Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder

A person with Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD) demonstrates an extremely rigid personality style and a fixation with everything being “done right” according to his way of thinking. The criteria for diagnosis are as follows:

  • pervasive preoccupation with orderliness, perfectionism, and mental and interpersonal control at the expense of flexibility, openness, and efficiency
  • preoccupation with details, rules, lists, order, organization, or schedules to the extent that the major point of the activity is lost
  • perfection that interferes with task completion
  • excessive devotion to work and productivity to the exclusion of friendships and leisure activities
  • overly conscientious, scrupulous, and inflexible about matters of morality, ethics, and values
  • inability to discard worthless or worn-out objects even when they have no sentimental value
  • reluctance to delegate tasks or to work with others unless they acquiesce to doing things exactly as he has to have them done
  • miserly spending style (toward self and others) due mainly to fear of future calamities
  • rigidity and stubbornness

While its name is very similar to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), OCPD is distinguished from the former in a few notable ways. People with OCD usually seek help for their disorder and would like to eliminate their obsessions and compulsions, while the person with OCPD generally feels he does not have a problem in terms of his behavior. He is not likely to seek help, or, if he does, it is aimed at problems he says he is having with other people. His distress is usually because family, friends and/or co-workers will not conform to the way he believes things should be done.


Cognitive behavioral therapy, whereby the therapist uses relaxation or distraction techniques to refocus the patient’s compulsive thoughts, is effective with the obsessive compulsive personality.