OCD and perfectionism are not the same: these are their differences

Are you a perfectionist to the point of obsession? There are some differences between OCD and perfectionism, although sometimes the line between the two problems is very, very thin. Because there is no doubt: an excess of perfectionism is a real problem that can be limiting. And what to say about Obsessive, which can condition your life to the point of delirium.

What is a person with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder like?

A person with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a sick person. She lives subject to thoughts or obsessions that lead her to adopt repetitive behaviors or compulsions that she cannot avoid. Anxiety fills his life completely and everything is focused on avoiding a supposed danger.

When we talk about OCD, that “mania” or “custom” of retracing your steps before getting on the elevator to check if you have locked the door comes to mind immediately. It has happened to you, right? Or that intrusive thought that doesn’t leave you all day wondering if you’ve turned off the light or not. But that is not a disorder, it is insecurity mixed with anxiety that does not have to go further.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder has many risks because the person lives in a state of anxiety and permanent anguish. He only finds momentary relief in that repetitive behavior. The more times you do it, the more relieved you’ll feel, so it’s not hard for us to imagine how much you can limit that person’s life.

A common OCD is that of cleanliness and order. The person with this OCD cannot avoid washing his hands continuously every time he touches something or someone. Or you can’t help but obsessively order things. That is where this mental disorder can be confused with perfectionism.

How is a perfectionist person?

Because having the closet ordered by colors, size or use can give away a perfectionist person. A person who seeks excellence in everything, demanding with himself and with others. A person who is convinced that things can always be done better and who is never satisfied with the result. But is the attempt commendable, or is it a problem?

Excess perfectionism is not a disease, as in the case of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder,  but it is a problem. And sometimes psychotherapy to lower living standards, since the anxiety (anxiety again) of continuously living under the pressure of demanding more and more of yourself can become very limiting.

The main differences between perfectionism and OCD

Thus we find one of the similarities between OCD and perfectionism which is anxiety. Anxiety that is precisely the key to start treating both problems. But let’s go with the differences.

The main difference is that OCD is a disease and perfectionism is not, which is not to say that it shouldn’t be treated. The pathological character is what distinguishes a perfectionist person from a person with OCD. And if we go a little deeper we find different degrees in obsessions and compulsions.

Because a perfectionist person is also an obsessive person. He has an obsession with being better or doing things better. But the degree of obsession is lower, the thoughts are less specific, more general, and do not lead that person to that impulsive behavior that characterizes OCD compulsions.

The perfectionist does not order things on impulse, but because he believes that it is the best way to do it. In OCD there is no logical reasoning, just the impulse generated by the obsession. He has touted because it’s the only way to feel safe in his universe. A universe in order.

Help! How do I know if I have OCD?

As you have been able to verify, the line that separates perfection from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is very fine and sometimes it is very difficult to define when it has been exceeded and the ‘problem’ has become a ‘disease’. Now, there are some signs that can help you know if you have OCD. In case you feel identified with them, you should go to a professional as soon as possible to solve it:

  • You feel like you are going to collapse at any moment: you of doing something unforgivable.
  • You check everything over and over again (if you have closed the door, if you have turned off the gas…)
  • You have rituals to do things: if something doesn’t go as you expect, you go back to do it again.
  • You have violent thoughts involuntarily: although you are very distressed by having these kinds of thoughts, no matter how hard you want to get them out of your mind, you can’t.
  • You obsess with negative or catastrophic thoughts.

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