Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder

What is obsessive-compulsive personality disorder?

In obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD), the person is overly concerned with order in their lives. A person suffering from OCPD may also feel compelled to apply their standards to their outside environment.

The following are some characteristics of people with OCPD:

  • Expression of their feelings is difficult for them.
  • Having close relationships with others is difficult for them.
  • Even though they work hard, they can be inefficient due to their perfectionist attitude.
  • Righteousness, indignation and anger are often their feelings.
  • They are often socially isolated.
  • Anxiety can occur when they are depressed.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is commonly confused with OCPD. However, they are different.

There’s no real indication that OCPD makes people think or act in a dysfunctional way. People with this mindset think and act as if their way is the only one that is right and everyone else is wrong.

Read: What are Obsession and Compulsion

What are the causes of OCPD?

It is unknown what causes OCPD. Many aspects of OCPD remain unknown, including the causes. Both genetics and childhood experiences may contribute to obsessive personality.

OCPD has been documented in some cases in adults who can recall experiencing it very early in life. Perhaps they felt they had to act perfectly or obey perfectly. The need to obey rules continues into adulthood.

Who is most at risk for OCPD?

OCPD risks

Men who have this personality disorder are twice as likely to be diagnosed as women, estimates the International OCD Foundation (OCDF). Obsessive personality type is the most prevalent personality disorder, according to a study published in the Journal of Personality Assessment.

OCPD is commonly diagnosed in people who have existing mental health conditions. More research is needed to prove that OCPD is responsible for these diagnoses.

Furthermore, people with severe OCD are more likely to suffer from OCPD.

Also, check: Side Effects of Overthinking

What are the symptoms of OCPD?

There are several symptoms of OCPD, including:

  • Having a perfectionism that prevents you from finishing tasks
  • Formal, stiff, or rigid mannerisms
  • Having a very frugal spending style
  • Punctuality is imperative
  • Paying extreme attention to details
  • Putting work ahead of family or social relationships
  • Keeping worn or useless items
  • Lack of willingness to share or delegate work for fear that it won’t be done correctly
  • Lists are a fixation
  • Regulations and rules are rigidly followed
  • A strong desire for order
  • A sense of righteous obligation
  • Ethical and moral codes that are rigidly adhered to

The symptoms of an OCPD make it difficult to function and interact with others.

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How is OCPD treated?

Treatment for OCPD typically consists of three components, including the following:

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)

Counseling in mental health is often based on cognitive behavior therapy (CBT). CBT involves meeting with a mental health professional regularly.

Your counselor will help you cope with anxiety, stress, and depression during these regular sessions. If you are receiving mental health counseling, you may be encouraged to put less emphasis on work and more emphasis on leisure activities, family and friends.


In order to decrease some anxiety associated with the obsessive-compulsive cycle, your doctor may prescribe a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). SSRIs may also be prescribed along with regular psychotherapy and support groups. OCPD patients are usually not recommended to use prescription medications long-term.

Relaxation training

Stress and urgency can be reduced with relaxation training, which involves breathing and relaxation techniques. This is a common symptom of OCPD. Practices such as yoga, tai chi, and Pilates can help you relax.

Check: Types of Overthinking

How to cope with OCPD

It may be helpful to learn some strategies for dealing with OCPD along with seeking treatment. Some of these include:

  • Self-education: It can be empowering to learn more about your condition. OCPD symptoms may help you notice when your behavior is caused by OCPD symptoms, so you can cope with them.
  • Stress management: It’s always a good idea to keep your overall stress level low. Plan how you will reduce stress, so you will be prepared for whatever life throws at you.
  • Self-care: OCPD can lead to a tendency to neglect yourself while you concentrate on a current task. Don’t forget to take care of yourself every day.
  • Practicing mindfulness and meditation: The practice of mindfulness can provide you with the tools you need to spot situations in which perfection is causing anxiety, for example, and take steps to alleviate it. Stress can be relieved effectively through meditation, which pairs well with mindfulness.


OCD and OCPD are conditions with their own unique and specific aspects, but they also share strong overlaps. They can be distinguished by a few things, however.

Presence of true obsessions and/or compulsions

The definition of OCD is the presence of true obsession (persistent thinking or feeling) and compulsion (constantly performing an irrational action). People who engage in these behaviors can do so in combination or on their own, and they hinder their ability to function and live freely.

