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Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD) Vs OCD: The Differences

October 5, 2021

9 min read

Author : United We Care
Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD) Vs OCD: The Differences

Although OCPD and OCD can disrupt a person’s life, the right treatment can heal and help the person manage the symptoms more effectively.   

OCPD vs OCD: Difference Between Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder


Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder, often referred to as OCPD and OCD, respectively, are distinct psychological illnesses that have different symptoms and treatment methodologies. However, there is a sizeable overlap between them.

When discussing OCPD vs OCD, one must know that the primary difference is that OCPD is a personality disorder, whereas OCD is an anxiety disorder.

What is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?


OCD is defined by a pattern of unwanted fear (obsessions) and irrational thoughts, which drives someone to perform certain repetitive behaviours (compulsions), despite their best efforts to stop the vicious circle. The condition adds to everyday stress and can interfere with daily activities. 

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 What is Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder?


Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder features extreme perfectionism, neatness, and order. Such people feel a severe need to enforce their standards on their surrounding environment. They are excessively rigid about rules, lists, moral and ethical codes, which they strive to implement in their daily lives. 

Even in their relationships, they tend to control and want others to behave according to these set standards. 

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 OCPD Causes and Symptoms



The exact cause of OCPD is unclear. But a combination of childhood experiences and genetics can lead to obsessive-compulsive personality disorder. 

 Symptoms of obsessive-compulsive personality disorder include:

  • Rigid mannerisms. 
  • Being perfect to the point where it can impair the ability to complete tasks.
  • Excessive attention to detail.
  • Extreme sense of righteousness. 
  • Being very stingy about monetary matters.
  • A tremendous need to be punctual.
  • Devoting to work at the expense of family and social relationships.
  • Stockpiling worn or useless things.
  • Being unable to share responsibilities because of the fear that others won’t execute them correctly.


OCD Causes and Symptoms


The causes of OCD can be:

  • A genetic component.
  • Biological factors.
  • Gradually learning by watching others.


Generally, OCD symptoms differ in severity throughout life. The obsession symptoms are:

  • Experiencing intense stress when things are not symmetrical or not in order.
  • Undesirable and unpleasant thoughts on subjects like religion, sex, or others.
  • Difficulty in tolerating vagueness.
  • Constant fear of dirt or contamination.
  • Aggressive thoughts about hurting self or others.


A few examples can be:

  • Avoiding shaking hands to prevent contamination.
  • Feeling stressed, thinking whether they have locked the door or turned off the stove.


OCD compulsions have themes, which include:

  • Checking.
  • Counting.
  • Cleaning and washing.
  • Wanting reassurance.
  • Exercising a strict routine.


Some examples of such situations can be:

  • Checking doors recurrently. 
  • Repeating a specific phase.
  • Washing hands repeatedly.


OCPD Vs. OCD: What’s the Difference?


To clear the confusion, read ahead to get acquainted with the differences:

  • People with OCD are usually aware that their obsessions are unreasonable, which generates a great deal of distress.

On the other hand, those with obsessive-compulsive personality disorder believe that their way of doing things is the best and ideal way. 

  • The behaviour, thoughts and consequences associated with OCD are typically not relevant to real-life situations. 

But in OCPD, people are fixated on following rules even to manage routine tasks.  

  • OCD can interfere with numerous areas of a person’s life like family, workplace, social circle. 

OCPD usually hampers interpersonal relationships but makes workplace performance more efficient as the person is overly dedicated. 

  • While people suffering from OCD may feel insecure due to their obsessions and compulsive acts, people with OCPD can be extremely dominating.
  • When things are not happening the way they want, people with OCD are more likely to feel anxious.  


But in a similar circumstance, people with OCPD may get angry.

  • The symptoms of OCD tend to alter depending on the anxiety level. 


Behaviours and symptoms associated with OCPD are more persistent. 

  • When it comes to OCPD vs OCD, methods of treatment also vary. The most commonly used forms of treatment for OCD are:
  • Cognitive-behavioural therapy
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) 


In the treatment of OCPD, doctors may use a combination of:

  • Medication
  • Psychotherapy
  • Cognitive-behavioural therapy
    • Psychodynamic therapy
  • Mindfulness techniques
  • SSRIs


Treatment for Personality Disorders


Having a personality or anxiety disorder can create limitations while dealing with everyday problems and relating with others. An ideal blend of therapy and medication can go a long way to help those suffering from these.

The treatment aims to notice the intrusive thoughts and acknowledge them without responding to them with compulsions. Also, detecting the triggers during the therapy sessions can prove beneficial.

In the case of OCPD, the goal of the treatment is to help the patients recognize the stringent rules and unattainable standards, which they follow and how these factors are hindering their lives. Also, it broadens their outlook about not judging themselves only based on their accomplishments but also other aspects of their lives.

 Simultaneously, there are a few strategies, which can help cope with these conditions. 

These could be:

  • Stress management: Find the perfect stress busters and manage stress thoughtfully.
  • Self-care: Often, having OCPD or OCD can cause one to ignore their health. Introduce self-care techniques to enhance emotional, physical, and spiritual health. Some of the ways can be:
  • A healthy diet.
  • Adequate sleep.
  • Socialization.
  • Leisure activities to recharge mental health.
  • Regular exercise. 
  • Meditation: Meditation can be an excellent stress-reliever. It can bring a calming effect and help manage the signs of OCPD and OCD.
  • Educating oneself: Learning more about the condition can prove encouraging as it can provide more information about the different ways to deal with it. 


Treatment for Personality Disorders


If you have traits of OCD or OCPD, you may not be able to identify the symptoms and their adverse effects on your life. So, before it causes irreversible damage, seeking help and treatment from a qualified mental health professional for personality disorder treatment is essential. Often, threats of losing a loved one or a job can lead people with OCD or OCPD to seek medical attention.

At United We Care, we understand the importance of proper counselling. We believe that it is the most crucial step in safeguarding your mental health. So, if you or your loved one is struggling with OCD or OCPD, do not hesitate to connect with us. Our top personality disorder therapists can assess, diagnose, treat, and prevent such conditions and guide you in the best possible way.

Whether it is OCD or OCPD, you may find it challenging to handle the associated anxiety. Also, obsessive behaviours, perfectionism, and rigid controls at the expense of your relationships can lead to unpleasant consequences. Being flexible and your openness to adopting new experiences can evolve you as a person. 

So, when you feel that OCD or OCPD is taking a toll on your health and mind, stay positive and take charge without letting the symptoms bog you down.

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Author : United We Care

Founded in 2020, United We Care (UWC) is providing mental health and wellness services at a global level, UWC utilizes its team of dedicated and focused professionals with expertise in mental healthcare, to solve 2 essential missing components in the market, sustained user engagement and program efficacy/outcomes.

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