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What is the difference between Perfectionism and OCD?

61 Answers
Last Updated: 04/17/2020 at 6:04pm
What is the difference between Perfectionism and OCD?
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Top Rated Answers
August 18th, 2017 8:58am
The two are very similar however OCD means the person feels like they have no control over their thoughts and have to carry out specific rituals to ease these thoughts as they don't leave them alone. Perfectionists on the other hand, will have the thoughts to do everything most perfectly it can be however these thoughts do not stay on their mind if they don't act - they have more control.
September 1st, 2017 10:35am
Perfectionism is something that you want to be in a certain order every time. Ocd is a disorder that makes you do a task perfectly. Even if you think you missed something.
November 8th, 2017 3:57pm
OCD is characterized by intrusive thoughts that you can't make go away and they can be about anything, not just necessarily having things neat or in order. as well, OCD patients suffer from compulsions, which are acts that the person must perform or they get intense anxiety and cannot function normally. These compulsions can be anything, not necessarily related to a specific intrusive thought.
November 16th, 2017 9:38pm
ocd makes you to do things, even if u dont want it. finally u wont get enjoyed. perfectionism makes u to do things how u like, finally u are satisfied.
December 6th, 2017 5:19pm
They have differences between them. We cant say OCD all the people who are perfectionist. Everyone wants to be the best all the things they do. But if perfectionism damage the functionality of life, we can call it OCD. If you cant maintain your live for your perfectionism, you should talk an expert about it.
December 29th, 2017 9:16pm
OCD is all too often associated with perfectionism but not all obsessions are based on perfection or order. The generic premise of OCD is that intrusive thoughts generate crippling anxiety that requires compulsions to reduce or temporarily eliminate the anxiety. These thoughts can take on any form, some people have suicidal or homicidal thoughts, some have thoughts that something terrible will happen, and some feel that they are stricken with a terrible illness. Personally I constantly have intrusive thoughts that I will ruined my marriage or that I will be abusive towards my cats.
January 10th, 2018 1:31am
As someone who suffers from OCD, I can confirm that the two are extremely different! OCD involves intrusive thoughts, more often than not they're distressing. OCD also usually comes along with rituals or compulsions to prevent certain things from happening. From my understanding, perfectionism is just enjoying when things are correctly done.
January 26th, 2018 12:43am
I would say that people don't understand the different. To explain, if someone is a perfectionist, there is a defined subject, code of ethics, behavior. They have in their mind what their idea of perfect is, and although they may stray from the mark and it may bother them, this is not "obsessive compulsive disorder" and the folks that are constantly parroting "OMG, I'm so OCD, its not even funny!" are not helping those who actually have it. Obsessive compulsive disorder is a pervasive illness in which a person has repetitive and unwanted thoughts or feelings and engage in behaviors/ compulsions due to those thoughts or feelings to reduce the impact that those negative thoughts or feelings may be having on them at that moment. Some comparisons: Perfection: I never leave a single dirty dish in the sink. OCD: "I put my hand in the sink three times before I left the house to make sure there were no dishes in the sink. I did it again before I left the house and said outloud three times that there are no dishes left in the sink and I know that there arent any because I took a picture of the empty sink on my cellphone so I could check and make sure that it was dated today so that I know for sure that there are no dirty dishes in the sink while I'm at work, and I checked to make sure that my date and time were correct several times to make sure that the photo of the dishes in the sink wasnt from a different day because somehow the phone was no longer getting the correct time on the sink and I called my husband at 10am to confirm that even though I have a picture, the time is correct, i touched the bottom of the sink three times, and again before I left that there are definately, 100% no dishes in the sink. I think I'm going to go home on my lunch just to make sure." Perfectionist: I never leave things plugged in around the house when I leave. OCD: If I leave anything in the house pluged in it will cause a fire, so at first I started touching the outlets three times each with each one having nothing plugged in, but then it started taking too much time so now when I leave the house I just shut the main breaker to the house off so I know for sure there will be no fires, and then I take a picture of the breaker off to make sure, and then finally I call my neighbor and ask if my house burned down. I pretend I'm joking so they wont judge me" If this answer seems harsh, its from all the people using "OCD" as an excuse to cover up their bad manners and just wanting things to be there way because they have personality flaws and are not able to get along well with others. If you have ever said "I have to have it this way because I'm so OCD!" you probably arent, becuase I as well as other who actually have obsessive compulsive disorder try to hide it and will not usually admit to it under most circumstances because people think we are crazy for our number choices, the way that we do things, or how we go about making things ok for ourselves.
February 2nd, 2018 8:50pm
Perfectionism is where you want to feel accepting by being the best and always doing the best. OCD is when you feel the need to do something, subconsciously doing something merely because something in your mind forces you to.
March 19th, 2018 8:20pm
I think a perfectionist could stop himself if he wanted to. People with OCD just cannot stop their thoughts even when they couldn't handle more.
