Difference Between OCD and OCPD

Main Difference – OCD vs OCPD

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD) are two distinct psychiatric conditions that share so many common features, making them bit confusing and controversial to differentiate one from the other. However, it is very important to identify the line of demarcation solely for the purpose of making a proper diagnosis and treatment plans accordingly. Although OCD and OCPD patients may engage in several repetitive behaviors, OCD is a form of anxiety disorder and OCPD is a personality disorder. OCD patients will accept that they are suffering from a disorder and will seek medical help; however, OCPD patients will be reluctant to accept that they need medical help. This is the main difference between OCD and OCPD.Difference Between OCD and OCPD - infographic

What is OCD

This is a form of anxiety disorder, where an individual goes through recurrent episodes of obsessions and compulsions. It can be defined as a chronic psychological condition where a person possesses uncontrollable yet recurring thoughts (obsessions) and behaviors (compulsions) which he wants to repeat over and over again without any definable reason.

Obsessions are known to be the recurrent thoughts and images by which a person develops nervousness and anxiety. They mainly include emotions, feelings, visuals and various ideas which are mostly unnecessary and cause severe distress and tension to the person. Fear of getting contaminated with germs when using public washrooms or hotel rooms, taboo feelings about intimacy and religion, aggressive thoughts about other people, the need of having random things in a proper symmetrical order etc. are some examples of thoughts experienced by OCD patients.

Compulsions are repeated behavioral patterns where an affected individual develops a strong desire to act responsively to his own obsessive thoughts. The commonest examples for compulsions are known to be arranging random things in a symmetrical or orderly way, excessive hand washing and recurrent checking of certain things (repeatedly checking if a door is locked or not) etc.

People who have OCD find it hard to control thoughts and behaviors even if they are found to be unwanted; they spend at least 1 hour a day on thinking about these thoughts and  develop anxiety over happiness of fulfillment and go through various issues in life due to their own behaviors.

Difference Between OCD and OCPD

What is OCPD

This is a form of personality disorder where a person experiences steady ideas about certain things, adhere excessively to rules and regulations, dislike giving responsibilities to others even if they are really close, excessive attachment to certain things in life like family, society, and work, overly fixation to minor details, perfectionism which demands various unimportant needs in life, and lack of generosity.

Additionally, OCPD affected individuals often get manipulated by their own thoughts of perfectionism and own a greater control in their personal, social and professional lives.  Therefore, they will always get irritated by others who do not follow their ways of orderly manners, rules, and regulations.

Main Difference - OCD vs OCPD

Difference Between OCD and OCPD


OCD: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a form of anxiety disorder.

OCPD: Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder is a form of personality disorder. 

Signs and Symptoms

OCD: Signs and symptoms vary in severity over time.

OCPD: Signs and symptoms don’t necessarily tend to change over an individual’s lifespan.   


OCD: OCD patients can be identified since they are highly characterized by obsessions and compulsions.

OCPD: OCPD patients are hard to be noted in a crowd.

Internal Motive

OCD: OCD may start arranging furniture at home in an orderly manner, just to prevent from a certain catastrophe from taking place.

OCPD: OCPD affected person will tend to engage in the same behavior due to the real need of maintaining cleanliness and productivity.

Medical Treatment

OCD: People suffering from OCD will always try to seek medical help since they want to get rid of the unwanted thoughts and behavior.

OCPD: People suffering from OCPD do not really find any fault with their thoughts and behavior.

Type of Treatment 

OCD: OCD patients will seek medical help to control their symptoms and tension on day to day activities.

OCPD: OCPD patients will try to get treatment only due to everyday conflicts and arguments with family and friends; they will always highlight the fact that others are wrong but not them.

Image Courtesy:

“Perfectionism – Measuring Grass Blade” By Lyn Lomasi – Own work, (CC0) via Wikimedia Commons 

“OCD handwash” By Lars Klintwall Malmqvist (Larsklintwallmalmqvist) – Own work, (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia

About the Author: Embogama

Embogama is a passionate freelance writer for several years. Her areas of interest include general medicine, clinical medicine, health and fitness, Ayurveda medicine, psychology, counseling and piano music