What Is Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder?
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
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 hard working, 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
OCPD is often confused with am 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.
What Are the Causes of OCPD?
The exact cause of OCPD is unknown. Like many aspects of
OCPD, the causes have yet to be researched extensively. Most likely, OCPD is
caused by a combination of genetics and childhood experiences.
some case studies, adults can recall experiencing OCPD from a very early
age. They may have felt that they needed to be a perfect or perfectly obedient
child. This need to follow the rules then carries over into adulthood.
Who Is Most at Risk for OCPD?
The International OCD
Foundation (OCDF) approximates that men are twice as likely as women to be
diagnosed with this personality disorder. According to the Journal of
Personality Assessment, between 2 and 7 percent of the population has OCPD,
making it the most prevalent personality disorder.
When a person diagnosed with a mental health condition, OCPD
is often an additional diagnosis. Those with existing mental health diagnoses
are more likely to be diagnosed with OCPD. More research is needed to
demonstrate the role that OCPD plays in these diagnoses.
Additionally, those with severe OCD are more likely to be
diagnosed with OCPD.
What Are the Symptoms of OCPD?
The symptoms of OCPD include:
to the point that it impairs the ability to finish tasks
formal, or rigid mannerisms
extremely frugal with money
overwhelming need to be punctual
attention to detail
devotion to work at the expense of family or social relationships
worn or useless items
- an inability
to share or delegate work because of a fear it won’t be done right
- a fixation
- a rigid
adherence to rules and regulations
overwhelming need for order
sense of righteousness about the way things should be done
rigid adherence to moral and ethical codes
OCPD is diagnosed when symptoms impair your ability to
function and interact with others.
How Is OCPD Treated?
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 prescribe a selective serotonin reuptake
inhibitor (SSRI) to decrease inflexible and detail-oriented thinking. 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.
What Is the Outlook?
The outlook for someone with OCPD may be better than the
outlook for other personality disorders. Treatment can help give you greater
awareness of how the symptoms of OCPD can adversely affect others. If you have OCPD,
you may be less likely to become addicted to drugs or alcohol, which is common
with other personality disorders.
As with other personality disorders, finding the treatment
that works for you is the foundation of success. Cognitive therapy can help
improve your ability to interact and empathize with your loved ones.
How Can a Spouse or Loved One Support Someone with OCPD?
If you suspect that
your spouse, partner, or family member has OCPD, pay attention any of their
obsessions and any of their compulsive behaviors. A person most likely has OCD
or another personality that’s not OCPD if their obsessions are:
- motivated by danger
- limited to two or three specific areas of
- irrational or bizarre
People with OCPD are
typically reluctant to change their behaviors. They often see others as the
that get treatment for OCPD are encouraged to do so by a spouse or loved one. However,
it can be very difficult to approach someone with OCPD about their behaviors.
It can also be helpful for significant others and loved ones of people with OCPD
to seek support for themselves.
There are multiple
forums and support groups that a spouse or loved one of someone with OCPD can
join. The International OCD
Foundation keeps a list of support
groups for those coping with OCD, OCD tendencies, and personality disorders
such as OCPD.