What Is the Difference Between OCD and OCPD?

You’ve probably heard of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). However, have you heard of OCPD? OCPD, or obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, has some similarities to OCD, but it also has many differences. Let us contrast OCD and OCPD.


OCD is a mental health disorder marked by intrusive thoughts and repetitive behaviors. On the other hand, OCPD is a personality disorder. A personality disorder, unlike a mental health disorder, which may be temporary and treatable, is a lifelong disorder that disrupts thoughts, behavior, and mood. These issues can be extremely upsetting to a person.

Symptoms of OCD vs. Symptoms of OCPD

OCD manifests itself in the form of excessive and sometimes intrusive thoughts, images, and impulses. Obsessions that are common in OCD patients include:

  • Contamination: Concern about contamination from bodily fluids, germs, household chemicals, and pollutants in the environment.
  • Sexual: Negative sexual thoughts and images
  • Violent: Excessive fear of causing harm to oneself or others, or excessive mental images of violence or horror
  • Religious: Obsessive fear of offending God or being damned
  • Identity: Obsessive thoughts about sexual orientation or gender 
  • Responsibility: Fear of something terrible happening and being held responsible, or fear of causing harm to someone by not being cautious enough.
  • Perfectionism is defined as a fear of making mistakes and an obsessive concern with being perfect.
  • Relationships: Excessive fear of one’s partner and his or her flaws and qualities

OCD compulsions include:

  • Excessive cleaning and washing
  • Repetition of words or tasks
  • Checking situations to ensure that you did not cause harm to others
  • Rearranging items until they feel comfortable.
  • Counting while doing a task 
  • Praying to prevent harm

OCPD patients may experience the following symptoms:

  • Obsessive dedication to work that interferes with other activities
  • Obsessive fixation on rules, lists, and minor details 
  • The inability to complete tasks due to excessive perfectionism
  • Obsession with moral and ethical codes 
  • Hoarding behaviors

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Quiz & Self-Assessment

Do I have OCD? Take this quiz to evaluate if you may require the assistance of a mental health professional for the diagnosis and treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.

Distinctions Between OCPD and OCD

The main distinction between these two disorders is that OCD can develop later in life as a result of certain factors or events, whereas OCPD is a personality disorder that is inherited.

Many of the symptoms are shared by those suffering from OCPD. The difference between these two disorders is that people with OCPD frequently lack self-awareness. This means they are more likely to act on impulses without realizing it, causing harm to themselves or those around them.

Another distinction between OCD and OCPD patients is that OCD patients attempt to control specific factors to disengage their obsessions. People with OCPD, on the other hand, prefer to have total control over the situation.

There are also emotional differences between OCD and OCPD patients. Those with OCD, for example, are more prone to feeling anxious, especially when things aren’t going as planned. Instead, people with OCPD are more prone to feelings of rage and anger.

Another significant distinction between these two disorders is that people with OCD are frequently insecure about their obsessions and compulsions, whereas OCPD patients work hard to conceal their insecurities not only from others but also from themselves.

Finally, OCD patients prefer compulsive behaviors and rituals, whereas OCPD patients prefer to plan and work.

Pic: OCD

Treatment for OCD vs. OCPD

While these two disorders are distinct, there is no denying that there is a significant link between them, with similar symptoms. Treatment can be challenging, particularly for those who have both disorders. When these disorders coexist, the effects and symptoms of OCD are frequently amplified, leading to a higher rate of depression and alcohol consumption.

Furthermore, those with both OCD and OCPD do not appear to respond well to cognitive behavioral therapy. They are also resistant to exposure and ritual prevention. This could be because OCPD patients struggle with commitment and trust. Results in the treatment of these two disorders can take time and patience.

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