Personality disorders that are mental illnesses – 4: Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder

Many people exhibit perfectionism in whatever they do, but there are people who cross all the limits and display extreme perfectionist traits. At times, such a perfectionist behavior can go up to the extent that might get difficult for the sufferer to lead a normal life. Such people can be so rigid and focused on their own rulebooks that even the slightest disruption could severely affect their mood and behavior. As a result, they not only face stressed relationships and ill health, but also struggle to lead a happy life. Precisely, making perfectionism a preoccupation is a serious issue, as it could be a sign of a mental disorder known as obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD).

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) has categorized OCPD as a mental disorder characterized by extreme level of perfectionism, along with an extreme adherence to self-imposed systems or rules. People suffering from this mental disorder not only face difficulties in accepting disturbances in their meticulous way of living, but also impose the same to the outer environment and other people. Apparently, the mental health condition is more common in men than in women.

OCPD may lead to development of other mental disorders

Sufferers of OCPD are highly conscious, ambitious and possess strong devotion. Despite these qualities, they are always looking for more perfection, due to which they face hardships both at the personal and professional level. Such people are initially appreciated for their perfectionist approach but their rigidity and resistance makes them inefficient in the long run. As a result, they may face social isolation, which further leads to the development of other mental conditions, such as anxiety and depression.

OCPD often develops during the early 20s, the age at which anxiety and frustration come naturally. These people often find decision making the biggest challenge, especially when it comes to prioritizing tasks. They are also resistant to changes, and thus, face difficulty if required to adapt to new situations.

Another characteristic of people with OCPD is their conversational skills. These people are serious and formal while speaking, with a careful hold on their words. They usually speak when they are sure of the perfection in their thoughts. Interestingly, they are not emotionally expressive and usually display their affection in a highly controlled manner.

OCPD is often confused with OCD, which is a condition where people suffer from obsessional thoughts. The obsession of these thoughts turns out to be so intense that the patients are seen repeating or adhering to abnormal rituals. However, the two conditions are entirely different from each other.

Recovery road map

OCPD is a mental disorder; hence, psychotherapy is regarded as the first line of treatment for the condition. However, psychotherapy is usually combined with behavioral therapy for better results, with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) being the most commonly used method. Meanwhile, secondary symptoms, such as depression and anxiety, are often treated using antidepressants.

Additionally, many people are also prescribed medicines, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), to help control inflexible and detail-oriented thinking. However, long-term prescription is not recommended in case of OCPD. Besides, may people are also suggested specific breathing and relaxation techniques including yoga, tai chi, and Pilates to reduce their sense of stress and urgency.

If you or a loved one is suffering from OCPD or any other mental disorder, you can seek help from the 24/7 Mental Health Helpline to know more about mental health and mental disorders. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 855-653-8178 or chat online with our representatives, who can guide you to the best mental health centers and mental health facilities in your vicinity.

Read the other articles of the series “Personality disorders that are mental illnesses:”

  1. Narcissism
  2. Histrionic personality disorder
  3. Borderline personality disorder