March 31st, 2018 1:01am
As someone who has suffered from OCD for the past 6 years I will tell you, The one thing someone with OCD hates, Is when a perfectionists says "I'm SO OCD" OCD is not a adjective, It is a (rather terrible) condition characterized by rituals, specific thinking patterns, and sometimes crippling anxiety... A common myth is that people with OCD are perfectionists, or need things perfect, in fact this is not true, a portion of people with OCD In fact have hoarding disorder as well, most of my rituals consistent having things crooked or piled for example! 😉
April 4th, 2018 4:33am
Perfectionism is the desire to have everything completely perfect, whereas OCD is when someone feels everything must be perfect otherwise something bad will happen. People with OCD also experience intrusive thoughts, obsessions and horrible mental images that they cannot forget.
April 21st, 2018 10:21pm
Perfectionism is a personality trait and someone who has it will hole themselves and/or others to high standards, and are not satisfied if something isn't done perfectly, assuming that perfection is even attainable to begin with. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a debilitating mental illness where sufferers experience anxiety inducing intrusive thoughts and are compelled to relieve the anxiety by performing repetitive physical and mental tasks. You can be a perfectionist and not have OCD and vice versa. As someone who has OCD, it irritates me to no end that people continue to conflate the two and use OCD as a descriptor for when they are adament to have something done in a certain way. Treating the disorder as a descriptor only serves to minimise it and the effects it has on people's lives.
April 25th, 2018 1:13am
Perfectionism is one possible symptom of OCD, but not everyone with OCD experiences this symptom. A person with OCD experiences repetitive distressing thoughts which often result in time-consuming and repetitive behaviours which they perform to avoid the anxiety. These thoughts might be about things being done perfectly or "just so" and if they weren't an OCD sufferer would feel compelled to try and fix it to avoid feeling anxious. However, with OCD the thoughts might be about anything. Some people with OCD worry they may hurt someone or that something bad is going to happen if they don't perform a certain behaviour or "check". They key here is the intensity of the thoughts and behaviours. Lots of people perform checks to reassure themselves or prefer things to be neat and tidy and they don't have OCD. OCD is, at worst, debilitating and exhausting, making sufferers feel they are compelled to do things and experiencing significant distress.
May 9th, 2018 9:09pm
In my own personal experience. I have OCD and am a perfectionist. Perfectionism is something that is learned. We are taught this by parents, life, teachers, etc. It is when someone teaches us 'their' way of doing things. Something that is expected of us to be done a certain way every time and only that way is acceptable. For example. The cups on the shelf have to always be turned facing front, lined up exactly straight. With OCD that is something we aren't taught. It can be a coping mechanism though. In OCD we find 'ticks' or 'rituals' that bring comfort to us and help us to feel that we have some sense of 'control' and 'stability'. In OCD the cups on the counter have to be lined up neatly in order of color, shape and I have to touch them all at least once to make sure they are secure on the counter won't fall off and are in line.
May 30th, 2018 7:34pm
Perfectionism is a desire to make everything as perfect as possible and flawless (ex: wanting to make a school project as nice and as resourceful as possible to obtain perfect grades) whereas OCD is a some kind of fear that makes people check on/repeat something even if the feeling is unwanted (ex: the feeling like I need to wash my hands repeatedly because I believe there are harmful germs that wouldn't go away unless I wash it repeatedly?
June 9th, 2018 3:43am
OCD (Obsesive Compulsive Disorder), is a disorder where one feels the need to ALWAYS have perfection, and have uncommon fears of germs, dust, and anything out of place, or slightly dirty. and perfectionism is where most/all think have to be neat and organized.
June 21st, 2018 11:52am
Perfectionism is the desire for perfection but OCD is an uncontrollable compulsive act that occurs without much control
June 22nd, 2018 5:03pm
It is easy to confuse OCD and perfectionism but there are key differences. If you constantly find yourself worrying whether you’ve completed a paticular task: locked the door, turned off the dishwasher etc, you’re probably just a completely rational and logical person, possibly a perfectionist. OCD, is something different. OCD is an anxiety disorder, where the person feels compelled to carry out tasks ritually as if they’re in a trance. Perfectionist go out of their way to make it known that they require organisation and prefection. But those with OCD often try to fight these compulsions and break away from this rhythmic routine they call life.
July 12th, 2018 2:42pm
OCD is any worry that you act on by repeating actions. For example you may be worried about germs so you keep washing your hands again and again. You feel like you can’t stop. Perfectionism is just when you want to make something perfect but you feel in control of it. OCD isn’t just about putting things in a perfect way
July 28th, 2018 6:33pm
Perfectionism is someone that "refuses" to deal with not being perfect. OCD is a person who has Excessive thoughts that lead to repetitive behaviors.
August 10th, 2018 11:17am
Perfectionism means doing things in an order and OCD means doing things perfectly in order. In spite of doing things in Order In OCD person never gets satisfied till he thinks it is absolutely perfect and nothing have been left.
