Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder

Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD) is characterized by stubborn conformity to rules, moral codes, orderliness, and exacting detail.  Sigmund Freud, the famous psychologist, once described it as “anal retentive character”.

DSM-IV defines OCPD as follows:

“A pervasive pattern of preoccupation with orderliness, perfectionism, and mental and interpersonal control, at the expense of flexibility, openness, and efficiency, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by four (or more) of the following:

  1. Is preoccupied with details, rules, lists, order, organization, or schedules to the extent that the major point of the activity is lost.
  2. Shows perfectionism that interferes with task completion (e.g., is unable to complete a project because his or her own overly strict standards are not met)
  3. Is excessively devoted to work and productivity to the exclusion of leisure activities and friendships (not accounted for by obvious economic necessity)
  4. Is overconscientious, scrupulous, and inflexible about matters of morality, ethics, or values (not accounted for by cultural or religious identification)
  5. Is unable to discard worn-out or worthless objects even when they have no sentimental value
  6. Is reluctant to delegate tasks or to work with others unless they submit to exactly his or her way of doing things
  7. Adopts a miserly spending style toward both self and others; money is viewed as something to be hoarded for future catastrophes
  8. Shows rigidity and stubbornness”

Although the names are similar, Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD) is not the same as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). They are distinct, and it is possible for one individual to have only one and another individual to have both.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) typically generates a great degree of anxiety and discomfort on the part of its sufferers.  Hence OCD is regarded as an anxiety disorder.  Those who have OCPD may accept their personality characteristics of being unusually detail-oriented and exacting without anxiety and even regard them as beneficial.  It is believed that a large number of those with OCPD find  success in exacting professions such as accounting, engineering, and legal services.

Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder Web Sites

Wikipedia: Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder

Psychology Today: Field Guide to the Obsessive-Compulsive: Famously Fussy

American Journal of Psychiatry articles on PDs other than Borderline and Antisocial

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