is not at all uncommon for individuals with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) to also experience depression and other disorders such as other anxiety disorders, tic disorders, eating disorders, personality disorders and drug and alcohol addiction. However, depression is the most common co-existing condition in both adults and children with OCD. It is estimated that 30% to 80% of adults and children with OCD also experience depression and research has found that having depression along with OCD is related to a less favorable treatment response. For many adults, children and teens with OCD, the feelings of being alone and the only one suffering can be unbearably distressing, often resulting in depression.
Symptoms of depression include:
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Sleeping difficulties (too much, not enough)
- Loss of interest in things one previously enjoyed
- Change in appetite
- Difficulty concentrating
- Thoughts of suicide
Generally speaking, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) theory proposes that irrational thinking and distorted beliefs are at root of most disorders. These thoughts and beliefs lead to emotional and behavioral responses that maintain the cycle of suffering. Individuals with depression typically have negative self- appraisals (e.g., “I let everyone down”). They also engage in negative self-talk (“My life is awful”) and tend to think in hopeless ways (“Nothing is ever going to get better”). Individuals with OCD tend to have the tendency to have thought distortions that consist of thought-action fusion, which means that thinking something is the same as doing it. For instance, if I have the thought of running someone over, that must mean I really want to do it. Individuals with OCD also have the tendency to attribute meaning to normally occurring unwanted thoughts.
Depressive, ruminative thoughts about OCD can also be a part of depression. For instance, the person with OCD might think, “I will never be able to live a normal life because I have OCD” or “Having these bad thoughts makes me a bad person”.
Earlier onset of OCD, as well as severity of OCD symptoms has been significantly associated with the development of recurring depression. The age of onset has been found to be a characteristic for genetic predisposition to many disorders that cluster in families. Therefore it is hypothesized that individuals who suffer from both OCD and depression may have more of a genetic tendency to have OCD. In addition, psychological studies have found that individuals whose obsessions have violent, moral, superstitious, sexual and religious content are more likely to experience co-existing symptoms of depression.
At GroundWork Counseling in Orlando, our OCD specialists understand that Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) strategies often need to incorporate CBT methods to address depressive symptoms in clients with OCD. These adaptations to conventional ERP often involve including cognitive restructuring techniques that target depression as well as OCD and integrating behavior activation methods that are typically used to treat depression. Fortunately these modified techniques have the benefit of improving depressive symptoms as well as reducing symptoms of OCD. Because OCD and depression so commonly co-exist, it is important to find a therapist who is knowledgeable and experienced in treating both disorders.
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