OBSESSIVE-COMPULSIVE PERSONALITY DISORDER
Dennis B. Kottler, MD
Westlake Village, CA
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Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD) is not the same as Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). See: OCD Self-Test. However, these two conditions can coexist.
Some of the features of Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD) overlap with "Type A" personality, a condition characterized by anger, competitiveness, and a sense of constant time pressure. This latter condition has been associated with an increased risk for myocardial infarction. It is not known if the same association exists for Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD).
Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD) is characterized by preoccupation with extreme orderliness and perfectionism, and a strong tendency towards interpersonal control. Although what seems to be interpersonal control, may in fact, be more a case of the person's strong need to have his world, "just so," a world that, unfortunately, is shared with another person, or persons.
In this disorder, a person feels compelled to have things in his environment arranged in a very neat and particular manner. This individual might, for example, experience extreme anxiety if all the pillows are thrown off the couch, if dinner plates are left in the sink, or if objects are not properly aligned.
Although it may seem a contradiction, it is not unusual for such a person to have certain areas where these rules seem not to apply. An example of this would be a messy desk in the study. This condition usually begins in early adulthood.
In general, most people with Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD) do not consider their behavior to be a problem, but they often drive their partners or roommates "crazy." On the other hand, most people with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) drive themselves "crazy."
Gender Prevalence: Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD) appears to be diagnosed about TWICE as often in males vs. females. However, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) appears to be about equally prevalent in both sexes.
Prominent Features of Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCD)--not everyone has all these features:
1. Preoccupation with details, lists, and organization. Sometimes the major point of the activity seems to be lost.
For example, one such individual felt the need to have all his books in perfect order by height. Another person was so preoccupied with lists, that he had a list for everything...a "to do" list, a shopping list, a list of things to take on vacation (he never went on vacation), a list of projects he planned to get to at some point in his life, etc. There were dozens of lists. In fact, much of the time spent every day was to review and update the lists. Needless to say, very little on the lists ever got accomplished.
2. Perfectionism that interferes with completing a project.
For example, a writer has to constantly review and revise something he has written until it is "perfect." Of course, it will probably be late as well.
3. Extreme preoccupation with working and being productive, beyond economic considerations. Leisure time and friendships usually suffer.
4. Overly conscientious and scrupulous with little or no flexibility. (Not accounted for by religious or cultural background).
5. Inability to throw things away, even if they have no practical or sentimental value. (Hoarding is also seen in OCD).
6. Difficulty delegating tasks. Has trouble accepting that someone can do something properly and up to his standards.
7. Overly frugal. Money is hoarded. Extreme concern for that "rainy day."
8. Rigid and Obstinate.
As with many psychiatric disorders, some of the symptoms are found to some degree in "normal" individuals. A skilled psychiatrist will be able to make a definitive diagnosis of this disorder and recommend treatment.
Also see: OCD Self-Test
Article by Author: "Why We Have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and What We Can Do About It" This article also discusses Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD).
Additional Suggested Readings
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