The Link Between OCD and Depression

If you have a dual diagnosis of OCD and depression, professional support can help you manage both conditions.

Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP)

ERP is considered the gold standard for OCD treatment, says Ben Eckstein, a licensed clinical social worker in Durham, North Carolina, who specializes in OCD and anxiety disorders.

If you live with depression, you might find it challenging to start here, though.

“ERP is really challenging. In order for it to be effective, you must be motivated and able to follow through consistently with homework assignments,” Eckstein says. “Depression can make it difficult to practice ERP in an effective way, as decreased motivation, interest, and energy can get in the way of consistent practice.”

Other therapy modalities, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), may help with this.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)

If you live with both OCD and depression, you might want to consider CBT first before trying other treatments, Eckstein says.

“CBT can be helpful in addressing feelings of hopelessness and other negative beliefs, allowing you to more fully engage with OCD treatment,” he says.


In some cases, your doctor or a psychiatrist may suggest selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI), antidepressant medications recommended in the treatment of OCD and depression.

If you’re experiencing symptoms of OCD and depression, a doctor or mental health professional can talk with you about helpful medication.

Support groups

Connecting with others with similar experiences can also be helpful to you. Some options include: