Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) can easily be distinguished, because only OCD has true obsessions (disturbing thoughts that will not go away) and compulsions (behaviors that are repeated to try to get rid of the thoughts). It is possible, however, for a person to have both OCD and OCPD.

Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD) is a distinct disorder that involves excessive concern for the following:

  • Perfectionism (anything less than perfect is not acceptable)
  • Orderliness (routine, patterns, and order are important)
  • Control (mental control and also the need to control others)

People who have OCPD have difficulty with change (are rigid), they are not open in their relationships (they can act secretive), and they waste time and energy on their behaviors. People with OCPD like to maintain a sense of control through some typical behaviors such as:

  • Paying too much close attention to rules and details.
  • Acting very stubborn and seeing only one correct way to do something.
  • Being overly proper or worried about what is "right" or moral.
  • Making lists and checking them repeatedly.
  • Creating schedules. So much time is spent on this that the point of the activity is often lost.
  • Being overly careful and not taking any risks.
  • Checking for mistakes over and over again.
  • Being stingy with money, to the point of living far below their means.

People with OCPD usually leave the most important tasks until the last moment. They are not aware of how their behavior may inconvenience or annoy people around them. Those with OCPD spend a great deal of time trying to make every detail of a project perfect and often do not complete the project (such as rewriting a paper over and over again until the time to turn the paper in has passed).

People with OCPD are excessively dedicated to their jobs and schoolwork, even at the expense of all leisure activities. When they do participate in hobbies or leisure activities, they approach them as serious tasks that need to be organized and planned. Their performance of these activities (such as sports) must be perfect. There also may be an association between OCPD and other mood and eating disorders.