OCD vs OCPD: The Difference

OCD vs OCPD: The Difference

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder might sound like very much the same thing, which explains why many people often conflate the two conditions. But other than similar names and some shared symptoms, they are rather different types of mental illness. The main discerning factor between OCD and OCPD is that one (OCD) is an anxiety disorder, while the other (OCPD) is a personality disorder.

In OCPD, strict order and control over your life and activities eradicates any kind of flexibility as well as the potential to experience new things. Someone with OCPD is highly averse to change, spontaneity, and the like. There is an intense need for perfection, which culminates in severe control over everything from their daily routine to interpersonal relationships. Firm, unshakeable order is the number one priority, and is helped along with obsessions about rules, innocuous details, and lists.

With OCD rooted in anxiety, irrational obsessions and/or compulsions disrupt the person’s life, making it difficult to function at work or in society as a whole. Obsessions in this regard are very specific and impossible to control. Images, ideas, or irrational thoughts plague the individual and cause much distress, to the point where compulsive behaviors are established in an effort to distract from the unwanted obsessions. Compulsions are much more than a silly hand-washing routine, or flicking the light switch on and off five times in a row. They are ritualistic behaviors that someone with OCD feels compelled to repeat for fear that something terrible would happen if they don’t.

Understanding the differences between OCD and OCPD will make it easier to tell the two conditions apart. Someone with OCD will present uncontrollable behaviors driven by obsessions and/or compulsions, while an individual with OCPD exhibits ultimate control over their thoughts and behavior. As a result, someone with OCD will often seem distressed, while people with OCPD believe everything they do has a specific aim and purpose. It therefore doesn’t bother them at all. For this reason, people with OCD are more likely to seek help for their condition, while those with OCPD don’t see anything wrong with their behavior and are likely to never seek psychiatric help.

The DSM-IV is one of the most significant diagnostic tools used in psychiatric practice around the world, and it classifies OCD as an anxiety disorder. However, the DSM-V groups the condition among Obsessive Compulsive and Related Disorders. Whatever the label, OCD is too often left untreated because so many don’t understand their condition, or don’t believe that there is help available. In the few cases where a problem is acknowledged, the stigma surrounding mental illness prevents those concerned from seeking the help they require.

As mentioned above, the symptoms of OCD can lead to great distress, affecting every aspect of your life from work to relationships with family and friends. Extreme cases have seen people too afraid to leave their home because of the urgent need to keep repeating ritualistic behavior out of fear. This is a condition that won’t fade away over time and when left untreated, OCD and its debilitating symptoms will last a lifetime. Some cases might be episodic in that an individual will be free of symptoms for a period, but they always come back and they are often more severe than before.

Where younger children and teenagers are concerned, untreated OCD could lead to learning disorders and disruptive behaviors that negatively impact education and relationships. It’s time to seek help from your doctor if you find your symptoms getting worse, new symptoms arising, or are going through a crisis that might worsen your condition. Contact us at ZwavelStream Clinic for more information and treatment for OCD and other mental disorders.