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    Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder

    Personality disorder - obsessive-compulsive

    Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) is a mental healthcondition in which a person is preoccupied with rules, orderliness, and control.


    OCPD tends to occur in families, so genes may be involved. A person's childhood and environment may also play roles.

    Thisdisorder can affect both men and women. It most often occurs in men.


    OCPD has some of the same symptoms as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).But people with OCD have unwanted thoughts, while people with OCPD believe that their thoughts are correct. In addition, OCD often begins in childhood while OCPD usuallystarts in the teen years or early 20s.

    People witheither OCPDor OCDare high achievers and feel a sense of urgency about their actions. They may become very upset if other people interfere with their rigid routines. They may not be able to express their anger directly. People with OCPDhave feelings that they consider more appropriate, like anxiety or frustration.

    A person withOCPD has symptoms of perfectionism that usually beginby early adulthood. This perfectionism may interfere with the person's ability to complete tasks, because their standards are so rigid. Theymay withdrawemotionally when they are not able to control a situation. This can interfere with their ability to solve problems and form close relationships.

    Other signs ofOCPD include:

    • Over-devotion to work
    • Not being ableto throw things away, even when the objects have no value
    • Lack of flexibility
    • Lack of generosity
    • Not wanting to allow other people to do things
    • Not willing to show affection
    • Preoccupation with details, rules, and lists

    Exams and Tests

    OCPD is diagnosed based on a psychological evaluationthat assessesthe history and severity of the symptoms.


    Medicines may help reduce anxiety and depression from OCPD. Talk therapy is thought to be the most effective treatment for OCPD. In some cases, medicines combined with talk therapyis more effective than either treatment alone.

    Outlook (Prognosis)

    Outlook forOCPD tends to be better than that for other personality disorders. The rigidness and control of OCPD may prevent many of the complications such as drug abuse, which are common in other personality disorders.

    The social isolation and difficulty handling anger that are common withOCPD may lead to depression and anxiety later in life.

    Possible Complications

    • Anxiety
    • Depression
    • Difficulty moving forward in career situations
    • Relationship difficulties

    When to Contact a Medical Professional

    Seeyour health care provider or mental health professional if you or someone you knowhas symptoms of OCPD.


    Blais MA, Smallwood P, Groves JE, Rivas-Vazquez RA. Personality and personalitydisorders. In: Stern TA, Rosenbaum JF, Fava M, Biederman J, Rauch SL, eds. Massachusetts General Hospital Comprehensive Clinical Psychiatry. 1st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Mosby; 2008:chap 39.


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        Review Date: 11/17/2012

        Reviewed By: Timothy Rogge, MD, Medical Director, Family Medical Psychiatry Center, Kirkland, WA. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.

        The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

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