Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD)

Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) is a personality disorder involving extreme perfection, need for order, and neatness. Although having similar names, Obsessive-compulsive Disorder (OCD) focuses more on the anxiety brought about from uncontrollable urges and unwanted thoughts to perform the obsessions. While both OCPD and OCD can interfere with our interpersonal relationships, OCPD affects the way we interact with others, which may seem unpleasant. 



   Type of disorder

    • OCPD is a personality disorder, while OCD is an anxiety disorder. 

   Belief in need for treatment 

    • If we suffer from OCPD, we may not see a need for treatment and do not notice abnormalities in our thoughts and behaviours. However if we suffer from OCD, we are aware that our thoughts and behaviours are excessive. 
    • Hence, it is more difficult to convince those who are suffering from OCPD (compared to OCD) as they believe their thoughts are valid and logical.

   Consistency of symptoms

    • Symptoms of OCPD are constant and may persist for long periods of time, whereas symptoms of OCD may fluctuate depending on their anxiety levels.


Signs and Symptoms 

  • Adherence to rules in an inflexible, rigid way
  • Excessive fixation with list-making, often down to minor details
  • Inability to complete tasks due to perfectionism
  • Reluctance to delegate tasks in fear of it not being done right
  • Prioritising work over family and friends 
  • Over controlling in relationships 
  • Hoarding items without sentimental value


Causes of OCPD


   Environmental factors

    • Strict or neglectful parenting 
    • OCPD serves as a coping mechanism


Treatment for OCPD

OCPD is commonly left untreated as many of us are unaware of the problem and we are still functional and traits of OCPD often helps us to be more efficient and assertive. However, psychotherapy is highly effective in helping us cope with OCPD.

   Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

    • Identify and change negative thinking and behavioural patterns associated with OCPD into more adaptive thoughts and behaviours.

   Psychodynamic therapy 

    • Enhance understanding of conscious and unconscious thoughts and emotions to make better life choices 
    • Make connections with past experiences to understand why they think and behave in such ways 

   Medication- selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) 

    • Reduce rigidity and inflexibility, as well as perfectionist tendencies
    • Reduce stress 


How can you cope with OCPD on your own? 

In addition to seeking treatment, there are some coping strategies you can use. 


    • Understanding your symptoms will help to identify and better cope with the stress

   Managing your stress

    • Ensure that your stress levels are low to avoid worsening of your symptoms 
    • Take a step back, delegate your work 

   Try mindfulness and meditation 

    • Be mindful of your rigidness and be sensitive to others 
    • Identifying triggers to extreme perfectionism to allow better planning when triggered. 
    • Try meditation or simple breathing exercises to calm down 


Find out more about OCPD by watching the video attached!

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