What is the Difference Between OCD and OCPD?

November 14, 2023

A man with his hand on his forehead, depicting the difficulties in the ocd vs. ocpd comparison

OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) and OCPD (obsessive-compulsive personality disorder) are distinct mental health conditions. OCD involves persistent, unwanted thoughts leading to repetitive behaviors, while OCPD revolves around an excessive preoccupation with order and perfection.

This guide addresses issues that include:

  • What is OCPD vs OCD?
  • OCD vs OCPD symptoms.
  • OCD vs OCPD disorder treatment.

OCD vs OCPD Difference

OCD is an anxiety disorder associated with obsessions (unwanted, recurrent thoughts) and compulsions (repetitive and irrational behaviors).

OCPD, by contrast, is a cluster C personality disorder that is characterized by an inclination toward stringent orderliness, control, and perfectionism. Individuals exhibiting OCPD tendencies are often keen on maintaining authority over even the minutest aspects of their life, often at the cost of their adaptability and openness to new experiences.

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Being a personality disorder, OCPD entails stable, enduring, atypical, and challenging personality traits. Those with OCPD may encounter difficulties in relating to others due to their fixation on perfectionism and inflexible control, which can impair their functionality.

OCPD must be differentiated from other personality disorders like narcissistic personality disorder, histrionic personality disorder, and borderline personality disorder, as they each manifest distinct features and characteristics. While OCPD revolves around an obsession with achieving flawlessness, narcissistic personality disorder is characterized by an inflated sense of self-importance and a constant craving for admiration and recognition.

OCPD is a condition that is identified separately from OCD in DSM-5-TR (the latest revised edition of APA’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders).  Where OCPD is categorized among personality disorders, OCD is classified within its own group of mental conditions – obsessive-compulsive and related disorders.

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OCD vs OCPD Symptoms

Individuals with OCD commonly experience genuine obsessions and compulsions, which are time-consuming and induce distress. Those inclined towards OCD may often grapple with anxiety, given that OCD falls under the classification of anxiety disorders.

  • The obsessions associated with OCD can manifest as recurrent thoughts, concerns, or even mental imagery that is intrusive, unwelcome, and persistent.
  • The compulsions linked to OCD entail repetitive behaviors that a person feels compelled or driven to perform—typically as a means to alleviate anxiety or mitigate perceived risk. An instance of this might involve excessively washing the hands to alleviate a fear or perceived threat of germs.

Individuals with OCD are generally aware of their mental health condition. Conversely, individuals with obsessive-compulsive personality disorder may not recognize that they have a mental health condition. This applies to many people who meet the criteria for various personality disorders.

Indicators of OCPD primarily revolve around an intense preoccupation with perfectionism and a strong urge for control. Individuals with OCPD may exhibit symptoms such as:

  • Exercising emotional restraint or constraint.
  • Adhering to regulations in an inflexible and rigid manner.
  • Establishing order and checklists for various tasks.
  • Desiring to manage and regulate their relationships with others.
  • Experiencing difficulties in empathizing with others and maintaining intimate connections.
  • Displaying an exceptional dedication to their professional endeavors.
  • Struggling to part with belongings or yield control to others.
  • Pursuing perfection even in the minutest details.
  • Encountering challenges related to self-identity and self-direction.
  • Facing obstacles when relinquishing control and delegating tasks.

Diagnosis by a mental health professional involves differentiating between normal personality traits and clinically significant patterns that may indicate the presence of a personality disorder like OCPD.

OCD vs OCPD Comparison

When comparing OCPD vs OCD, keep in mind that they are distinct mental health conditions with unique characteristics, even if there is some overlap between the two. Understanding the fundamental distinctions between them can inform timely intervention and appropriate evidence-based treatment.


  • Categorized in DSM-5-TR under obsessive-compulsive and related disorders.
  • Accompanied by distress over thoughts and behaviors.
  • Symptoms tend to vary over time.
  • Involves true obsessions and/or compulsions.


  • Classified in DSM-5-TR as a personality disorder.
  • Involves a belief in the purpose of thoughts and behaviors.
  • Behaviors persist consistently.
  • Not driven by obsessions or compulsions.

Presence of true obsessions and/or compulsions

OCD is characterized by the presence of genuine obsessions (repetitive irrational thoughts) and/or compulsions (repetitive irrational behaviors) that significantly impact daily functioning and well-being. On the other hand, OCPD involves rigid behaviors that lack the intrusive, distressing nature of obsessions and compulsions typically seen in OCD.

Feelings about obsessive behaviors or thoughts

Individuals with OCD often experience distress related to their thoughts or behaviors, even when they cannot control them. Those with OCPD, on the other hand, tend to view their actions as purposeful and goal-oriented, leading them to perceive their behaviors in a positive light and potentially hindering their willingness to seek help.

Consistency of symptoms

OCD symptoms often fluctuate in response to anxiety levels, leading to variations in the intensity of behaviors. Conversely, OCPD symptoms tend to remain persistent and unchanging over extended periods, reflecting the inflexible nature of the personality disorder.

Both OCD and OCPD can coexist, with a significant percentage of individuals exhibiting symptoms of both disorders simultaneously. Studies suggest that a substantial proportion of people with OCPD may also have comorbid OCD, while a considerable percentage of those with OCD may exhibit symptoms of a co-occurring personality disorder.

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Get Treatment for OCD and OCPD at Connections

Do you or a family member need OCD treatment in Southern California? If so, we can help you improve functioning and overall well-being here at Connections Mental Health.

We designed our luxury treatment facility to combine pioneering psychiatric care with a welcoming and homely environment. Engage with treatment delivered by a team of passionate mental health professionals who utilize science-based and holistic treatments to improve overall well-being and restore functioning.

You will also find that peer support can be effective during inpatient treatment for OCD. At Connections, we only admit a handful of individuals at any one time to ensure that everyone gets the personalized care they need. When you are ready to take action and live unfettered by compulsions and obsessions, call 844-413-0009 for immediate assistance.

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