Obsessive-Compulsive Spectrum Disorders
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Psychotherapy and Mental Health Questions

OCD vs. OCPD

Wed, Jun 14th 2000

What is the difference between obsessive compulsive disorder and obsessive compulsive personality disorder?

Are OCD and obsessive compulsive disorder the same? if not, what is the difference(s)?

Mark Dombeck, Ph.D. Responds

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (abbreviated OCD) and Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder (abbreviated OCPD) are related but not identical diagnoses. OCD is considered an "Axis I" diagnosis while OCPD is an "Axis II" diagnosis. Axis I disorders are generally ones that come on in early adulthood or later, while Axis II disorders (Personality disorders and Developmental Disorders) are generally present from a fairly early age. OCD is an anxiety disorder characterized by either Obsessions (intrusive, repetitive thoughts that won't leave the mind and that cause great anxiety) or Compulsions (repetitive behaviors that are designed to reduce anxiety brought on by obsessions). OCPD, on the other hand, is a personality style characterized by a preoccupation with "orderliness, perfectionism and mental and interpersonal control at the expense of flexibility, openness and efficiency" (DSM IV). The two disorders can occur separately, or they can co-occur. People with OCD are not necessarily perfectionists, but they can be.

- Mark Dombeck, Ph.D.




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