September 30th, 2018 3:37am
This is a common misconception. People will often say they have ocd but are really just perfectionist. Just because you “like everything perfect, or the right way” doesn’t mean you have ocd. It just means you are a perfectionist. There is a lot of different types of ocd, but perfectionism is mainly having everything perfect, or even “equal”.
October 25th, 2018 3:15pm
OCD is compulsive thought process that torments people into performing ritualistic action. OCD is a brain disorder, and a mental health diagnosis. OCD is not just about cleaning continuously, or repeating certain actions. OCD can be unseen, in the form of repetitive thoughts, these thoughts can haunt a person, and sometimes contain elements of truth. This is Real Life OCD - negative destructive thought patterns based around traumatic past life events which the mind will continuously focus upon and distort until the thoughts do not represent reality. This can cause a lot of pain and suffering. Perfectionism can't be defined, it isn't a mental health diagnosis, and could be both positive and negative depending on the person. I see this as a personality trait. "I must get this house in order, god i am such a perfectionist"
June 1st, 2019 11:37am
I believe the difference between perfectionism and OCD can be very tricky to distinguish sometimes. Liking perfection and neatness is one thing but when it gets compulsive and causes problems in the home or work or anywhere then it starts to become OCD, Obsessive, Compulsive Disorder. The obsessive part is paramount. A person truly must do whatever their obsession is, there is no distracting them, there is no consoling them, they MUST do the task or may turn into a rage or become really distressed. A Perfectionist, does not have this extreme obsession, they work tirelessly to perfect, they correct, they feel happier when things are in their idea of perfect order, but they can be distracted from their task or be challenged without the extreme discomfort and distress that someone with OCD will react with..
July 11th, 2019 5:02am
OCD involves a repeatedly nagging “obsession”—and an unwavering, extremely strong compulsion to satisfy that obsession by completing a certain action. Often the obsessions and compulsions are so debilitating that they get in the way of living daily life in a normal way. For me, I’ve found myself to be a perfectionist when completing school projects. Even visually, everything must be aligned perfectly if I’m making a PowerPoint or poster board. If it’s not aligned perfectly, I make sure everything fits together until it does. Sometimes my perfectionism can be stressful to me because it can cause me to spend hours making everything EXACTLY how I want it to be or how I picture it. On the other hand, I have a friend who has clinically been diagnosed with OCD. He carries bottles of hand sanitizer with him everywhere he goes and wipes down any surface he encounters before touching it. It has become a huge burden in his life both mentally and financially as he struggles to afford purchasing other items besides hand sanitizer. This is common in someone with severe OCD: a debilitating obsession that won’t go away until satisfied causes pain that hinders the enjoyment of everyday life. It is important for us to educate ourselves on the nature of mental illness so we can better understand the afflictions of those who have them, as well as know the differences between a common feeling (like a desire for perfection in certain items) versus a more uncommon and serious struggle such as OCD.
August 18th, 2019 11:44am
OCD is an anxiety disorder that affects a person's daily life and people with OCD are compelled to perform certain tasks ritually, which they have little control over stopping. Perfectionists may find themselves wondering whether they've locked the front door, turned the oven off, or double checked the lights are off. An individual with OCD might spend hours of their day ensuring everything is put-together and clean. They may also spend large amounts of time counting things. This then becomes a routine where, if not completed, the person suffering from OCD can become extremely anxious. As an example: a perfectionist student might submit their assignment online and check again to ensure they've submitted it. A student with OCD might submit it several times and check the submission box periodically to ensure the assignment hasn't disappeared.
November 6th, 2019 4:20pm
The difference between OCD and perfectionism is the level of rationale applied to the activity or situation. OCD is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, a serious mental illness that controls lives, whereas perfectionism is just a personality trait that makes people constantly strive for absolute perfection. The two are very very different and should not be used interchangeably. If you have OCD you will experience an extreme amount of anxiety until you do a certain activity to meet your compulsion. Another difference is that perfectionism is a positive trait and can be good in school and workplace environments, with OCD the illness consumes your life and interferes with it. If you believe you have OCD please check out our 7 cups OCD selfhelp guide and seek professional help.
December 20th, 2019 4:40pm
OCD is a form of anxiety disorder and you can seek medical help to help control some of these symptoms/ impulses. When you have OCD or Obsessive-compulsive disorder you can't control these impulses. It can be something you NEED to do or else something bad is going to happen. Perfectionism is a personality trait. When you're a perfectionist you want everything to be perfect down to the last detail, and you may double-check things to make sure everything is as it should be, but it ISN'T something you need to do, it isn't an irrational impulse it is just something you want to do because you want everything to be perfect.
January 24th, 2020 7:07am
Perfectionism is when you want that everything is perfect. It means that you want that everything is in perfect shape, order, that it runs perfectly, smooth, without any errors or mistakes, that you do everything perfectly without any errors or mistakes. It is in perfectionist's Will and they don't see it as something bad, something what should be eliminated or treated. On other hand, person with OCD performs compulsive rituals in order to calm down obsessive thoughts and they see it as a disorder, as something unpleasant, unwelcome and wishes that it would be treated and even cured somehow.