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OCPD vs OCD: Differences and symptoms

OCD and OCPD are different conditions with many similarities.

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Heights
September 21, 2022
6 min read

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) are two different conditions that have many similarities. Both involve the presence of repetitive thoughts, behaviors or both. However, they differ in a few key ways. Let's take a closer look at OCPD vs OCD.

Article breakdown

OCPD vs OCD: Differences and symptoms

Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) have been considered to be separate but related disorders, with OCD being an anxiety disorder and OCPD a personality disorder.

With OCD, the person has obsessions and compulsions that cause distress, negatively impact their lives and cannot be controlled. They may also experience performance anxiety due to unrealistic standards regarding perfectionism in their work or school performance.

In contrast, people with OCPD have rigid traits that cause significant distress or impairment in social or occupational functioning; they do not experience obsessions or compulsions related to these traits.

You've likely heard of OCD before, but OCPD is a little less well-known. Let's look at what it is and some examples.

What is OCPD?

People with OCPD have a distorted view of their self-worth, and they have trouble accepting that other people have their own opinions. They think everything has to be done perfectly.

OCPD is a lifelong disorder that often starts in childhood or adolescence (although it can sometimes develop later). It can cause distress and impairment in personal and professional lives because people with this condition are often unable to finish tasks due to their obsessive thoughts about perfectionism.

What is an example of OCPD?

It is common for people with OCPD to have difficulty cleaning their home or office because they feel like it is never clean enough. They may also have trouble with hair, clothing, and nail care because they feel like they need to do everything perfectly.

People with OCPD may also be hesitant to complete tasks in order to avoid making mistakes or being criticized by others. They worry about doing things right, which can make it difficult for them to complete tasks in a timely manner.

People with OCPD can also be very critical of themselves and others, which can lead to low self-esteem.

Other symptoms include:

  • Being inflexible about certain things (like having everything alphabetized on your bookshelf)

  • Feeling extremely responsible for others' actions/emotions

How is OCD different from OCPD?

To recap, OCPD is a personality disorder where the person has rigid rules, is preoccupied with details, and is inflexible, whereas OCD is an anxiety disorder where the person has obsessions and compulsions. Both disorders can cause significant impairment in social, occupational, and other areas of functioning.

Here are the symptoms of OCPD vs OCD symptoms:

People with OCPD are preoccupied with details and rules

People with OCPD are preoccupied with details and rules to the extent that their ability to function is negatively impacted. For example, a person with OCPD may spend hours washing their hands until they are perfectly clean, or spend more time organizing than doing other things.

People with OCD are preoccupied with unwanted or intrusive thoughts

People with OCD are preoccupied with unwanted or intrusive thoughts. Some of those thoughts may be about things that have already happened and can’t be changed. Other times, they involve worrying about the possibility of something bad happening in the future.

OCD can cause great distress and anxiety for those who experience it. The difference between OCD and OCPD is that someone with OCPD does not report feeling anxious from their obsessions and compulsions; rather, they find comfort in them because they believe them to be correct or useful in some way.

People with OCPD have trouble finishing a task due to the rules they have set up

They may not be able to make a decision because they feel like they have to consider all of the possible consequences before making it. People with OCPD feel that their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are under control at all times.

They have a rigid sense of order, but it does not cause them distress if something does not go according to plan—it just makes them annoyed.

People with OCD don’t necessarily care about rules and may finish tasks, but are hesitant due to their fears

It’s true that both OCD and OCPD are characterized by rigidity. However, while people with OCD may follow rules and routines, they do so out of fear of the consequences of not doing so—not because they care about following a rule per se.

People with OCPD have difficulties spending money

People with OCPD often have difficulties spending money or giving things away because they feel like they need to save things in order for them to be “just right.” They may be very frugal and unwilling to spend their money on anything that isn't absolutely necessary.

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People with OCD don’t necessarily have this issue and may spend money or give things away

People with OCD don’t necessarily have this issue and may spend money or give things away, but they will experience anxiety when doing so because they feel like they may “lose something” if they do this.

Can OCD become OCPD?

OCPD is a personality disorder characterized by perfectionism and inflexibility, not a mental disorder. As such, it's not something that can be cured. But OCPD can exist alongside OCD.

When a person with OCD develops OCPD, they’re no longer just obsessing over their own thoughts. Instead, they become obsessed with the way other people think and behave as well. This can lead to rigid rules and regulations that are impossible for others to follow, causing stress in all relationships.

OCPD vs OCD: Are OCD and OCPD similar?

To sum up, OCD and OCPD are different disorders, but both involve obsession and compulsion. The main difference between OCD and OCPD is that people with OCD have unwanted or intrusive thoughts, while people with OCPD are preoccupied with details and rules.

If you're experiencing symptoms of these disorders, please speak to a medical professional. By getting treatment, such as CBT and medication, you can learn how to manage your symptoms so they don’t interfere with your daily life as much anymore

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