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What is Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder?

obsessive compulsive personality disorder


People with Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD) harbor an intense need for order. They demand that rules be followed precisely and are unwilling to stray from them at all. Details dominate their lives, and they often struggle to see the ‘big picture.’ They are perfectionistic to a fault, frequently running out of time on tasks because they could not meet their own, impossible standards. People demand and require structure, even at times that no one else would, such as with hobbies or leisure time.

Problems arise

When external forces prevent these people from following their desired guidelines, it leads to problems. People with this personality disorder become irritable and angry when others fail to meet their standards. They may react in passive-aggressive ways or nit-pick about minor issues that dissatisfy them.

These people also have a lot of trouble expressing and receiving expressions of friendliness or love. They often feel awkward and unsure of how to act. They appear withdrawn and unapproachable in situations where most others would be overly expressive. All of this leads to difficulties forming and keeping close, intimate relationships.

Different from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?

One of the main differences between Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder is insight. People with OCD know that what they are feeling and doing is unreasonable while those with OCPD believe their way is the right way. In the same vein, people with OCPD don’t believe they need treatment. They want everyone around them to go around with their strict way of doing things. On the contrary, people with OCD desperately want to be rid of their symptoms and willingly seek out treatment. Another difference is that people with OCPD focus on many things throughout their lives, while those with OCD focus on very specific areas.

Types of Personality Disorders

Wondering about a possible disorder but not sure? Let’s explore your symptoms.

  1. Zimmerman, M. (2022). Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD). Merck Manuals Professional Edition. Retrieved from on 7/19/22.
  2. OCPD Fact Sheet. (2010). The International OCD Foundation. Retrieved from on 7/19/22.
  3. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Personality Disorders. In Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.) [Citation is on Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder, Diagnostic criteria]
  4. Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD) | OCD-UK. (2022). Retrieved from on 7/21/22.