This week's assessment is from Karissa. She wrote in wanting to know the difference between obsessive-compulsive personality disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
How happy I am to oblige! I did a post not too long ago about Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD) here, so I won't go into that again. But the analogy I used on that post was that if neurosis was water and a person was a sponge, a person with OCPD would be completely saturated while a person with OCD would just be wet.
People with OCD are trapped in a pattern of endless thoughts and behaviors that really don't make a lot of sense and can't be stopped. The obsessive thought drives the compulsive action in a vicious cycle.
Obsessions have 4 criteria that all have to be present:
1) Thoughts, impulses, or images that are experienced as intrusive and inappropriate. They usually case marked anxiety or distress.
2) The thoughts are not simply excessive worries about real-life problems (like checking the doorknob and windows locks in a run-down neighborhood where break-ins are common).
3) The person attempts to ignore/suppress these thoughts or neutralize them with some other thought or action (the compulsion part of the equation).
4) The person recognizes that the obsessive thoughts are a product of their own mind.
Compulsions have 2 criteria:
1) Repetitive behaviors (like hand washing, ordering, checking) or mental acts (like praying, counting, repeating words silently) that the person feelings driven to perform in response to an obsession (see above) or to be in accordance with some rigid set of rules they have in their life.
2) The behaviors or mental acts are aimed at preventing or reducing distress (like preventing some dreadful event---like a break-in), but they aren't connected in a realistic way or are clearly excessive.
So a person with OCD has to fit the above picture, but they also have to realize at some point that the obsessions and compulsions are excessive or unreasonable and they do the following:
1) cause marked distress
2) be time consuming (like more than 1 hour a day)
3) significantly interfere with the person's normal routine (occupation or academic fuctioning, as well as social activities or relationships
People with OCD don't want to be OCD. They don't relish it. Their mind is a mind that just won't quit. They have no peace, no calm. That's what it's an anxiety disorder.
So while people with OCPD might share similar characteristics with OCD sufferers, the biggest difference might be that people with the personality disorder aren't in as much mental anguish. Some might even enjoy being the way they are...perfectionistic, conscientious, detailed, devoted, overly productive.
Hopefully this clears it up. I'm glad Karissa asked, because I meant to clarify this more after that personality disorder post and forgot! So thanks for the reminder.
Q4U: Any OCD or OCPD people in your books? How do you/could you find a balance between showing the obsessions and the compulsions within the written page?