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Differences Between OCPD VS OCD

By July 22, 2019November 19th, 2020Dr. Jenny Yip, OCD

For many people around the world, suffering from certain disorders can negatively impact their daily lives. Two conditions that are often confused with each other are obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD). While both of these disorders sound the same, and there may be similar traits, they are considered and treated as two different disorders.

What is OCD?

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a chronic condition where a person will have unwanted thoughts or impulses. These thoughts are intrusive and uncontrollable as they repeat over and over again. A person with OCD will begin to experience anxiety due to these thoughts as they cause distraction and interfere with work, school or personal relationships.

These unwanted thoughts lead to compulsive behaviors in an attempt to relieve the anxiety briefly, such as checking locks, praying, counting, washing hands or cleaning obsessively. While anxiety is relieved, sufferers generally don’t gain pleasure from engaging in compulsions over and over again to feel right. A person with OCD usually knows that the thoughts and behaviors are excessive, yet cannot stop themselves from behaving in such a manner.

What is OCPD?

Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) is a characterological trait where a person can suffer from extreme neatness, order, rigidity, and perfectionism that encompass all areas of their life. In addition, a person with OCPD will also project these expectations onto other people and outside environments. They typically impose the same standards on others, or otherwise, become extremely angry, indignant or depressed.

When a person has OCPD, it can be difficult for them to express their feelings or form meaningful relationships. They may become isolated from social settings, and instead, become devoted to their work as they fixate on rules and perfection in every detail. The person will always feel that they are right and everyone else is wrong to the point where they have a hard time delegating tasks or responsibilities to others. Unfortunately, the need for tasks to be perfect often causes the work to be unfinished.

At times, OCPD can lead to hoarding behaviors and extreme frugality. Sufferers of OCPD often feel righteousness; that they can do no wrong and anything they do is always the right way.


When trying to determine the difference between OCD versus OCPD, keep in mind that OCD is an anxiety disorder while OCPD is a personality disorder. When a person has OCD, they know that their thoughts or impulses are not reasonable behaviors. The anxiety triggered from intrusive obsessions are often not based on real-life events. They recognize that the thoughts are irrational and excessive, yet have extreme difficulty controlling the urges to engage in subsequent compulsions to gain relief.

On the other hand, a person with OCPD wouldn’t think anything is wrong or obsessive with their thoughts or behaviors. They become so fixated with rules and lists in their daily life that they value and prioritize perfection over the bigger goal. Their symptoms often impair their relationships with coworkers, family and friends to the point where they become socially isolated.

A person with OCPD will often avoid treatment since they don’t believe there is anything wrong with how they think or behave, and typically only seek treatment when their job or personal relationships are threatened. Treatments can range from relaxation, medication and psychotherapy.

If you or a loved one suffer from OCD, the Renewed Freedom Center provides evidence-based treatment that is short-term with lasting benefits. We help children and adults manage OCD behaviors so that they can live fulfilling lives. Contact us today to learn more.