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Personality Disorders are like tips of icebergs. They rest on a foundation of causes and effects, interactions and events, emotions and cognitions, functions and dysfunctions that together form the individual and make him or her what s/he is. I have always been interested in people, their ways of thinking and behaving. Studying psychology has partially satisfied my curiosity, however, I have also ended up more intrigued then ever! I have a great interest in neuropsychology or simply, the way our brains work. I have worked in various mental health environments and have seen the effects that absence of good mental health can have on people. However, I have also become much more aware of the ignorance and stigma, which is unfortunately, still attached to mental illnesses and mental instabilities. I have set up a web site as well as this blog to promote the awareness of mental health and the related issues, to help eliminate the prejudiced thinking prevalent in our societies. I hope both will develop into useful resources for different individuals and I look forward to all the interesting comments and posts from the readers, who are all welcome to sign up to the blog.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) versus Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD)

It has only been a few weeks since launching my personality disorders website and I must say, I am absolutely thrilled about the feedback and comments coming in. Many have already given their ideas and suggestions and I shall endeavour to consider and work on these to make sure that the site becomes a good and inspiring source of information.

A feedback from one OCD sufferer has initiated the content of this post, in which I would like to emphasize the DIFFERENCE between OCD and OCPD – two distinctly different conditions that are often the subject of much confusion. While they share similar names and some common symptoms between them, the two are very different forms of mental illness that should be recognized as such.

OCD is an anxiety-related disorder rather than a personality disorder. A person with OCD experiences frequent intrusive and unwelcome obsessional thoughts, often followed by repetitive compulsions, impulses or urges. Compulsions are repetitive physical behaviours and actions or mental thought rituals that are performed over and over again in an attempt to relieve the anxiety caused by the obsessional thoughts.

OCPD is a condition in which a person is preoccupied with rules, orderliness and control. It is a type of personality disorder marked by rigidity, control, perfectionism, and an over-concern with work at the expense of close interpersonal relationships. People with OCPD tend to stress perfectionism above everything else, and feel anxious when they perceive that things are not right. They may hoard money, keep their home perfectly organized, or be anxious about delegating tasks for fear that they will not be completed correctly.

So how do we best distinguish between the conditions?

As expressed by the OCD suffer herself, “...those with OCPD are usually controlling, dislike delegating, and rarely seek treatment of their volition as they think they are right, whereas those with OCD are tortured by anxiety and would do anything to get rid of their obsessions”.

The biggest difference between OCD and OCPD is the fact that obsessions and compulsions do not exist in OCPD in the same sense they exist for sufferers of OCD. OCD sufferers tend to spend much more of their time dealing with rituals and repeated actions than those with OCPD and they are usually distressed by having to carry out these tasks or rituals. In contrast, people with OCPD view activities such as excessive list making or organization of items around the home as necessary and even beneficial.

Finally, whereas the severity of OCD symptoms will often fluctuate over time, OCPD is chronic in nature, with little change in personality style. As such, both condition subsequently require a specific treatment.


  1. Quotes by Dr David M Burn. Perhaps, The OCPD could at least try to achieve these thoughts :

    Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make you a far happier and more productive person....

    Assert your right to make a few mistakes. If people can't accept your imperfections, that's their fault.

    Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life.

    I have learned to listen to my "Positive Self" and have been able to hold perfectionism at bay !

    Dr Fred

  2. I have just had a brief article published on the above topic - it can be accessed on:


    Best Wishes,

  3. Are OCPDs more likely to slip into OCD?

  4. This one is good. keep up the good work!..
    Focus Vogue