Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) is a mental condition in which a person is preoccupied with:
Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) is a personality disorder that’s characterized by extreme perfectionism, order, and neatness. People with OCPD will also feel a severe need to impose their own standards on their outside environment.
Complications may include:
Difficulty moving forward in career situations
People with OCPD have the following characteristics:
They find it hard to express their feelings.
They have difficulty forming and maintaining close relationships with others.
They’re hardworking, but their obsession with perfection can make them inefficient.
They often feel righteous, indignant, and angry.
They often face social isolation.
They can experience anxiety that occurs with depression.
OCPD is often confused with an anxiety disorder called obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). However, they aren’t the same.
People with OCPD have no idea that there’s anything wrong with the way they think or behave. They believe that their way of thinking and doing things is the only correct way and that everyone else is wrong.
Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD) and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) sound the same, and are often confused and mistakenly interchanged as being the same illness, but not withstanding similar names, they are in fact two separate conditions.
Whilst OCD is considered an anxiety disorder, OCPD, as the name suggests, is actually a personality disorder. It’s also possible to suffer from both OCD and OCPD simultaneously.
The main features of Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD) is a preoccupation with orderliness, perfectionism (around anything from cleanliness to order) at the expense of flexibility, openness, and efficiency, regardless of the impact on others.
Individuals with OCPD attempt to maintain control with painstaking attention to rules, trivial details, lists and procedures to the extent that the major point of the activity is often lost, often becoming inflexible. They become oblivious to the fact that other people will often become annoyed at the extent they perform tasks and the delays caused, often believing the other person may be wrong for not working to the same perceived standard.
The inflexibility can also impact on areas of morality, ethics and values, forcing themselves and others to follow very rigid moral principles.
OCPD is one of the most prevalent personality disorders in the general population, with estimated prevalence ranging from 2% to 8%. Some studies suggest that Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder is more common in males.
Symptoms and Signs
Symptoms of obsessive-compulsive personality disorder may lessen over a year, but their persistence during the long term has not been studied.
In patients with obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, preoccupation with order, perfectionism, and control of themselves and situations interferes with flexibility, effectiveness, and openness. Rigid and stubborn in their activities, these patients insist that everything be done in specific ways.
To maintain a sense of control, patients focus on rules, minute details, procedures, schedules, and lists. As a result, the main point of a project or activity is lost. These patients repeatedly check for mistakes and pay extraordinary attention to detail. They do not make good use of their time, often leaving the most important tasks until the end. Their preoccupation with the details and making sure everything is perfect can endlessly delay completion. They are unaware of how their behavior affects their co-workers. When focused on one task, these patients may neglect all other aspects of their life.
Because these patients want everything done in a specific way, they have difficulty delegating tasks and working with others. When working with others, they may make detailed lists about how a task should be done and become upset if a co-worker suggests an alternative way. They may reject help even when they are behind schedule.
Patients with obsessive-compulsive personality disorder are excessively dedicated to work and productivity; their dedication is not motivated by financial necessity. As a result, leisure activities and relationships are neglected. They may think they have no time to relax or go out with friends; they may postpone a vacation so long that it does not happen, or they may feel they must take work with them so that they do not waste time. Time spent with friends, when it occurs, tends to be in a formally organized activity (eg, a sport). Hobbies and recreational activities are considered important tasks requiring organization and hard work to master; the goal is perfection.
These patients plan ahead in great detail and do not wish to consider changes. Their relentless rigidity may frustrate co-workers and friends.
Expression of affection is also tightly controlled. These patients may relate to others in a formal, stiff, or serious way. Often, they speak only after they think of the perfect thing to say. They may focus on logic and intellect and be intolerant of emotional or expressive behavior.
These patients may be overzealous, picky, and rigid about issues of morality, ethics, and values. They apply rigid moral principles to themselves and to others and are harshly self-critical. They are rigidly deferential to authorities and insist on exact compliance to rules, with no exceptions for extenuating circumstances.
Other signs of OCPD include:
Over-devotion to work
Not being able to throw things away, even when the objects have no value
Lack of flexibility
Lack of generosity
Not wanting to allow other people to do things
Not willing to show affection
Preoccupation with details, rules, and lists
If you have OCPD, your therapist will likely use a three-pronged approach to treatment, which includes the following:
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a common type of mental health counseling. During CBT, you meet with a mental health professional on a structured schedule. These regular sessions involve working with your counselor to talk through any anxiety, stress, or depression. A mental health counselor may encourage you to put less emphasis on work and more emphasis on recreation, family, and other interpersonal relationships.
Your doctor may consider prescribing a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) to decrease some anxiety surrounding the obsessive-compulsive cycle. If you’re prescribed an SSRI, you may also benefit from support groups and regular treatment from a psychiatrist. Long-term prescription use isn’t usually recommended for OCPD.
Relaxation training involves specific breathing and relaxation techniques that can help decrease your sense of stress and urgency. These symptoms are common in OCPD. Examples of recommended relaxation practices include yoga, tai chi, and Pilates.