Differences between obsessive-compulsive disorder and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder - Camp Lejeune Globe: Carolina Living

Differences between obsessive-compulsive disorder and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder

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Posted: Thursday, August 30, 2018 12:00 am

You may have heard the phrase “I’m OCD,” as it has become a colloquial term. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) gets frequently confused with obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD). However, both disorders can make life very challenging for people living with them. In this week’s edition of “Raising Healthy Minds,” I want to differentiate between the two and provide clarity.

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5), OCD is characterized by the presence of actual obsessions and compulsions which include recurrent and unwanted thoughts and impulses that cause significant anxiety and distress. Behaviors become ritualistic. If one does not perform a specific ritual, great distress is felt and can be accompanied by an irrational fear (repeatedly touching a door knob so someone won’t break in). People living with OCD try to muzzle these unwanted thoughts by substituting them with new ones. Other classic symptoms include repetitive mannerisms such as constant checking (i.e. seeing if a door is locked), handwashing and adopting any such habits to ward off the anxiety and distress.

The DSM-5 defines OCPD as "a pervasive pattern of preoccupation with orderliness, perfectionism and mental and interpersonal control, at the expense of flexibility, openness and efficiency." This is the disorder people are actually referring to when they say “I have OCD.” People suffering from OCPD are perpetual perfectionists and have an unquenchable desire for control and order. They may display conduct such as excessive devotion to work with little to no regard to recreation or social activity. This is often accompanied by an inability to part with items that are no longer useful or practical, leading to hoarding and similar tendencies. Individuals with OCPD are highly unlikely to acknowledge there is any issue with their behavior and will often focus blame onto others when obstacles come.

One of the key differences between the two disorders is the ability to delay gratification. Those with OCPD can delay the need for immediate reward in their rigid pursuit of some future objective for an almost indefinite period, while those with OCD are continually in search of instant gratification. While very different in nature, the two disorders do share a few traits: a fear of contamination, a fascination with symmetry and a badgering sense of doubt.

Treatment for OCD and OCPD can be difficult. Different forms of therapy can be utilized in addition to anti-anxiety and antidepressants to relieve the symptoms. If you are concerned you or a loved one might be living with OCD or OCPD, seek professional diagnosis and treatment with an established local mental health provider. Both the professional and personal lives of those with OCD and OCPD can become significantly disrupted by the extreme behaviors they can exhibit. As always with your mental health, be your own biggest advocate.

For more information on local resources, visit www.mccslejeune-newriver.com/counseling.

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