Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder

Healthy perfectionism is self-motivating and drives a person to overcome adversity and achieve success. However extreme perfectionism can also be toxic when a person is overly focused on avoiding failure, resulting in a negative orientation. One may unreasonably expect themselves or others to deliver flawless performance all the time which is practically impossible and can create internal conflicts within a person and tense situations with others. One can connect with an Online Counselor at TalktoAngel for Online Counseling.

Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder or OCPD comes under cluster C of Personality disorders in DSM-5. A characteristic feature of disorders under this cluster is that these make a person either too clingy or highly avoidant of people depending upon the disorder. With OCPD,   One may push people away to keep up a sense of order and control. One could also be so focused on details that they end up ignoring those around them. OCPD is characterized by a pervasive preoccupation with orderliness, perfectionism, and rigid control of situations and events around oneself. People with obsessive-compulsive personality disorder need to be in control and they tend to be solitary in their endeavors because they often mistrust others. They exhibit perfectionism, and control of themselves and situations to such an extent that it interferes with flexibility, effectiveness, and openness. They are very rigid and stubborn in their activities and insist that everything be done in specific ways. 

To maintain a sense of control, they stress heavily on rules, minuscule details, procedural details, schedules, etc. As a result, the actual purpose behind a project or activity may be lost. These people repeatedly and routinely engage in nit-picking and pay extraordinary attention to detail.  Since people with this disorder want everything to be done in a specific way, they experience distress when delegating tasks and working with others. When working with others, they tend to make elaborate lists about how a task should be done and become disgruntled when an alternative way of completing the same task is suggested. They also tend to reject help even when falling behind schedule. They fail to make judicious use of their time, often leaving the most important tasks until the end. Their preoccupation with the details can endlessly delay the completion of the tasks at hand.

People with this disorder overly emphasize work productivity, and this is not usually motivated by financial necessity but more so by their need to control outcomes. Leisure activities and relationships are often neglected and tend to take a back seat in their life. A person with this disorder may falsely conclude that they have no time to relax or go out with friends. They are overly and obsessively concerned about their time spent with friends, and family, on vacations, or at formal gatherings. They usually consider recreational activities like sports as important tasks requiring organization and hard work to master and view these as yet another avenue to achieve perfection. They also engage in elaborate planning of events way ahead in time and do not like changes to be made in such plans. This level of rigidity can often frustrate their friends and coworkers. 

They express affection or love in a very regulated and controlled manner. They usually face problems relating to others and may be able to do so only in a stiff or formal way. Often, they speak only after thinking about what appears to them as the perfect thing to say in any given situation. Excessively focused on logic and intellect, they display an intolerant attitude towards emotional and expressive behavior. They tend to be quite picky and rigid about issues surrounding, ethics, values, and moral principles and are often harsh on themselves and others.  They usually have overzealous regard for authorities and insist on rigid compliance to rules allowing for no exceptions. One peculiar feature of OCPD also involves an unwillingness to part away with worn-out articles or clothes even though they have no sentimental value. People with OCPD also show a miser attitude when it comes to spending for themselves and others because they view money as something to be saved for future contingencies. 

OCPD can often be confused with OCD or Obsessive Compulsive disorder which is actually an anxiety-based disorder. However, a key difference between these two is that OCD involves constant intrusive thought patterns often referred to as obsessions that lead to anxiety and drive a person to engage in compulsive behavior for achieving relief. On the other hand, people with OCPD are actually driven by achieving perfection. Furthermore, people with OCD demonstrate insight and are self-aware about their behavior but this is not the case with people who have OCPD.

It is not exactly known what causes a person to have OCPD. However, genetic factors do appear to play a role in the development of OCPD. If one has a close family member with the condition, then he or she may be at an increased risk of developing this condition. A childhood with very controlling or protective parents or caregivers can lead an individual to internalize certain behaviors resulting in the later development of this disorder in adult life. People whose parents or caregivers were often unavailable during childhood may also have an increased risk of developing OCPD.

Trying to treat a person with OCPD can be quite a challenging task when the person is not prepared to acknowledge their condition or seek help from an Online Counseling platform TalktoAngel, or the person is willing to seek and accept help, then treatment can be effective from an Online Counsellor. It has been hypothesized that people with OCPD may react better to treatment when they strictly follow the therapist’s therapeutic activities.

Treatments for OCPD are quite similar to those for OCD, with the most successful treatment being a talking therapy called Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). Some people find they also need the additional support of medications.

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