A person with OCD, on the other hand, does not display irrational, repeated behavior or uncontrollable thoughts.

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Obsessive thoughts or behaviors

Even if they are unable to control their behaviors or thoughts, OCD sufferers often feel distressed by them. However, typically, people with OCPD are inclined to think that the actions they take have a purpose and aim.

These traits can also lead to avoiding professional help, since people with OCPD may avoid seeking it. In some cases, OCPD can even benefit the individual, such as someone who is intensely dedicated to their work and detail-oriented, despite having difficulty in other areas.

Consistency of symptoms

Anxiety levels drive the fluctuation of OCD symptoms. The behavior tends to stay the same over time because OCPD is a personality disorder characterized by rigidity.

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How OCPD affects relationships

A person with OCPD’s constant need for control may cause difficulty in a relationship. There may be a tendency for them to plan every detail of your vacation in advance. There may be a particular manner and schedule by which each room of the house must be cleaned. Your work life might take priority over your relationship, or you may walk away from arguments.

The people around you might have different standards than you, if you’re the one with OCPD. The things around your house aren’t as tidy as you’d like them to be. Maybe you have a messy spouse or roommate. Their punctuality or frugalness may not match yours.

The good news is that it’s possible for people with OCPD to maintain healthy and long-lasting relationships with others despite all of these potential frustrations. If you or somebody you love suffers from OCPD, follow these strategies to keep the peace:

Do not focus on winning at all costs

People with OCPD may feel strong feelings of rightness, which can be particularly challenging. However, it is possible for those without OCPD to face these difficulties. During disagreements, don’t let your ego get in the way, and try to resolve disputes instead of winning them.

Take occasional breaks to clear your heads, but always communicate respectfully and thoughtfully. When expressing your perspective, use “I” statements. When blaming others, do not use “you” statements. When necessary, apologize without hesitation.

Appreciate each other

People with OCPD are sometimes prone to becoming overly critical. People not suffering from OCPD may also fall into this trap, focusing only on the shortcomings and rigidities of their friends and partners.

Make sure you express your appreciation for each other’s qualities, such as work ethic and reliability. Let them know how they have improved your life, whether it has been through their emotional support or their domestic contributions. The feeling of security is enhanced by this.

Be kind to your partner

OCPD people often have good intentions despite a tendency to be controlling. It’s likely that they’re dealing with anxiety or helplessness when they show annoyance or frustration. You can help with those feelings if you acknowledge them and ask how you can help.

OCPD patients must also acknowledge the other’s good intentions. Although they may not be as driven as you are toward perfection, neither one of you is perfect.

Self-care is important

Assertiveness may be necessary when dealing with someone with OCPD. Make sure you understand what high expectations are. It is important to let your loved one know if the cleanliness demands they make seem unreasonable to you.

Don’t try to overextend yourself and try to reach a compromise. Be aware that their way of doing things is not necessarily the same as yours.

Couples therapy can help couples whose relationships aren’t working. It may not be possible to work out a relationship with an abusive partner or a partner who is unwilling to change.

What is the outlook?

People with OCPD may have a better outlook than those with other personality disorders. OCPD treatment can help you understand how the symptoms can negatively affect others. Other personality disorders may make you more susceptible to addiction to drugs and alcohol. But OCPD may make you less susceptible to addiction.

The foundation of success for anyone who is suffering from a personality disorder is finding the treatment that works for them. It can help you develop empathy and interaction skills with the people you love.

Read: Schizotypal Personality Disorder

How can a spouse or loved one support someone with OCPD?

Pay attention to your partner’s obsessions and compulsive behaviors if you suspect your spouse has OCPD. If someone’s obsessions include: we can probably assume they have OCD or some other personality type that isn’t obsessive-compulsive personality disorder.

  • Persuaded by danger
  • Limiting your life to a few specific areas
  • Bizarre or irrational

Behaviors are usually difficult to change in people with OCD. Their focus is on others instead of themselves.

A spouse or other loved one typically encourages an individual to seek treatment for obsessive-compulsive personality disorder. Unfortunately, approaching someone with OCPD about their behavior can be very difficult. Additionally, it can be beneficial for spouses, partners, and others close to someone with OCPD to seek support for themselves.

OCPD-related spouses and loved ones have access to a variety of support forums and groups. Those with OCD or OCD tendencies or personality disorders such as OCDPD can find support through the International OCD Foundation.