Understanding OCD and OCPD

Understanding OCD and OCPD

Diagnosis of mental disorders is primarily based on self-reported symptoms by the patients and expertise of health experts. But some mental illnesses share overlapping symptoms and may pose a challenge for a psychiatrist to differentiate between the two. In such a case, even the diagnostic questionnaire filled by the patient may not determine the accuracy of the disorder. For instance, individuals might seek medical assistance for depression when they would, in reality, be struggling with a more serious bipolar disorder. Similar is the case with OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) and OCPD (obsessive compulsive personality disorder).

Here is a scenario to help you understand the two conditions:

John is obsessed about order and symmetry. He likes to do things in a peculiar way. The amount of time he spends on organizing things systematically outrages him at times. He spends excessive time doing and undoing things until he feels right. His compulsion to attend to details tend to disrupt day-to-day functioning and causes him a great deal of distress.

On the other hand, Mary, his sister, is a perfectionist. She likes to perform every task with perfection and be in control of her surroundings. She thinks herself to be better than anyone else both at workplace and home. When things don’t go right, she gets easily annoyed.

Do they have OCD or OCPD?

Distinguishing OCD from OCPD

While OCD and OCPD may share a somewhat similar name and also some common symptoms, they vary in different ways. Both the disorders can be differentiated based on the cycle of experience. While OCPD is a personality disorder where a person gets caught up in getting things right, clean and perfect, OCD is a behavioral disorder stemming from recurrent obsessions and compulsions.

OCD is a genetic predisposition, often triggered by a stressful or traumatic experience. It includes unwanted thoughts, images or ideas that are difficult to control and are likely to cause extreme distress. In order to deal with the triggers, individuals involve themselves in certain behaviors, specific tasks or rituals with the aim of ‘fixing’ what appears wrong to them. Common compulsions include cleaning the house, counting the money, washing hands, checking if the doors or drawers are locked, and ensuring things are kept in an order.

But OCPD pronounces a different pattern of compulsions. Affected people may exhibit unhealthy perfectionism wanting to get hold of everything around them. They are more concerned about completing tasks and eventually, may become irrational, judgmental, dominating and stubborn. Their partners and families may find it hard to adjust with them and consequently, have relationship troubles. Some of the debilitating features of OCPD include:

  • Excessive dedication to work at the expense of personal life
  • Rigidity with respect to matters of religion and ethics
  • Inability to get rid of things that no longer have any value
  • Preoccupation with minute things or details, rules, lists and order to the extent of ignoring other important activities

Sufferers of both the conditions may display lack of flexibility and indecisiveness, which negatively impact their overall quality of life. But one key difference is that behavior of OCD-affected people is driven by excessive worry or fear about something that is hard to control. They seek treatment to cure anxiety. However, those suffering from OCPD may consult a health expert reluctantly as they do not find any fault in their attitude or behavior.

Road to recovery

Most mental disorders, when left undiagnosed or untreated, lead to devastating consequences, such as substance abuse, depression, criminal activities, risky behavior and even suicide. It is better to consult a psychiatrist at the earliest, and lead a healthy and happy life.

If you or a loved one is looking to recover from mental health problems like OCD or OCPD, the Colorado Mental Health Help representatives can suggest the best mental health treatment rehab in Colorado where trained therapists and effective intervention plans help a person achieve a stable life. Call us on our 24/7 helpline 866-899-5063 or chat online to get assistance in finding the finest options in mental health treatment centers in Colorado.