Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD) #Write31Days

31 Days of Mental Health

Welcome to day 2 in the #Write31Days challenge on mental health. When you

Welcome to day 18 in the #Write31Days challenge on mental health. To be honest, this challenge is proving harder than I expected and I’m glad we have only two more weeks of it to go. Today, I’ll continue writing on personality disorders in cluster C. The last one in this category is obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD).

Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder is characterized by extreme orderliness, perfectionism and the need for mental and interpersonal control. People with OCPD find it hard to make decisions when rules and procedures do not strictly dictate the right path to follow. People with OCPD may also become upset when they don’t have full control over their physical or social environment. However, they often do not directly express their anger. For example, sometimes instead of expressing their frustration, the person with OCPD may worry and ruminate over their lack of control. At other times, they may express their anger very strongly when others deviate even minorly from the rules.

In order to be diagnosed with OCPD, a person has to meet four or more of the following criteria:

  1. Is preoccupied with details, rules, lists, order, organization, or schedules to the extent that the major point of the activity is lost.

  2. Shows perfectionism that interferes with task completion (e.g., is unable to complete a project because his or her own overly strict standards are not met).

  3. Is excessively devoted to work and productivity to the exclusion of leisure activities and friendships (not accounted for by obvious economic necessity).

  4. Is overconscientious, scrupulous, and inflexible about matters of morality, ethics, or values (not accounted for by cultural or religious identification).

  5. Is unable to discard worn-out or worthless objects even when they have no sentimental value.

  6. Is reluctant to delegate tasks or to work with others unless they submit to exactly his or her way of doing things.

  7. Adopts a miserly spending style toward both self and others; money is viewed as something to be hoarded for future catastrophes.

  8. Shows significant rigidity and stubbornness.

OCPD, for clarity’s sake, is distinct from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Though some studies have found high rates of co-occurrence between the two disorders, others have not. On the surface, the two disorders share some common behavior patterns, such as ritualistic tendencies. Hoarding, a need for symmetry and orderliness are also common in both disorders. A major difference between OCD and OCPD is that people with OCD are distressed by their obsessions and compulsions, whereas people with OCPD feel they are fully justified in their need for orderliness. As a result, while people with OCD commonly seek treatment, people with OCPD (like most people with personality disorders) often do not.


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