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Month: November 2022

Can OCD Cause Depression?

Many people are familiar with the term OCD, or obsessive-compulsive disorder, but they may not be as familiar with the relationship between OCD and depression. But before we explore the link between the two conditions, we must understand what each entails.

OCD is a mental health disorder characterized by uncontrollable, recurring thoughts (obsessions) and behaviors (compulsions) that can severely impact a person’s ability to function in everyday life.

Depression, on the other hand, is a mood disorder that includes extreme persistent sadness, loss of interest, and a negative outlook on life. While OCD and depression are two different mental illnesses, they are often comorbid, meaning they can co-occur.

In fact, according to the International OCD Foundation, up to 50 percent of people with OCD also meet the criteria for major depression. This overlap suggests that OCD can lead to or increase an individual’s risk of developing depression.

How OCD Can Lead To Depression

There are many possible explanations for how OCD and depression might occur together. To begin with, the very nature of OCD means that patients are constantly in a state of high anxiety. Constant anxiety can be incredibly draining mentally and emotionally, increasing the risk of depression.

Second, the repetitive thoughts and behaviors associated with OCD can be very isolating. People with OCD are often ashamed and embarrassed by their thoughts and behaviors to the point that they become withdrawn from friends and family. This isolation can lead to feelings of loneliness and sadness, which can, in turn, contribute to depression.

People with OCD might also be more likely to experience depression because of how their illness affects their thinking. People with OCD often have destructive thinking patterns, which means they tend to see the worst-case scenario in every situation. For example, someone with OCD might be obsessively worried about getting a disease, even if they are healthy. This way of thinking can lead to a lot of anxiety and fear, which can eventually lead to depression. 

Additionally, OCD is a debilitating and disruptive mental illness that can interfere with many aspects of a person’s life, including work and relationships. This can lead to guilt, self-loathing, and hopelessness, culminating in depression.

Lastly, OCD – like many other mental illnesses- is associated with brain structure and neurochemistry changes. These changes can impact certain brain areas involved in mood regulation, setting the stage for depression.

The Impact of Comorbid OCD and Depression

A dual diagnosis of OCD and depression can be incredibly disabling, with many negative consequences for an individual’s health, well-being, and overall quality of life. 

And because both mental illnesses have overlapping symptoms – such as low mood, anxiety, difficulty sleeping, and concentration (to name a few) – it can be challenging for doctors to diagnose and treat the conditions accurately.

This can lead to a lack of effective treatment, compounding the struggles that someone with OCD and depression might experience. To truly address the issues caused by both conditions, people with OCD need a comprehensive treatment regimen that addresses both disorders concurrently.

Understanding how OCD and depression interact is essential to helping those diagnosed with both illnesses. With the proper treatment and support, people with OCD and depression can manage their symptoms and reclaim their lives.

The Bottom Line

It is evident there is a strong link between OCD and depression. And while there are several possible explanations for this comorbidity, what is certain is that people with OCD are at a much higher risk of developing depression.

But despite the many challenges facing people with OCD and depression, it is possible to manage both disorders effectively with therapy, medication, and lifestyle modalities.


What Is CRPS?

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a chronic pain condition that most often affects one limb (arm, leg, hand, or foot) after an injury or trauma to that limb. Even though the injury itself may have healed, people with CRPS continue to experience pain, swelling, and other symptoms.

The pain often manifests as an intense burning sensation. Other symptoms of CRPS include:

  • Swelling
  • Numbness, tingling, or “pins and needles” sensations
  • Joint and muscle stiffness
  • Changes in skin texture and color
  • Abnormalities in nail and hair growth.
  • Decreased range motion
  • Muscle spasms
  • Increased sensitivity to touch, pressure, or temperature
  • Reduced pain threshold
  • Abnormal sweating 

CRPS can also lead to depression and other psychological problems, as well as affect a person’s ability to work or perform daily activities.

Types of CRPS

There are two types of CRPS: type I and type II. Type I CRPS, also known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome (RSDS), is the more common of the two. It is more likely to be triggered by a relatively minor injury or trauma that does not normally result in chronic pain, such as a sprain, strain, fracture, or even surgery. In this type of CPRS, there is no obvious nerve damage. On the other hand, type II CRPS (also known as causalgia) may occur after an illness or injury that causes nerve damage.

Causes of CRPS

The exact causes of CRPS are not yet fully understood, but it is thought to be the result of damage to nerve fibers in the affected limb. This damage can occur after an injury, forceful trauma, or surgery – causing the nervous system to malfunction.

As a result, the body’s pain control system becomes overexcited and sends pain signals to the brain that are amplified. The body responds by producing inflammation, which causes further nerve irritation, creating a vicious cycle of pain and other symptoms.

Treating CRPS

CRPS often requires a multifaceted approach to treatment that may include medication, psychological counseling, physical therapy, and interventional treatments.


There are a number of different medications that can be used to help manage the pain associated with CRPS. These include over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen, as well as prescription medications such as NSAIDs, opioids, antidepressants, and anticonvulsants. Your doctor will work with you to determine which medication or combination of medications is best for you based on your unique situation.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is another common treatment for CRPS. Physical therapy can help to increase mobility, strengthen muscles, and improve function. A physical therapist can also teach you stretching and exercises that can help to increase pain tolerance.

Psychological Therapy

Living with chronic pain can take a toll on your emotional and psychological well-being. As such, psychological therapy can be an important part of treatment. A therapist can help you learn to cope with the emotional aspects of chronic pain and develop healthy coping strategies.

Interventional Treatments

There are a number of interventional treatments that can be used to treat CRPS. These include nerve blocks, surgery, and electrical stimulation. Ketamine infusion therapy has also shown great promise in providing long-term remission from chronic pain.

The Bottom Line

CRPS is a complex and potentially debilitating condition that requires a multifaceted approach to treatment. While there is no cure for CRPS, there are a number of effective treatments available that can help improve symptoms and quality of life. If you think you may have CRPS, talk to your doctor about the best treatment options for you.


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