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Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) is a mental condition that’s characterized by extreme perfectionism, order and neatness. People with OCPD may find it hard to relate to others and their devotion to perfectionism and rigid control can make it difficult to function. Individual with this condition will also feel severe need to impose their own standards on their outside environment.

OCPD traits include preoccupation and insistence on details, rules, lists, order and organization; perfectionism that interferes with completing tasks; excessive doubt and exercising caution; excessive conscientiousness, as well as rigidity and stubbornness. Undoubtedly, loved ones on the receiving end of the relationship will experience exhaustion, unhappiness and frustration.


What causes Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD)?


The exact cause of OCPD is unknown. Like many aspects of OCPD, the causes have yet to be determined. OCPD may be caused by a combination of genetics and childhood experiences.

In 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.

There may also be a biological component to OCPD, as having relatives with the condition might make you more likely to have it.


What are the symptoms of Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD)?

🔵 Individuals with OCPD attempt to maintain sense of control through painstaking attention to rules, trivial details, procedures, lists, schedules, or form to the extent that major point of activity is lost

🔵 People with OCPD indulge in perfectionism and self-imposed high standards of performance which causes significant dysfunction and distress in them. They may become so involved in making every detail of a project absolutely perfect that the project is never finished or is delayed.

🔵 Individuals with OCPD display excessive devotion to work and productivity. They may exclude themselves from leisure activities and friendships.

🔵 Individuals with OCPD 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.

🔵 People with OCPD may be unable to discard worn-out or worthless objects, even when they have no sentimental value. Example: They may refuse to discard objects which are old or are no longer in use or are worthless and will become upset if someone tries to get rid of the things they have saved.

🔵 People with OCPD are reluctant to delegate tasks or to work with others. They stubbornly and unreasonably insist that everything should be done their way and that people conform to their way of doing things. They may reject offers of help even when behind the schedule because they believe no one else can do it right.

🔵 Individuals with OCPD usually express affection in a highly controlled or stilted fashion and may be very uncomfortable in the presence of others who are emotionally expressive.

Their everyday relationships have a formal or serious quality, and they may be stiff in situations in which others would smile and be happy.

🔵 People with OCPD show rigidity and stubbornness. They plan ahead in meticulous detail and are unwilling to consider changes. Friends and colleagues may become frustrated by this constant rigidity.

How common is Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD)?

Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder is one of the most prevalent personality disorders in the general population, with estimated prevalence ranging from 2.1% to 7.9%. This disorder can affect both men and women but it is more common among men.


How is Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD) diagnosed?

The diagnosis of OCPD is usually made by a trained clinician such as a psychiatrist or a psychologist after a thorough interview and a psychological evaluation. The health care provider will consider how long and how severe the person’s symptoms are.

Some psychologists are trained to administer specifically structured interviews such as the Compulsive Personality Assessment Scale (CPAS) to determine whether the client meets the criteria for OCPD.


What is the treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD)?

Treatment for OCPD usually involves psychotherapies along with medication in some cases to abate symptoms of anxiety or depression.

🔵 Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) helps the individuals with OCPD to question their maladaptive ways of thinking and replace them with more adaptive ways of thinking. For example, clients might be encouraged to look for shades of grey when in conflict with others, rather than seeing them as either black or white, or wrong or right. CBT practitioners may also introduce specific behaviors to help clients gradually become accustomed to more adaptive ways of acting.


🔵 Radically Open Dialectical Behavior Therapy (RO DBT) is a treatment program designed to help individuals whose personality is characterized by over-control, including those who have anorexia, autism spectrum disorders and OCPD. The approach is intended to improve poor social signalling (body language), a lack of openness and limited flexibility that may have hindered over-controlled individuals from cultivating better relationships. The program includes weekly, structured psychotherapy sessions and weekly skills training classes.


🔵 Medication is usually not considered to be a primary treatment for OCPD but the doctor may prescribe a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) to decrease some anxiety surrounding the obsessive-compulsive cycle or depression.



Tips for people with OCPD

🔵You can try mindfulness which will help you in becoming more self-aware, feel calmer and less stressed, cope with difficult thoughts, and feel more able to choose how to respond to your thoughts and feelings.

🔵 You can choose to spend time in activities motivated by desire rather than obligation- which is an important lifestyle change for individuals with OCPD.

🔵 Try to get enough sleep. Getting a proper sleep will provide you with the energy to cope with difficult feelings and stressful situations.

🔵 You can try to journal your thoughts in a diary. It will help you to identify situations that increase anxiety, and observations about what has worked and what has not to decrease it.

🔵 Exercise regularly as it will helpful for your mental wellbeing.

🔵 You can try some specific breathing and relaxation techniques such as Yoga, Tai Chi and Pilates that can help decrease your sense of stress and urgency.


Tips for partners, families and carers

🔵Encourage and support them to seek professional help. It is important to reassure your loved ones that it’s ok to ask for help and that there is help out there.

🔵Partners may be able to improve their situation by changing their perspective on their partner, appreciating what he or she has to offer and remembering that underneath their control and criticism is anxiety. Partners should communicate what they appreciate about their OCPD partner and what they need from them.

🔵 Be more patient and considerate about their feelings. You can focus on the distress they are feeling and offer comfort. It is not necessary to validate with the reason they feel that way but just acknowledging their feelings will reduce their stress and anxiety.

🔵It is important to look for your mental wellbeing too. It could be quite distressing seeing someone you care about experiencing paranoia. You can talk to someone if you are struggling to cope. Try to take some break and make time for yourself too.


Myths v/s Facts about Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder




Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) is same as Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).

While both disorders contain the phrase obsessive-compulsive in their description, they are very different disorders. People with OCPD are unyielding in their thoughts and behavior, viewing their way as the best or right way. People with OCPD do not feel a sense of guilt that those with OCD do.

Because people with OCPD are perfectionists, they are more productive.

Perfectionism with OCPD can interfere with productivity. This trait can interfere with the completion of tasks and contribute to an unwillingness to assign tasks to others for fear they will not be done in the right way.

OCPD is more common among women.

OCPD affects both men and women.

People with OCPD are well aware of their condition.

Individuals with OCPD are not aware that their behavior is abnormal.


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