Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder

by Mackenzie M. March 22nd, 2012 | Mental Health
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While having a conversation about psychology with an older friend, a new disorder was mentioned that most people have never heard of, but are extraordinarily familiar with. Everyone knows those people who are aggressive about making sure that their lives are perfect in every way. Well, to the surprise of many, that is actually a defined psychological disorder known as Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder. Not to be confused with obsessive-compulsive disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder can be just as devastating, but is also just as treatable.

Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder is characterized as a person believing that the way that they do things is the only right way. Although many people hold true to their own beliefs, people suffering from the personality disorder take it to an extreme level, often getting angry or irritable if the way in which they see the world is questioned. This compulsion for perfection on the part of the affected person often involves an unhealthy need to keep their homes clean, and often a need to force people they are in relationships with to do everything in the way that fits in with the quest for perfection. For the individuals close to the person suffering from the disorder, the quest for perfection can be excruciatingly stressful, often leading to isolation, frequent conflict, and destruction of relationships.

Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder has definite symptoms and can be easily spotted. To determine is someone you know has the disorder, there are several lists available online of the most common symptoms. For example, the person is constantly preoccupied with details and rules to the extent that the core and meaning of the activity is lost. The person also shows perfectionism that interferes with actually completing the task being attempted. It is also nearly impossible for the person to delegate work or tasks to others, due to the need for perfection. Along with the severe rigidity and stubbornness toward most daily activities, the biggest symptom of the disorder is an “over conscientious, scrupulous, and inflexible” attitude toward personal matters of “morality, ethics, or values.” An example for this would be strictly adhering to a personal set of beliefs that the person views as the only right way. Someone with the disorder will go out of their way to knock down the beliefs of others.

Unfortunately, another common sign of the disorder is a complete denial that a problem exists, and a constant refusal to accept treatment. A therapist, through a simple personality test and an assessment of the patient’s previous mental health life history, can easily diagnose the disorder. The good news is that many psychologists have been developing levels of treatment for Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder, so once it is diagnosed and the problem is acknowledged, it can be successfully treated. Some recent treatments include extensive psychotherapy (counseling) and certain prescription drugs used for depression or anxiety. If you or someone you know is exhibiting any of these symptoms, the best course of action is to do more research on the disorder on websites such as http://psychcentral.com/disorders.

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All health and medical information is provided for educational purposes and is not meant to replace the medical advice or treatment of your healthcare professional.