Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder

Published on: June 23, 2022 

Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder is a mental health condition often confused with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). And while they share some similarities, they're two distinct disorders.

OCPD is diagnosed in about 1% of the general population. OCPD affects men and women equally; however, it becomes more common with age: It begins in childhood for most people but does not reach its peak frequency until middle age or later.

What is Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder?

An obsessive-compulsive personality disorder is characterized by a pattern of preoccupation with perfectionism, orderliness, and control. Those who suffer from this disorder are generally very rigid in their thinking, exhibit excessive devotion and loyalty to work, and have a need to be in charge and control others. They may also experience frequent mood swings, feel a constant sense of tension or fearfulness, have difficulty communicating effectively, and feel emotionally distant from others.

People with this disorder tend to be inflexible about schedules, rules, and personal relationships. They are often unable to make simple decisions without extensive deliberation. They may appear stubborn or rigid to others because they cannot change their minds when given new information that contradicts their beliefs or established way of doing things.

How Common Is OCPD?

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, around 1% of Americans suffer from OCD, though only 2% of those cases are considered severe enough for treatment. In addition, the National Comorbidity Study Replication estimated that between 2% and 3% of Americans meet the criteria for having obsessive-compulsive personality disorder at some point during their lifetimes; however, this number may be higher due to underreporting among those who live with it.

Causes of Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder

There are many causes of obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD), characterized by a person's inability to organize their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. This disorder is often caused by genetics, environmental factors, and brain chemistry.

  • Genetics: There is some evidence that obsessive-compulsive personality disorder may be hereditary. If one of your parents has OCPD, the chances are higher that you will have it.
  • Environmental Factors: People raised in an unstable environment may be more likely to develop OCPD later in life. For example, if you were raised by a single parent or had a difficult childhood where you experienced abuse or neglect, you may be more likely to develop this disorder as an adult.
  • Brain Chemistry: The neurotransmitter serotonin plays a vital role in regulating moods and thoughts. People with low serotonin levels may experience symptoms of OCPD such as perfectionism, hoarding, and excessive tidiness.

OCPD causes you to have extreme difficulty with:

  • Managing stress
  • Dealing with uncertainty or ambiguity
  • Letting go of your sense of perfectionism

Symptoms of Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder

Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD) is a mental health condition that causes you to have an obsessive need for perfection and control. It's characterized by rigid thinking, indecisiveness, and an extreme lack of order and structure.

If you've been diagnosed with OCPD, you may experience:

  • An excessive need for perfection
  • A preoccupation with rules, lists, and schedules
  • Extreme devotion to work at the expense of leisure or relationships
  • Impaired social functioning
  • Difficulty coping with change or making decisions without first consulting rules or guidelines
  • Having a strong need for organization
  • Extreme distress when things are not perfect or when they feel like they don't have control over a situation
  • Rigid rules and regulations for self and others
  • Being unwilling to throw anything away without first considering all possible uses for it

How to Deal with the People Suffering from Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder?

If you know someone who has been diagnosed with OCD, here are some tips to help them cope:

1. Don't take it personally

People with OCD are often susceptible and have an intense fear of being judged. They often believe that you might think poorly of them or think they're crazy. They also have trouble understanding that their fears and compulsions are irrational—they believe in them just as strongly as you do the facts of your own life. Be patient and understanding when dealing with someone who has OCD.

2. Stick to the facts

As mentioned above, people with OCD are not always able to logically understand their behavior or its effects on others. They may feel as though they've done something wrong or hurt someone's feelings without knowing why or how—and if you try to explain why they shouldn't feel guilty or ashamed, they'll likely feel worse than before!

3. Focus on the positive

While it's essential to provide support for your friend or family member, don't ignore the reality of their condition. Try giving them tasks that require them to focus on something positive rather than negative thoughts ("Today we're going to make dinner together!").

4. Be Patient

Don't rush your friend into doing anything until they're ready. If they tell you they're prepared to go out and meet new people, don't push them into it before they feel comfortable enough!

5. Control your Anger

Don't get angry when they ask questions repeatedly or make requests that seem unreasonable. Keep your tone calm and cheerful; this will help them relax and feel safe around you.

6. Understand what causes OCPD

The cause of obsessive-compulsive personality disorder is not entirely clear, but some researchers believe abnormalities may cause it in the brain's frontal lobe. In addition, there may be a genetic component involved in the development of this condition.

For more information about Mental Health Conditions. Visit our Mental Health Library page.  To understand and cope with your Dependent Personality Disorder, get help from our Top 10 Psychiatrists, Psychologists, and Therapists who are known for providing the best mental health treatment and psychiatry services. To book an appointment please call us at (800) 457-4573 or submit an appointment request

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