OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) and Depression

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a condition affecting two to three per cent of the population at some stage in their lives, with half the cases having first symptoms appearing in childhood.  People are driven to carry out repeated actions (such as cleaning, hand washing, checking gas or power switches, counting, touching, etc) or indulge in repetitive thought patterns (known as obsessions), to avoid extreme anxiety and panic reactions if they resist.


It is estimated that about  ten to  twenty per cent of people with depressive illness develop this condition as part of the depressive illness, and typically the condition automatically subsides once the depressive illness has been treated.


Many people who have developed Obsessive Compulsive Disorder without having depressive illness, do eventually go on to develop depressive illness, due to the stress of their condition.


In fact, antidepressants which specifically target the serotonin neurotransmitter pathway in the brain (such as Clomipramine or the newer generation of SSRI antidepressants such as Prozac, Luvox, Aropax,  Zoloft, Lexapro, Efexor, Pristiq) are dramatically effective against obsessive compulsive disorder, even in the absence of depressive illness. This finding strongly suggests an abnormality in the serotonin pathway as a prominent characteristic of this illness.  Furthermore, these antidepressants reduce levels of anxiety and emotional distress considerably, allowing the sufferer with obsessive compulsive disorder to resist the drive to carry out their actions or thoughts while remaining much less distressed than they would otherwise become. This allows CBT (cognitive behaviour therapy) to be learned and applied far more effectively.


Important Disclaimer:  This site is medical information only, and is not to be taken as diagnosis, advice or treatment, which can only be decided by your own doctor.

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