Relationship Between OCD and Social Anxiety Disorder

The Relationship Between Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and SAD

OCD sometimes goes along with SAD.
OCD can co-occur with SAD. moodboard / Getty Images

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder that involves uncontrollable thoughts and rituals. The person with OCD has thoughts that are persistent and unwelcome, and often accompanied by an urgent need to perform an action such as washing hands or checking on something. The development of OCD is sometimes linked to an environmental trigger such as increased responsibility or a loss in the family.

Relationship Between Social Anxiety Disorder and OCD

People with OCD are at increased risk for developing depression and other anxiety disorders. Comorbidity rates with social anxiety disorder (SAD) have been reported at 11%; meaning that eleven percent of people with OCD also suffer with SAD. It is more common to see SAD secondary to a primary diagnosis of OCD than the other way around.

Like those with social anxiety disorder, only a small proportion of those suffering with OCD receive treatment, and it is usually many years after symptoms begin. When not treated, both conditions can severely impact quality of life.

Treatment of Co-Occurring SAD and OCD

Both OCD and social anxiety disorder respond well to treatment. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the first-line medication treatment for both conditions, and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has been shown effective for both disorders.

If you suffer with both SAD and OCD, your course of treatment will ideally consist of medication combined with CBT specific to each disorder.


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Stanford School of Medicine. About OCD

University of Maryland Medical Center. Anxiety disorders risk factors

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