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Obsessive-compulsive Personality Disorder

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Everyone has a personality, but not everyone has a personality disorder.

A personality disorder is such when it interferes with work performance, relationships, friendships, daily activities, or causes a significant distress.

It’s important to be aware of what makes us uncomfortable, so we know what it takes to feel better. We can’t find a solution until we know what the problem is.

Obsessive-compulsive Personality Traits

Each personality disorder comes with a pattern, a list of traits.

As I stated above, possessing some (or all) of these traits doesn’t imply there’s a disorder.

– Perfectionism that interferes with task completion;

– Preoccupation with details, rules, lists, order, organization, or schedules, and the subsequent inability to see the larger picture, or enjoy the activity for what it is;

– An unjustified excessive devotion to work and productivity, at the expenses of social and leisure activities;

– Reluctance to delegate tasks or work with others because of the fear the rigid standards won’t be met;

– Inability to get rid of worn-out or worthless objects, even when they have no sentimental value;

– Inflexibility to morals, ethics and values that transcend religious faith or political views;

– Rigidity and stubbornness;

– Frugality and miserliness, money must not be spent but hoarded for future needs.

Obsessive-compulsive Personality Disorder

Why would these traits create distress?

When is an obsessive-compulsive personality a disorder?

– The perfectionism makes the person affected by OCPD unable to complete the tasks on time or meet the deadlines. He might even give up once he realizes there’s no way to reach the amount of perfection he set upon himself, leading to apathy and lethargy.

– The workaholism causes isolation: friends and lovers feel they aren’t given enough attention and leave. The family also feels frustrated and left aside.

– The person with OCPD might be overwhelmed by all the tasks he has to do, as he won’t delegate to anyone. Vice versa, his high requirements and expectations towards employees or colleagues create discomfort at work.

– The rigid moral and ethical values create inhibitions or heated arguments among friends, lover or family members.

Differential Diagnosis

Perfectionism is also found in the Narcissistic Personality Disorder. The difference is that narcissistic individuals usually believe they met their standards, while those affected by OCPD tend to be very self-critical and unsatisfied about their work.

OCD differs from OCPD because the behaviors of the former are generally due to anxiety, while the latter’s are due to a distorted philosophy. The people with OCD are aware their compulsivity is out of control, while OCPD often can’t explain what causes the distress.

The Obsessive-compulsive Personality Disorder can be associated with eating disorders and major depression. People with OCPD are often pessimistic, and some can be suicidal.

Causes of the Obsessive-compulsive Personality Disorder

What causes the OCPD? Are genetic factors involved, or is it due to a traumatic experience?

There could be a genetic predisposition, but more research is needed in this field.

However, the environment is what certainly makes a difference.

In most cases, the childhood was compromised by excessive requests from overly controlling parents: high expectations, strict rules or moral values to follow, exaggerated reproofs when mistakes were made. Common scenario, isn’t it? No wonder why this is the most common personality disorder (US study).

Traumatic experiences such as physical, emotional or psychological abuse can also help to develop OCPD.


Cognitive behavioral therapy is definitely the most popular effective treatment.

Medication is generally avoided, but can be prescribed to treat anxiety or depression.

Useful links

Wikipedia page;

Test for self-diagnosis, the website is also entirely OCPD-themed.

What do you think?

13 points

Written by sabtraversa

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    • I’m the same, but no online test gave me OCPD as a result until I read some pages about the disorder and thought it was familiar, but it took me a while.
      It might help to go back in time and see what led you to have some of these traits, and if these traits cause you trouble in some way.
      I used to not pay much attention to this personality disorder, so now I believe it is underrated. I’m not sure a professional diagnosis is required, as I know psychiatrists will just ask you the same questions in the tests. If you feel the description resonates with you and helps you rationalize and accept your behaviors, it’s still beneficial.

      • Don’t make diagnosis on your own… It;s the worst thing you can do, especially via internet…!!! Didn’t so that test since I am no longer able to solve them – you know I can’t decide, hehehe πŸ˜‰
        Yes, but still it’s hard to judge it by ourselves… We can make projections, etc, etc so don’t think we can judge on our own about it…
        Reading this I can now think maybe some of my behavior could be due to that but I never looked at it that way… But like I say…, I think we can’t decide about it on our own and maybe even make it worse if we keep believing and convincing ourselves it is that while it maybe isn’t…
        I don;t know, not sure… I actually didn’t mean I have these but maybe some parts and ways of it…

        PS Sorry, i’m late with your articles again, but I will check them all later…..! πŸ˜‰

  1. It’s not easy to deal with… but being aware and having an attitude to get help is a great start.
    Getting couselling helps a lot and makes things easier … for one, when they decide on the more “harsh” treatment, they know how to deal with the effects …

  2. Well this is an interesting post. I distrust medicines for anxiety because some of that can cause memory loss .
    However, I would say that compulsive perfection is caused by parents with the same disorder and passed it down.
    No one is ever good enough and the whole cycle is like the donkey chasing the unattainable carrot infant of the cart.
    I have been blessed to have been made to do my best but with every artist, comes a time to put down tools and have it finished. Art over worked is not the best.

    • It sounds more like an OCD due to anxiety than an OCPD due to personality, but bacteria lie about everywhere, and are definitely available in huge quantities. The guy’s fear was justified, but the fact is that not all bacteria are harmful. πŸ˜ƒ
      It can create distress, definitely. πŸ˜•

      • I agree, but OCD and OCPD are a little intertwined!
        Β In both cases individuals can often neglecting the major goal of their work, even if the reasons are different, one is lost in details, another is afraid of contamination! Maybe I’m wrong but I’m not a specialist!

        • Yes, a person can even have both at the same time. I said so because washing hand is a common compulsive behavior among those with OCD, but then I guess the subtle difference is in how the person feels about it.

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