Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental health disorder defined by the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) as having repetitive and persistent thoughts that are intrusive in nature. These distressful thoughts are either repressed or carried out by compulsions, which are repetitive actions in response to the persistent thoughts carried out in order to relieve the tension and anxiety brought by the thoughts. Examples of compulsions include tapping, counting, praying, checking, hand washing, cleaning, and repeating words over and over again.
According to statistics, approximately 2.5% of individuals are diagnosed with OCD and this disorder usually presents between 10-24 years of age and is known to affect both men and women equally. OCD can be so debilitating that it affects an individual’s daily activities. A person with OCD may cook a meal but is not able to enjoy it because they are so pre-occupied with checking the stove to see if it is still on. Additionally, going out in public can cause extreme distress, as the individual may be obsessed with wondering if they locked their house or car door. The constant repetitive maladaptive thoughts can create havoc within personal relationships and although the compulsions are meant to relieve stress these actions can also cause a lot of distress for the individual and their loved ones. OCD is ego-dystonic meaning that theses thoughts and compulsions are distressing and unacceptable to the individual’s core beliefs.
OCPD is a personality disorder where the individual desires to main in full control of every situation. It is characterized by orderliness, perfectionism and excessive devotion to work to the point they exclude hobbies and friendships. The individual is often detail oriented and when things do not work out in their favor they can quickly become angry. They may be so obsessed with orderliness, rules, organization, lists and schedule that they often become so pre-occupied that cannot complete the task at hand. Additionally they often practice hoarding behaviors, unable to spend money they earn or give away used items and clothing. The individual prefers this lifestyle and usually does not see this as a disorder but rather as a productive way to live.
The compulsions or actions seen in this personality disorder are driven out of fear of being negatively judged or evaluated by others. This differs from the compulsions in OCD that are carried out in order to alleviate the anxiety from the individual’s repetitive thoughts. Since OCPD is a personality disorder, it is usually diagnosed in adulthood and is known to affect twice as many males as females. Additionally this disorder is ego-syntonic meaning that these characteristics of mental and interpersonal control are satisfying to the individual and align with their core beliefs, as opposed to the ego dystonic thoughts and compulsions seen in OCD.