What’s The Difference Between OCD & OCPD?

Last Update on July 5, 2022 : Published on July 5, 2022

I am sure you must have heard of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) before. I mean we all use this term very loosely and tend to attach it to many behaviors that hint at perfectionism or compulsion.

Did you know there is a personality disorder which is very similar to OCD? Obsessive compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) is a psychological disorder which includes some compulsive behaviors as personality traits.

Now, you might have noticed how similar these two mental health conditions sound but both OCD and OCPD are two different conditions. In this blog we will be talking about the main difference between obsessive compulsive disorder and obsessive compulsive personality disorder.

Let’s get started…

What Is OCD and OCPD ? How To Differentiate Between OCD and OCPD?

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental health condition which is characterized by obsessive and intrusive thoughts and repetitive behavior. OCD is a condition which makes a person obsess over certain thoughts and to calm those racing thoughts you engage in a compulsive behavior which is repetitive in nature.

Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD) is a personality disorder which also includes obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors but only related to rules & regulations, orderliness, perfectionism and control. It falls in the cluster C of personality disorders.

Basically, Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a cognitive and behavioral disorder whereas obsessive compulsive personality disorder (OCPD), just like the name suggests, is a personality disorder.

What Is The Difference Between Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD) And OCD: Traits


To understand the main difference between OCD and OCPD, you will have to give a close look to the traits of a person with OCD and OCPD. “Is OCD the same as OCPD?” is a question stuck in many of our heads. Today we will sort this out, let’s look at the difference between OCD and OCPD in terms of traits;

Traits of a person with OCD;

  • Preoccupied with intrusive and obsessive thoughts
  • Invest a lot of time meeting to the expectations of their obsessions and compulsions
  • Ignore other important things to calm their obsessive thoughts causing a lot of psychological distress
  • Obsessive thoughts are repetitive in nature inclusive of intrusive thoughts, flashbacks and disturbing mental images
  • Repetitive behaviors caused by uncontrollable urge to comply with the obsessions
  • Repetitive behavior performed as a response to anxiety of perceived threat

Traits of a person with OCPD;

  • Always feel the need to control things
  • It is very difficult for them to comprehend others’ viewpoint
  • Compulsively hoard old or valuable belongings
  • Can’t deal with constructive criticism
  • Perfectionism
  • High achieving personality
  • Hell bent at following the rules and making others do that do

Does Obsessive compulsive personality disorder remind you of Dr. Sheldon Cooper from ‘The Big Bang Theory’ TV show? The more I think about OCPD, Sheldon Cooper is the only image that I have in mind.


Difference Between OCPD And OCD In Terms Of Causes

Both obsessive compulsive disorder and obsessive compulsive personality disorder might have similarities in their traits and the behaviors that they influence but when it comes to the causes there is a distinct difference between OCPD and OCD. Let’s have a look;

Causes of OCPD;

  • Genetics: can happen if there is a family history
  • Early Attachment issues: if there are attachment issuesin the childhood, the possibility of OCPD is increased

Causes of OCD;

  • Neurological discrepancy: when two regions of the brain do not communicate well
  • Genetics: can happen if there is a family history
  • Stress: Stress can lead to intrusive and obsessive thoughts which further leads to compulsive behavior
  • Environmental factors: living a life full of stress and anxiety, brain lesions or brain inflammation caused by some injections used in childhood.

What Is The Main Difference Between OCD And OCPD In Terms Of Treatment?

When we talk about the difference between OCD and OCPD, treatment is one such thing that completely differs in both OCD and OCPD. In case of obsessive compulsive personality disorder, most mental health professionals rely on a drug treatment involving selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) to treat someone with OCPD. In some cases doctors do recommend psychotherapy.

On the other hand, Obsessive compulsive disorder has more treatment options than OCPD. A person with OCD can be treated using therapeutic options like Cognitive behavior therapy, exposure and response prevention therapy and if need be some medicines might also be prescribed to manage the stress and anxiety.

That’s All Folks!

I hope you found this blog about the main difference between OCPD and OCD interesting and informative. I hope now you do not have any confusion in telling both OCD and OCPD apart since you know about all the differences between OCD and OCPD. Do share this blog with your friends and family so that we all know how to differentiate between OCD and OCPD.

Thanks for reading.

Take care and stay safe.

About The Author

Kirti Bhati
Kirti Bhati

I am an English literature (major) and psychology (minor) graduate from St. Bede’s College, Shimla. Postgraduate in Clinical psychology from IIS University, Jaipur. She has published a Research paper on Music therapy in the military population and Workplace stress in a national seminar conducted by Fortis hospital (gurugram) and international seminar conducted by St. Bede’s College, Shimla, Respectively. Authored a dissertation work on ‘effect of social media addiction on the mental and physical well-being in adolescents’ Currently working at calm sage as a writer.

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