OCD and OCPD: Differences and Symptoms Explained

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You may have heard of both OCD and OCPD. Even if you are not a medical professional, these terms have made their way into the public consciousness in the modern era. Many individuals have these conditions, and you might even be related to one of them.


OCD symptoms and OCPD symptoms are not exactly the same, though. There are also distinct differences between the two conditions. Let’s talk about them in the following article.


What is OCD?


OCD is shorthand for obsessive-compulsive disorder. It is a condition that millions of people have, so it’s not that uncommon.


If you have it, that means you have thoughts that compel you to act repetitively. In the medical community, these are called compulsions. You may not want to act in these ways, but stopping yourself can be challenging.


Usually, you will have fears or intrusive thoughts that lead you to act in the ways that you do. You may feel that something bad is going to happen if you don’t follow a set routine, for instance. As you might imagine, those who have this condition often find that it can be a detriment to living their life in a happy and healthy way.  


What is OCPD?


As for OCPD, that is obsessive-compulsive personality disorder. This is a mental health condition. If you have it, you are usually preoccupied with control, order, and having a set way of doing things.


You are always striving for perfection if you have OCPD. However, what you consider to be perfection is often difficult or impossible to maintain.


You may seek perfection in relationships or other aspects of your life. Since there is always bound to be some degree of chaos and disorder in the world, though, having OCPD can make you miserable if you can’t find a way to get your symptoms and behaviors under control.  


How Are They Different?


These two conditions share some similarities, but there are some key differences between them as well. If you have OCD, that’s thought of by the medical community as being a mental health disorder. The repetitive behaviors and excessive thoughts about a particular topic are hallmarks of it.


By contrast, OCPD is considered a personality disorder. In the medical community, the terms “personality disorder” and “mental health disorder” are not interchangeable.


The difference, according to most doctors, is that if you have a mental health disorder, that might be something that’s treatable and that you may struggle with from time to time. If you have a personality disorder, though, that’s something more permanent. Such disorders are thought to be lifelong problems.


It follows that if you have OCPD, you’re probably going to continue to grapple with it for all of your life. It will likely impact your mood, behavior, and thoughts. That might sometimes be true with OCD, but you will probably have an easier time getting it under control.


Either situation is treatable, though, and getting help becomes paramount if you’ve been diagnosed with one of them.