Does Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Create a Better Pharmacist?

All of us have heard the adage, “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?”  I will put a spin on that classic question and ask, does being afflicted with Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder lead to better pharmacy practice or does the practice of pharmacy lead to developing OCPD?



how ocd are you


Professors in Pharmacy School teach pharmacy students to observe the medication three times; when you take it off the shelf when you begin to dispense it, and when you return it to the shelf.  It reduces the risk of a medication error.  Of course, it only makes sense for a conscientious pharmacist to make sure the medication dispensed is correct.  The potential for grave consequences of a prescription or drug order filled wrong is possible.  But what happens when a


pharmacist is never ready to dispense the medication?  Verifying the prescription needs to be done again, one more time, confirming the order, looking at the IV bag label yet another occasion, an encore performance, and finally but reluctantly allows the prepared medication to leave the pharmacy.

OCD is an anxiety disorder distinguished by perpetual obsessions or needs.  For pharmacists afflicted with OCD, it is the thoughts of continuous doubts of their previous actions.  OCPD differs in that there is a need for control and not necessarily compulsions or obsessions.  There is the possibility that both OCD and OCPD may co-exist.

Does being afflicted with a mild case of OCD make one a more accurate pharmacist?  Is it essential that a pharmacist has OCD?  Or does years of concern and fear of making a critical dispensing error cause one to develop Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?

Conducting a study of OCD pharmacists would provide an interesting study; I am afraid that the findings would be startling.