With OCPD, the need for order goes well beyond a preference for neatness in certain areas of their lives.
The concept of “OCD” has made its way into everyday conversation and is often used to describe certain quirks of personality. For example, you’ve probably heard someone say something like, “I’m so OCD about the way my desk is organized,” when they like things arranged a certain way.
But for someone struggling with obsessive compulsive personality disorder (OCPD), the need for order goes well beyond a preference for neatness in certain areas of their lives. If you or a loved one obsesses about perfection to the point that it’s interfering with life activities, you need real information and solutions — not just internet humor.
Here you will find everything you need to know about obsessive compulsive personality disorder, including what it is, how it differs from OCD, what your treatment options are, and how to get help if you need it.
First, obsessive compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) is not the same as OCD. According to the Merck Manual, OCPD is
a pervasive preoccupation with orderliness, perfectionism, and control (with no room for flexibility or efficiency) that ultimately interferes with completing a task.
It’s important to note that a personality disorder is a diagnosable mental illness and goes well beyond simple perfectionism. People with OCPD are so obsessed with doing things a certain way that they will miss deadlines, avoid working with others, and allow relationships to deteriorate while they focus on following the steps they believe are necessary for success.
For example, a person with OCPD could be so concerned with every grammatical detail of an essay that they fail to turn in the paper on time and receive a poor grade. This inability to “see the forest for the trees” is so pervasive that it actually leads to failure rather than success.
Unlike obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), people with OCPD don’t experience repeated intrusive thoughts (obsessions) that distress them. They also don’t try to control their thoughts with receptive actions (compulsions), such as excessive hand washing or other rituals.
Many people with OCPD are unable to see a problem with their behavior, because they so strongly believe that their way is the “right” way to accomplish something. Often, family and friends are the ones who want to seek help because their relationships are strained by the inflexible perfectionism of the person with OCPD.
In addition to having a “preoccupation with order, perfectionism, and control,” people with OCPD exhibit four or more of the following signs:
Fortunately, there are several treatment options available for people who suffer from OCPD:
People with OCPD don’t have to resign themselves to an endless struggle. If you think you may have OCPD, getting an official diagnosis is an important first step. From there, you can work with your mental health provider to develop a personalized treatment plan, as most people do best using a combination of the treatments listed above.
Transformations Treatment Center takes a holistic approach to mental health treatment that puts the individual front and center. Contact Transformations today to learn more about how to overcome OCPD and get on with your life.