Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD)

What is Obsessive–compulsive Personality Disorder?

Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) is a disorder that is characterized by extreme focus on order, perfectionism, and control over one’s thinking and relationship with others, which in turn negatively affects one’s flexibility, openness, and efficiency (OCD-UK, n.d.). Patients with OCPD pay so much attention to trivial details that they are not able to finish their tasks quickly. They are also very strict with certain rules and feel uncomfortable when someone breaks them. This causes difficulties for them to maintain close relationships with others (Watson, 2018). OCPD is not a very rare condition. On the contrary, it is a relatively common personality disorder. Statistics have shown that 2-8% of the population have OCPD, and it is more prevalent in men than in women (OCD-UK, n.d.).

What are the causes of OCPD?

The causes of OCPD are believed to include both genetic and environmental factors,
though the exact causes still need to be determined. One is of higher risk of OCPD if he has a close family member with OCPD, showing the influence of the genetic factor. Growing up with very controlling or protective caregivers or the absence of caregivers is an environmental factor for the development of OCPD. Nonetheless, other factors also exist as it is possible for someone without the above factors to develop this condition (Nall, 2019).

What are the differences between OCPD and OCD?

Many may think that OCPD is the same as OCD, which is the obsessive-compulsive
disorder. Though these two disorders share certain similarities, they are fundamentally two different disorders. They are under different classifications in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). OCD is classified under Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders, while OCPD is classified under Personality Disorders (American Psychiatric Association, 2013).

Their symptoms also differ. OCD mainly comprises certain obsessive thoughts and
compulsive behaviors. People with OCD normally know that their thoughts and behaviors are absurd and nonsensical, but they are not able to stop them, which causes further distress to them (National Institute of Mental Health, 2019). This is another significant difference between OCD and OCPD. People with OCPD do not think that they have any problems. They feel that their way of thinking or their behaviors are normal, whereas it is the others who are wrong (Watson, 2018).

What are the treatments of OCPD?

Common treatments of OCPD include medication, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT),
and psychodynamic therapy. Some anti-depressants and anticonvulsant can be prescribed to the patients for them to manage their high level of stress that comes with their OCPD. CBT is used to help the patients with OCPD to recognize the flaws in their believes and in turn change their way of thinking. In psychodynamic therapy, therapists help patients with OCPD to make connections between their past experiences and the way they think and behave now, which then helps them to see the reason behind their disorder and the need for change (The Recovery Village, 2021).

Though as mentioned, people with OCPD generally do not think they have any
problems, they are willing to seek treatment once their life is negatively affected by OCPD (Nall, 2019).

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