OCD and Loneliness: Causes and Coping Strategies

It can feel like a no-win situation. Going out and connecting with people can trigger your OCD but staying home and self-isolating can lead to loneliness and depression.

However, there are coping strategies that can help.


If you’re not already participating in treatment, you can start by having a conversation with your doctor.

Therapy and medication can be effective treatments for both OCD and depression.

An often-successful therapy for both is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Additionally, a specific type of CBT you can try for OCD is exposure response prevention therapy (ERPT). ERPT can help you reduce your anxiety around certain obsessions, such as germs.

Examples of depression medications that doctors prescribe include antidepressants and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). More choices are available if these types of medications don’t work for you.

Doctors also prescribe SSRI medication for OCD, and just like with depression, there are several choices available.

Self Care

Prioritizing self care can help you feel better. Areas to focus on include:

If it feels overwhelming to overhaul your life, start in one area. Choose something that doesn’t trigger your OCD or ask your therapist for suggestions or guidance.

Social contact

OCD and depression can make it harder to have a social life, which may be why you’re experiencing loneliness.

It doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing scenario, though. Take small steps, like one phone call or video chat each week with a friend or family member.

Texting and social media are two other examples of ways to connect with friends that don’t involve potentially upsetting in-person contact.

You may also want to share your feelings about OCD, depression, and loneliness with someone you trust. You might be pleasantly surprised at what a supportive ally a trusted friend or family member can be.