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How Is Emotion Functioning Experienced with OCD Compared to BPD?

Emotional functioning often refers to a person’s functioning in awareness, expression, and overall regulation of emotions. Awareness refers to one’s ability to recognize one’s thought processes; expression refers to the ability to effectively communicate and show others one’s emotions, and overall regulation means to be able to experience emotions moderately and appropriately. People with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and borderline personality disorder (BPD) may experience emotion functioning differently, as with other disorders. However, understanding the difference provides a space for learning and an opportunity for discussion on the best support and treatment for varying concerns.

OCD often involves perfectionism, orderliness, and control, with many people becoming preoccupied with rules, regulations, details, and more. Previous studies have hinted that OCD involves an experience with emotional functioning in which a person “over-expresses” to maintain control even if underlying emotional issues are present. BPD has been well known to involve emotional dysfunction, often with unpredictable mood changes.

A 2015 study published in the Journal of Personality Disorders sought to explore the difference of emotion functionality between individuals with OCD versus those with BPD. The researchers recruited 24 people with OCD, 24 with BPD, and 28 who were classified as not having a mental illness (to serve as a comparison group). Several different instruments were used, and results from the study showed that those with OCD experienced negative affectivity (experience of negative emotions), trait anger (as from one’s personality) and state anger (resulting from distressing situations), but to much lower levels than those with BPD experienced. Overall, the main differences between OCD and BPD were shown to be related to negative affectivity and impulse control – for example, those with BPD showed much higher levels of negative affectivity while those with OCD showed much lower levels of impulse control.

October is the month of OCD Awareness Week around the country. If you are struggling as a result of OCD in your life, you are not alone. OCD is a common manifestation of trauma which causes you to feel like you need to be in as much control of the uncontrollable as possible. You can and you will learn to live again. The Guest House Ocala specializes in treatment programs which heal trauma, addictions, and other manifestations of trauma like OCD. Call us today for information on our programs: 855-483-7800