The abbreviated names may sound very familiar when we say OCPD (Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder) vs OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder)?
But, we need to know that even they sound the same, they are completely two different disorders. Indeed, so many people often mistake one for the other. It can include the people in the field of psychology as well. However, both disorders(OCPD and OCD) are distinct mental health conditions. They have different features and treatment plans.
The key difference between OCPD and OCD can be seen in the latter part which is a “personality disorder”. A mal-adaptive pattern of thought and behaviour that colours how one relates to the environment while the former is characterised by rude thoughts.
Let’s go deeper into the characteristics of both disorders and see how OCPD and OCD differ from each other?
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
The presence of recurrent obsessions or compulsions that interfere with a person’s ability to function properly is defined by OCD.
Obsessions or compulsions are not everyday worries or concerns. In fact, they are persistent and often irrational thoughts, images or ideas that recur in one’s mind without going away. Obsessions may be one’s own thought and they may find it difficult to control or defeat. However, things with these obsessions cause significant distress to the individual. Moreover, it forces them to act in irrational ways to remove those thoughts.
Compulsions are irrational and distinct activities one performs to dispel anxieties or obsessions. Examples of compulsions include:
- Constant cleaning, hand-washing, double-checking, or sweeping.
- Repetitive behaviours to prevent something shocking from happening. Even when there is no evidence of it happening.
For an example, constant use of scrubbing or bathing to eliminate recognised germs that have infected the hands.
Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder(OCPD)
An individual neither has obsessions nor compulsions. In OCPD, a strict – and often irrational – adherence to orderliness can be seen. There is nothing wrong with adhering to strong principles as long as there is some room for flexibility. Especially that it does not get in one’s way. People with OCPD continue to maintain their strong adherence to orderliness even at the risk of their efficiency.
OCPD is characterised by the following personality traits:
- An excessive need for perfection and control over the environment and their interpersonal relationships.
- A rigid distraction with rules, lists and order such that they miss the whole point of an activity.
- A strict commitment to work and career at the expense of their family and loved ones.
- Hoarding of items that do not have any value to them any more.
- Firm moral and ethical values even when it affects their performance.
However, a person with OCPD may go on to succeed in their career.
“Their perfectionism keeps them at a high standard,” says Dr Simon Rego, PsyD, Chief of Psychology at Montefiore Medical Center and Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, NY. “That said, others may find the individual with OCPD difficult to work or live with because of their style of operating,” he added.
Key Differences – OCPD vs OCD
When we say OCPD vs OCD, there are clear conceptual differences. Although there is considerable overlap between both disorders, there are four major distinguishing features between OCPD and OCD.
The 4 differences of OCPD and OCD are:
- OCD – Irrational obsessions and compulsive behaviours.
- OCPD – No obsessions or compulsions. The person just has a strict and seemingly unshakable adherence to one’s principles, even when they seem not to be helping.
- OCD – Patients are distressed by these disturbing obsessions and compulsions and try to seek help for them.
- OCPD – people believe that their thoughts and behaviours are correct.
- OCD – People often know that these obsessions or the compulsions are irrational.
- OCPD – People do not and often do not understand how their behaviours affect other people.
- OCD – The symptoms may change with the severity of the anxiety.
- OCPD – The thought pattern is believed to be normal and it guides their behaviour over a long period.
Treatments for OCPD and OCD
OCD is best treated with anti-anxiety medications and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy(CBT).
The CBT technique used to treat OCD is to exposure and response prevention. Therefore, when the patient is exposed to the situation, they are trying to avoid and learns to cope with it. It will guide them correctly rather than trying to eliminate it with compulsive behaviour.
This form of therapy aims to lower the patient’s sensitivity. It also lowers the response to the same stimulus that causes them distressing obsessions. Through this process, the person learns to notice these obsessions. Mainly, they learn not to rush and act on them in fear.
OCPD is also treated with involves CBT techniques but in a different type. It’s not performed with medications. CBT teaches the person to re-evaluate their thoughts and behaviour. It will make the person with positive adjustments. It also helps the person identify the distress that is driving the need to achieve perfection. It’s important to know that CBT also helps the person to understand the unattainable standards they live by and how it robs them of a truly happy life.
Importantly, some people with OCD or OCPD or both, OCPD and OCD may not notice the harmful impact of their behaviour(s). If you or someone you know/love are having the symptoms of OCPD and OCD, assist them to seek professional help in a sympathetic way.