What are the key features that distinguish between Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?


Psychopathology : Foundations for a Contemporary Understanding

by James E. Maddux and Barbara A. Winstead

Original Question:

For this week’s Forum, respond to the following:  What are the key features that distinguish between Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?  Among the Cluster B Personality Disorders, how does a clinician differentially diagnose among Borderline, Histrionic, and Narcissistic Personality Disorders; in other words, what are the key distinguishing features among them?

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Reply to the following response with 200 words minimum. (please make response as if having a conversation, respond directly to some of the statements in below post. This is not providing an analysis of the original post. Respectfully address it and even ask clarifying or additional questions.)


It is possible for someone to have a personality disorder as well as an obsessive-compulsive disorder; one personality disorder, obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) appears to be most like obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Therefore, it is important to know the differences between these two disorders.

OCPD is defined as “the preoccupation with perfectionism, orderliness, and control” (Jacofsky, et al., 2014). Someone with OCPD tend to be rigid and will pay such extreme attention to rules and details that it will interfere with their ability to fully complete a task. This interferes with their work performance as they get so lost in the details of a project, it may cause them to miss a deadline to complete the project.  Additionally, they will become so dedicated to work and being productive, that they end up ignoring their family, friends, and leisurely hobbies or activities and cannot develop or maintain meaningful relationships.  OCD, on the other hand, is marked by the presence of true obsession and compulsions. The DSM-5 defines those tendencies as, “recurrent and unwanted thoughts and impulses that cause anxiety and distress; attempts to silence such unwanted thoughts by substituting them with new thoughts and/or actions; repetitive behaviors such as constant checking and handwashing and adopting such behaviors to stave off anxiety and distress” (Roccaforte, 2017).   The primary distinction between OCPD and OCD is the presence of obsession and compulsion, as with OCD, or the absence of them, as with OCPD.


Distinguishing features among Borderline, Histrionic, and Narcissistic Personality Disorders

The term personality disorder, refers to a diagnostic class of psychiatric disorders that are characterized by an inflexible, chronic, and maladaptive pattern of relating to society; that maladaptive behavior manifests in the way that a person feels, thinks, and behaves and the most significant feature of personality disorders is the negative affect on that person’s relationships.

Cluster B personality disorders, to include borderline, histrionic, and narcissistic, are dramatic and erratic. When a person has borderline PD, they essentially lack a sense of self and therefore, experience feelings of emptiness and fears of abandonment. They also have a pattern of intense but unstable relationships, outbursts of anger, emotional instability, and impulsive behavior (Burton, 2012). Someone with histrionic PD have a lack of self-worth; they depend on their wellbeing on the attention and approval of others (Burton, 2017). Because of that, they will take care of their physical appearance and behave in a way that is considered overly charming. If someone has narcissistic PD, they will have an extreme feeling of self-importance, entitlement, and a desire to e admired (Burton, 2017). They may be envious of others, lack empathy, and readily exploits others to achieve their goals. It may appear that they are controlling, selfish, and self-absorbed and if they feel obstructed or mocked, they can turn to revenge or other destructive anger-that reaction is referred to narcissistic rage.


Question to the class:

As I was researching histrionic PD, and found that someone with this personality disorder is dependent on the attention and approval of others, I could not help but think about our discussion on eating disorders. I would think that someone who has anorexia or bulimia nervosa will also likely have a personality disorder. Does the eating disorder stem from the personality disorder? Is it the other way around? Or can it occur either way?




Burton, N. (2017). The 10 personality disorders. Psychology Today. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/hide-and-seek/201205/the-10-personality-disorders

Jacofsky, M., Santos, M., Khemlani-Patel, S., Neziroglu, F. (2017). Obsessive-compulsive disorder versus obsessive-compulsive personality disorder.Disorders & Issues. Retrieved from https://www.mentalhelp.net/articles/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-versus-obsessive-compulsive-personality-disorder/

Roccaforte, C. (2017). Obsessive-compulsive disorder and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder are distinct but share some traits. Anxiety.org. Retrieved from https://www.anxiety.org/what-is-the-difference-between-ocpd-and-ocd-and-how-are-they-treated

** Please don’t just rephrase their info, but respond to it. Remember to answer question at the end. **