Both obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) share overlapping features; hence, they are sometimes incorrectly used interchangeably. OCD is a distinct disorder from OCPD, having its own diagnostic criteria and symptoms. The distinctions between the two conditions are explained here.
What exactly is OCD?
OCD is an anxiety condition characterized by recurring impulses, thoughts, and behaviors that cause the sufferer discomfort. Such ideas or impulses develop into compulsions that serve to alleviate suffering.
Compulsions occur as psychological and somatic symptoms in OCD patients. In mental traits, patients encounter undesirable, unpleasant thinking patterns, which can result in sleeplessness, anxiety with a sudden onset, and panic attacks. In physical traits, compulsions can result in repetitive activities such as checking locks, hand washing, moving things in certain orders, and hoarding.
Before diagnosing OCD, it is necessary to rule out other medical conditions and the use of certain substances. Moreover, comorbidity with affective or psychotic illnesses is typical among those who have been diagnosed.
What exactly is OCPD?
Certain characteristics are present with OCPD, most notably unwanted thoughts and repetitive behavior. However, OCPD is a severe type of OCD and is therefore more challenging to treat.
OCPD is a personality disorder marked by a strong obsession with orderliness, perfectionism, interpersonal control, and attention to rules or details. There may be indications of rigidity, obstinacy, and hoarding. When it comes to rules, frustration may ensue if things are not done in a particular fashion.
OCD versus OCPD: Clarified
While the symptoms of both conditions are comparable, the patient’s perception of their condition distinguishes them.
Patients with OCD, for example, may hypothetically display ego-dystonic behavior. In psychodynamic theory, ego-dystonia is present when a patient recognizes their abnormal behavior as the source of their suffering and self-defeating outcomes. OCPD sufferers are preoccupied with the assumption that their behavior is proper and an integral part of their identity; it is referred to as ego-syntonic behavior.
In addition, OCD individuals experience discomfort following their abnormal behavior. After their obsessive behavior, OCPD patients have a momentary sensation of pleasure and relief.
OCPD and Cognitive Distortions
In personality disorders such as OCPD, borderline personality disorder, and narcissistic personality disorder, splitting, or black-and-white thinking, is a typical defense mechanism. The defensive mechanism distorts thinking, resulting in either all good or all bad extremes.
OCPD is the only disorder in which splitting, a symptom of ego-syntonic behavior, is present. The diagnostic sign may be used to establish if a patient has OCPD as opposed to OCD.
Both OCD and OCPD can impede everyday functioning in social, occupational, and other areas of life. In addition, these conditions may induce interpersonal instability and raise the risk of social isolation, substance abuse, and mortality.
Consult with a mental health professional if you think you or someone you know may be experiencing OCD or OCPD. There are viable therapies for symptomatic relief, including cognitive behavioral therapy and psychotropic drugs.