What is Obsessive–compulsive personality disorder (OCPD)?


What is Obsessive–compulsive personality disorder (OCPD)?

This is a blog about a very serious mental health disorder which people may have and not even know it. The problem is that these people are so sick they have no idea what harm their actions and or lack of action does to those they target.

Good examples of this illness are online trolls who start up hate pages, record video’s, spam hate on social media sites and go so far as to pretend to be an old woman while using an obituary photo from a 80 year old women they don’t even know. That is extreme to me and very mentally ill.

January 28 2013 is a day to start talking about mental health issues in order to get the help people need. Let’s start the conversation with this first topic on mental health disorders.

OCPD is a chronic non-adaptive pattern of extreme perfectionism, preoccupation with neatness and detail, and a need for control or power over one’s environment that causes major suffering and stress, especially in areas of personal relationships. Persons with OCPD are usually inflexible and controlling. They may find it hard to relax, and must plan out their activities down to the minute.[1] OCPD occurs in about 1% of the general population. It is seen in 3–10% of psychiatric outpatients. The disorder most often occurs in men.[2]


According to the WHO (World Health Organization):

The World Health Organization’s ICD-10 uses the term (F60.5) Anankastic personality disorder.[3]

It is characterized by at least three of the following:

1. Feelings of excessive doubt and caution;
2. Preoccupation with details, rules, lists, order, organization or schedule;
3. Perfectionism that interferes with task completion;
4. Excessive conscientiousness, scrupulousness, and undue preoccupation with
productivity to the exclusion of pleasure and interpersonal relationships;
5. Excessive pedantry and adherence to social conventions;
6. Rigidity and stubbornness;
7. Unreasonable insistence by the individual that others submit exactly to his or her way of doing things, or unreasonable reluctance to allow others to do things;
8. Intrusion of insistent and unwelcome thoughts or impulses.


A. Compulsive and obsessional personality (disorder)
B. Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder


1. Obsessive-compulsive disorder

It is a requirement of ICD-10 that a diagnosis of any specific personality disorder also satisfies a set of general personality disorder criteria.


So what causes OCPD?

Researchers set forth both genetic and environmental theories for what causes OCPD. Under the genetic theory, people with a form of the DRD3 gene will probably develop OCPD and depression, particularly if they are male.[4][5] But genetic concomitants may lie dormant until triggered by events in the lives of those who are predisposed to OCPD. These events could include trauma faced during childhood, such as physical, emotional or sexual abuse, or other psychological trauma. Under the environmental theory, OCPD is a learned behavior. People get OCPD by copying others throughout childhood. OCPD comes from constant contact throughout childhood between the child and persons (e.g., parents or teachers) who are inflexible, controlling, and obsess over the children under their watch.[6]

So this is a learned behavior and not something which just happens. The cause is from childhood. Live changing events such as being under too much stress can bring the trait out in those who have OCPD. It appears extreme stress is a trigger for some people.


So is there a treatment plan for those suffering with OCPD?

Fortunately there is help for those who are suffering with OCPD but it involves many possible treatments which the person must agree to in order to get their life back on an even keel.

Some possible treatments for OCPD are:

a. Psychotherapy,
b. cognitive behavioral therapy,
c. behavior therapy or self-help.
d. Medication may be prescribed.

While in behavior therapy, the patient talks with a psychoterapist about how to change the compulsions into healthier, more productive behaviors. Cognitive Analytic Therapy is one effective form of behavior therapy. [7][8]

The most important part of treatment is for the patient to accept they have this diagnosis of OCPD. If the patient believes that their thoughts and or behaviors are correct and everyone else is wrong, the treatment won’t work. This is an issue with those who suffer from OCPD which is why it is important for the patient to be treated asap.

Medication alone will not work for this personality disorder but there have been some medications like Fluoxetine, which has been given with some success to those who are using other forms of treatment in combination. The other class of drugs which may be helpful for the patient along with other treatment are Selective Serotonin Re-Uptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) which have been shown to help the patient not be so tied up with small things and to learn to relax.

Thanks for reading my blog. If you or someone you know needs mental health help, please reach out to them. Mental Health Disease is not the fault of the person who has it.


1. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780080447018500164
2. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000942.htm
3. http://www.mentalhealth.com/icd/p22-pe10.html & http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Statistical_Classification_of_Diseases_and_Related_Health_Problems
4. Joyce et al. (2003). Polymorphisms of DRD4 and DRD3 and risk of avoidant and obsessive personality traits and disorders. Psychiatry Research. 119(2):1–10.
5. Light et al. (2006). Preliminary evidence for an association between a dopamine D3 receptor gene variant and obsessive–compulsive personality disorder in patients with major depression.
6. a b Villemarette-Pittman, Nicole R; Matthew Stanford, Kevin Greve, Rebecca Houston, Charles Mathias (2004). “Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder and Behavioral Disinhibition”. The Journal of Psychology 138 (1): 5–22. doi:10.3200/JRLP.138.1.5-22. PMID 15098711.
7. Protogerou et al. (2008). Evaluation of Cognitive-Analytic Therapy (CAT) outcome in patients with Obsessive–Compulsive Personality Disorder Annals of General Psychiatry 2008, 7(Suppl 1):S109
8. Ryle, A. & Kerr, I. B. (2002) Introducing Cognitive Analytic Therapy: Principles and Practice. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.


2 comments on “What is Obsessive–compulsive personality disorder (OCPD)?”

  1. merle48 Reply

    You are correct when you state that individuals with OCD patterns do NOT realize their illness. Many actually believe they are 100% healthy in mind and actions, yet find fault and inadequacy with “others.” It is known to be a difficult category of mental illness to work with in the areas monitoring and control.

    • BeWytched Reply

      Thanks for the comment. I hope that those who are affected by any form of mental health illness are going to get the help they need without feeling as though they are somehow less than anyone who doesn’t have a mental illness. Have a great day and thanks for reading my blog.

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