OCD, Men, Anxiety and Depression

Jerry Kennard Health Pro
  • There is a significant relationship between obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and depression. Estimates suggest around three out of every four people with OCD also experience depression. The exact nature of the association isn’t clear but there are some indications that similar mental processes are involved, and biologically, the serotonin system may be implicated.


    Men who experience depression often turn to activities as a means of distraction. Sometimes these become compulsive or addictive in nature and they often serve to mask the way they are feeling. When some men become depressed they turn to alcohol and/or drugs. In some respects it might be argued this is a clearer indication of emotional distress than other activities, especially if out of character. But alcohol and drugs aren’t the only things men might turn to.

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    Sometimes compulsive actions come about as a way of filling time, keeping active and relieving anxiety. Compulsive checking, tidying and cleaning are commonplace, but sometimes inner-insecurities are revealed in other ways. Fitness activities can sometimes become compulsive due, perhaps, to the triggering of endorphins that are released during exercise. In these situations the ramifications of not exercising can lead to acute levels of anxiety.


    Body-building is another example. I’m not thinking of the average body builder who spends time in the gym after work. I’m thinking more of a condition sometimes known as reverse anorexia or bigorexia which reveals itself as compulsive exercising and mirror checking in the belief that the person is physically inadequate. In this condition the man may spend his entire day weight training and exercising, weighing foods, and carefully checking consumption. He may miss social activities and even work because of the compulsive need to train. Yet this is a deeply unhappy person who goes to lengths in order to hide his physique in the belief he is somehow inadequate.


    These might be considered extreme forms of compulsion yet other types may be just as hidden. The compulsion to work all hours or to have sex with as many people as possible is just as problematic. In the case of anxiety disorders or depression it is as important to treat the co-existing condition, usually at the same time if the outcome is to be therapeutically effective.

Published On: August 08, 2014