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Obsessive compulsive disorder or OCD as it is commonly referred as is driven by perfectionism, but they are not the same.
People with OCD are aware that their behavior is problematic but cannot prevent that particular behavior. People who are perfectionists don’t care, it makes their lives orderly.
OCD is a mental health disorder that involves repeated, unwanted thoughts that cause anxiety or fear. And, to eliminate this anxiety, the person does a compulsive action that may or may not be related to the fear or anxiety, to cope. OCD may be of several types; attention to details or checking frequently to see if the door is locked or people have fears of germs or there may be a need to count things or it may just be an obsessive thought that they cannot get out of their head. People with OCD comprehend that their actions are irrational, but they are unable to stop. At times, it may even be incapacitating to the concerned individual.
A person who is a perfectionist, may also have habits or actions that they adhere to strictly such as a certain morning routine or a way of organizing their desk at work. But these actions are not necessarily due to anxiety. Things done in a certain way work out just fine for such persons. This personality trait is usually associated with good organization and goal-oriented behavior.
A healthy perfectionism may drive some people to achieve excellence; but, these high standards can also drive people to be extremely critical of themselves and others.
There is a very fine line between OCD and perfectionism. The individual is usually the last one to know when this line is crossed.
Dr KK Aggarwal
Padma Shri Awardee
President Elect Confederation of Medical Associations in Asia and Oceania (CMAAO)
Group Editor-in-Chief IJCP Publications
President Heart Care Foundation of India
Past National President IMA