When people think about a person with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) they often imagine a Type-A personality, who is obsessed with organizing, cleaning, or orderliness, and may be a perfectionist. The lack of information and dynamic understanding of what OCD really is causes many people to believe that OCD is a personality trait or quirk. The misrepresentation of OCD symptoms as a personality feature overshadows the presence of a more serious illness. Interestingly, the type of person we commonly associate with the profile of OCD is more likely to be diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD).
Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder is distinctly different from OCD. Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder is not OCD, they do not have the same symptoms.
Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD) is a pervasive mental health condition classified by an intense preoccupation with orderliness, perfectionism, and mental and interpersonal control, at the expense of flexibility, openness, and efficiency. Individuals with OCPD live their daily lives in highly controlled manner which is driven by adherence to strict or rigid thinking patterns that impact their mood and behavior.
Unlike OCD, people with OCPD do not posses the true obsessive and compulsive symptoms (as unwanted or ritualistic) and are not likely to experience distress over obsessive thoughts or compulsive behavior. Individuals with OCPD have little insight into their behaviors and are likely to see their thoughts and feelings as normal. In addition, people with OCPD are more likely to have problems in their close relationships as impaired social functioning is a key characteristic in personality disorders.
Many people with OCPD can be seen as high-strung or overbearing and may demonstrate an overwhelming need to be “right.” Since many people with personality disorders including OCPD do not recognize their thoughts, feeling, or behaviors as maladaptive or dysfunctional these individuals often blame others or participate in problematic behaviors to resist change.
Individuals with OCPD tend to have a strong adherence to a particular set of beliefs or moral standard leading them to become distressed when they are not able to maintain control of an environment or social situation. People with OCPD tend to think in terms of structure and hierarchies and often can not tolerate to be in situations in which they do not have full control and avoid being in submissive position. It is not uncommon for people with OCPD to be easily angered or experience chronic irritability.
There are a few areas of fixation that are common in people with OCPD. Individuals with OCPD tend to have an obsessive focus in areas related to emotional control, money, and hoarding. People with OCPD tend to devalue emotional expression and are often opposed to interactions involving emotionality. Many individuals with OCPD are not tolerant of others expressing their emotions and may not allow these types of interactions. A person with OCPD may ruminate on situations involving money or finances, or may fixate on aspects related to employment or work. In addition to perfectionism, many people with OCPD suffer from hoarding problems. Individuals with OCPD often form an attachment to certain items (which may or may not have value) and are distressed by the idea of discarding the objects.
In the present the true cause of OCPD remains unknown although it has been attributed to both environmental and genetic factors. Interestingly, many people with OCPD says that they have noticed the presence of their symptoms since childhood.
If you or someone you love is feeling out of control and would like to improve their relationships, please visit www.therapywithraquel.com for more information.
Raquel Buchanan is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Palm Springs, Ca. Raquel specializes in building self-confidence and self-esteem in people who have experienced childhood abuse or violence. She offers virtual and in person appointments.
Raquel Buchanan is a mental health profession in southern California who blogs about life and relationships. Raquel is on a mission to spread awareness about the impact of violence, abuse, and trauma. The information contained on this site is for entertainment purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for professional assistance. Contents contained in these blogs are based on true stories or the experiences of several several people and are fictional. Identifying information has been changed to protect the anonymity and confidentiality of therapy patients.