Most People Don't Know The Difference Between OCD And OCPD
The general public has trouble understanding differences between obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD), according to new research from Binghamton University, State University at New York.
"Our culture tends to value individuals who are highly organized and detail-oriented," said Binghamton University Ph.D. student Elyse Stewart, lead author on the paper. "It is common to hear someone joke, 'I am so OCD!' because of this cultural emphasis. But these statements fail to recognize that both OCD and OCPD are debilitating conditions."
A research team including Elyse Stewart and Binghamton University psychology professor Meredith Coles analyzed data from hundreds of phone interviews to study how the public recognizes and understands OCD and OCPD. They asked questions regarding the differentiation between someone who is "obsessive-compulsive" and someone who has OCD or OCPD. Each individual was asked three questions. The questions were: (1) "Sometimes people are said to be 'obsessive-compulsive.' What do you think this means? There is no one perfect answer." (2) "Have you ever heard of obsessive compulsive disorder?" (3) "As far as you know, is a person with obsessive-compulsive disorder different from someone who you would describe as obsessive-compulsive? In what ways do they differ?" The individuals were also asked to describe their race, sex, income and level of education.
The researchers found that the public was generally unsure of the difference between OCD and OCPD. Those with higher education and incomes were more likely to be able to recognize and define OCD than those with lower education and incomes, with emphasis on education level. Almost half of participants felt there was no difference between someone with OCD and someone who is obsessive-compulsive.
"Individuals who have OCD experience extreme distress related to unwanted intrusive thoughts or feelings," Stewart said. "They engage in a compulsion (some behavior or mental act) to reduce this distress. Individuals with OCPD are characterized by a preoccupation with perfectionism and orderliness that can interfere with their ability to be flexible in different situations."
The project confirmed what previous research had indicated, that more work is necessary to increase the public's knowledge and awareness of OCD.
"It is critical for schools to discuss mental health care with young people," Stewart said. "The earlier that individuals learn about mental health conditions, symptoms, and treatment options, the sooner those individuals can seek appropriate and proactive care. Implementing mental health curriculum in early education would help destigmatize the topic and prioritize care and intervention."
The team is planning to look into how OCD develops and how symptoms are maintained. They hypothesize sleep-related factors may influence the severity of OCD symptoms.
Stewart, E, et al. “Public Recognition and Perceptions of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.” Community Mental Health Journal., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2018, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30101380.
Disclaimer: anxietycentre.com is not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted at anxietycentre.com by contributing institutions or for the use of any information throughout anxietycentre.com's system.
The combination of good self-help information and working with an experienced anxiety disorder coach, counselor, or therapist is the most effective way to address anxiety disorder and its many symptoms. Until the core causes of anxiety are addressed - the underlying factors that motivate apprehensive behavior - a struggle with anxiety disorder can return again and again. Identifying and successfully addressing anxiety's underlying factors is the best way to overcome problematic anxiety.
For more information about our Anxiety Counseling option; our Available Anxiety Therapists; to Book An Appointment with one of our anxiety therapists; common Anxiety Signs and Symptoms; common Anxiety Attack Symptoms; the symptoms of panic attack disorder; anxiety Recovery Support area; information about Anxiety; and our Anxiety 101 section; or click on the appropriate link or graphic below:
Return to our anxiety research page.
Authors: Jim Folk, Marilyn Folk, BScN. Last updated November 20, 2018.