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Contrary to Popular Belief, OCD And OCPD Are Very Different

People often get confused between OCD and OCPD and tend to use these terms interchangeably. However, these are two different terms and two very distinct disorders.

While OCD or obsessive-compulsive disorder is characteristics by two sets of symptoms referred to as obsessions and compulsions, OCPD or obsessive-compulsive personality disorder is a serious personality disorder governed by the presence of persistent thoughts pertaining to rules, orderliness and control.

In simple words, people with OCD are either obsessed or compulsive about ritualistic or day-to-day behaviors while those living with OCPD relentlessly pursue perfection, which directly affects their relationships with others.

Let us understand the differences between the two through a parallel analysis:

Category OCD OCPD
Definition/ Concept Is an anxiety disorder in which a person exhibits recurrent episodes of obsessions and compulsions.

  • Obsession

Obsessions tend to evoke uncontrollable urges to perform specific actions like putting things in order/symmetry.

It may also include thoughts related to religion, sex, or aggression.

  • Compulsions

Compulsions include repetitive actions, such as cleaning, washing, counting, arranging, checking or verifying, or acting out specific routines.

Typically, both obsessions and compulsions are performed to overcome the anxiety bothering OCD patients, rather than for self-pleasure.

Is a personality disorder characterized by the preoccupation with the pursuit for

  • Perfectionism
  • Orderliness
  • Mental and Interpersonal Control

However, it may make an individual rigid, stubborn and inefficient causing conflict in relationships.

  • The specific effects of the above mentioned traits tend to interfere with one’s ability to execute a project or task, owing to self-imposed overly strict standards. 
  • Further, they tend to make one over conscientious and inflexible in matters concerning morality, ethics, or values.
  • People with OCPD have decreased ability to delegate tasks due to their strict adherence to perceived methods of accomplishing the tasks.
Behavioral Aspects People with OCD

  • Are generally aware of their disorder
  • Have their thoughts, fears, and behaviors independent of real life concerns
  • Acknowledge the fact that they need help to overcome the disorder
  • Do not lose their ability to empathize for others
  • May experience relief from symptoms with medication
People with OCPD

  • Are ignorant of their disorder
  • Tend to maintain rigidity about their habits, procedures, and routine affairs
  • Generally, continue to be good employees, as long as their interpersonal relationships do not bother them
  • Never believe that they require any kind of treatment
  • Lack empathy for others
  • May experience relief from symptoms with medication
Treatment The treatment program for people suffering from OCD focuses on managing symptoms and helping improve quality of life.

The two evidence-based obsessive-compulsive disorder treatments include medications and psychotherapy, or a combination of both.


Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is accepted as the gold standard treatment for people with OCD.

A specific component of CBT called as exposure and response prevention (ERP) therapy has been found to be effective in managing obsessions.

Medicines may be prescribed to help relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression experienced by people with OCPD.

Talk therapy is another effective therapeutic approach for OCPD.

In some cases, medicines combined with talk therapy can work wonders for those with OCPD.

Other treatment interventions for OCPD may include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Psychodynamic psychotherapy
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)

People looking to understand more about OCD and how it is different from OCPD in terms of signs and symptoms and available treatment modalities can contact Athena Behavioral Health. We have a residential campus in Gurgaon that can offer a safe, secure and judgement free environment for OCD patients to recover. Call our 24 x 7 x 365 helpline 9289086193 or chat online with our representative for further assistance and guidance.