Differences Between OCD And Obsessive-compulsive Personality Disorder

Differences between OCD and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder

Often, the diagnostic terms that professionals use to describe mental health disorders can be complex to differentiate. This is because, in part, many disorders have signs and symptoms that are very similar to each other or even share them.

In fact, there are two categories that are often confusing. Let’s see The differences between Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder since despite coinciding in several aspects, these are two different psychopathologies, which present certain particularities.

The main differences between OCD and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder

In this article we will dispel the main doubts when it comes to differentiating OCD from obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, two psychopathologies that many people mistakenly assume are the same.

1. They belong to different axes of the DSM-5

Firstly, although both OCD and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder are, precisely, mental health disorders, they belong to different axes within the most used manual in clinical practice, he Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disordersabbreviated as DSM. Currently, the current edition is the fifth. To allow psychology and psychiatry professionals to carry out evaluations that comprehensively consider people’s mental illness, in its latest editions, the DSM manual is based on a multiaxial classification of disorders.

In other words, multiaxial classification is how disorders are organized within the manual, based on the differentiation of five axes. The objective of this discrimination is to contemplate not only clinical psychiatric disorders—for example, major depression, panic disorder, schizophrenia, among many others, including OCD—; but also covers other axes that could increase a patient’s discomfort, such as personality disorders, medical pathologies or psychosocial problems.

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As we can see, therein lies the first difference between OCD and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder. As the name suggests, the latter is a personality disorder, while the former is a clinical psychiatric disorder. They belong to different axes. This is because A patient may present with both a clinical disorder and a personality disorder and the professional must have a theoretical reference to be able to differentiate them.

But now, what is the difference between a clinical disorder and a personality disorder? This will be resolved in the next item.

2. One is consistent with rigid personality traits; the other, a behavioral and psychological syndrome

All people have certain personality traits. These are, in part, a consequence of our learning histories and the family and social contexts in which we have grown up. These are patterns of thought and reaction that remain more or less stable throughout our lives. We could say that personality traits represent the stable “base” or “structure” that leads us to think, feel and act as we regularly do. A person can tend, let’s say, towards histrionics, without this implying a personality disorder.

Histrionics per se is a personality trait among many possible ones. However, when we talk about personality disorders, we are referring to those cases in which these traits are so marked and inflexible that they deteriorate the person’s functioning in their multiple vital areas and that deviate from what is expected according to the standards of the society to which they belong.

Here is a substantial difference between OCD and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder. A person suffers from an obsessive-compulsive personality disorder when their “base” tendency to thinking and behaving in a controlling and perfectionistic way It breaks into your interpersonal relationships, your work and any situation that demands a response that is not rigid but rather flexible. These people tend to make lists of all the tasks they must perform, establish unchangeable rules and be guided by schedules that cannot be modified, in any context.

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On the other hand, when we refer to a clinical psychiatric disorder such as OCD, people present dysfunctional behavioral or psychological patterns that emerge due to the influence of a set of factors. These factors—psychosocial, genetic, etc.—predispose a person to suffer a psychiatric disorder and, when they converge at a specific moment in a person’s life, they can emerge as a pathology. Unlike personality disorders, they are not specifically rooted in the person’s personality traits.

3. Obsessions are experienced differently

Although both disorders present persistent thoughts about topics—commonly, hygiene, order, numbers, religious ideas—in OCD these thoughts are intrusive ideas that occupy a large part of the patient’s mental space, they appear recurrently, They dominate it and conflict it internally. The patient with OCD experiences high levels of anxiety after having intrusive thoughts—that is, obsessions. Normally, he tends to disagree with them and recognizes that they are out of step with reality. However, although many patients manage to realize that thoughts in themselves have no effect on reality, they do feel the need to carry out a ritualistic action—compulsion—with the aim of drastically reducing that thought. anxiety; because obsessions can generate very high levels of suffering.

On the other hand, in patients with obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, the need to have everything under control and in order is more aligned with your personal values. Hygienic or classifying ideas are acceptable thoughts for the individual with obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, while for the patient with OCD they are inadmissible and cause a lot of discomfort.

4. They have different effects on the way we socialize

Finally, another substantial difference between patients with OCD and those with an obsessive-compulsive personality disorder can be observed in the way they relate to others.

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Those who suffer from a personality disorder of this type tend to express their emotions in a restricted way they find it difficult to bond with their colleagues in the work environment, and they hardly delegate tasks to others since giving up control threatens their order and marked perfectionism.

On the other hand, the bonds of patients with OCD could only be altered in the moments in which the person is having an intrusive thought and feels forced to carry out a compulsion. Or, failing that, OCD could undermine bonds when the person avoids social situations due to the content of their obsessions. But beyond these cases, people with OCD do not have problems relating interpersonally like those who suffer from a personality disorder.