OCPD or Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder is something I have dealt with since around the time I was in Middle School. This will be a brief outline of OCPD for future reference to those who are curious about it or for myself if I decide to write more on the topic.

Signs and Symptoms

  • A preoccupation with remembering past events
  • Paying attention to minor details
  • Excessive compliance with existing social customs, rules or regulations
  • Unwarranted compulsion to note-taking, or making lists and schedules
  • Rigidity of ones own beliefs
  • Showing unreasonable degree of perfectionism that could eventually interfere with completing the task at hand
  • OCPD may cause varying level of distress for varying length of time and may interfere with the occupational, social, and romantic life.
  • Obsessions

  • OCD patients show an obsessive need for cleanliness, usually combined with an obsessive preoccupation for tidiness. This obsessive tendency might make their daily life rather difficult and a cause for anxiety or daily tension.
  • OCPD patients might tend not to organize things, and they could become compulsive hoarders. This is due to their efforts in cleaning their surroundings, which can effectively be hindered by the amount of clutter that the person still plans to organize in the future.
  • OCPD patients might never obsessively clean or organize, as they become increasingly busy with their workload, and thus their stress turns gradually to what can be described as anxiety. Anxiety is a disorder known for excessive and unexpected worry that negatively impacts an individuals daily life and routines.
  • Rigidity

    Perception of ones own and others actions and beliefs tend to be grouped into Right and Wrong, with little or no margin between the two. For people with this disorder, rigidity could place strain on interpersonal relationships, with occasional frustration turning into anger and even varying degrees of violence.

    Associated Conditions

    OCPD is often confused with OCD. They are two distinct disorders. Some OCPD individuals do have OCD, and the two are sometimes found in the same family, sometimes along with eating disorders. People with OCPD do not generally feel the need to repeatedly perform ritualistic actions a common symptom of OCD and usually find pleasure in perfecting a task, whereas people with OCD are often more distressed after their actions.

    There are considerable similarities and overlap between Aspergers syndrome and OCPD, such as list-making, inflexible adherence to rules, and obsessive aspects of Aspergers syndrome, though the latter may be distinguished from OCPD especially regarding affect behaviors, worse social skills, difficulties with Theory of Mind and intense intellectual interests like an ability to recall every aspect of a hobby. Stiff and rigid personalities have been consistently linked with eating disorders, especially with anorexia nervosa, an eating disorder that is characterized by excessive amounts of restriction regarding food intake in fear of gaining weight. Many people who experience this disorder also experience body dis-morphia. Divergences between different studies as to the incidence of OCPD among anorexics and bulimics have been found, which may in part reflect differences in the methodology chosen in different studies, as well as the difficulties of diagnosing personality disorders. People with OCPD often tend to general pessimism or underlying form of depression. This can at times become so serious that suicide is a risk.


    The cause of OCPD is thought to involve a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Under the genetic theory, people with a form of the DRD3 gene will probably develop OCPD and depression, particularly if they are male. But genetic concomitants may lie dormant until triggered by events in the lives of those who are predisposed to OCPD. These events could include parenting styles that are over-involved or overly protective, as well as trauma faced during childhood. Traumas that could lead to OCPD include physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, or other psychological trauma. Under the environmental theory, OCPD is a learned behavior.


    The fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders defines OCPD in Axis II Cluster C as an extensive pattern of preoccupation with perfectionism, orderliness, and interpersonal and mental control, at the cost of efficiency, flexibility and openness.

    Symptoms must appear by early adulthood and in multiple contexts. At least four of the following should be present...

  • Is preoccupied with details, rules, lists, order, organization, or schedules to the extent that the major point of the activity is lost.
  • Shows perfectionism that interferes with task completion.
  • Is excessively devoted to work and productivity to the exclusion of leisure activities and friendships.
  • Is overconscientious, scrupulous, and inflexible about matters of morality, ethics, or values.
  • Is unable to discard worn-out or worthless objects even when they have no sentimental value.
  • Is reluctant to delegate tasks or to work with others unless they submit to exactly his or her way of doing things.
  • Adopts a miserly spending style toward both self and others; money is viewed as something to be hoarded for future catastrophes.
  • Shows rigidity and stubbornness.
  • The fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders a person has to meet all of the following conditions for diagnosis...

    A.Significant impairments in personality functioning manifest by:

    1. Impairments in self functioning (a or b):

  • a. Identity: Sense of self derived predominantly from work or productivity; constricted experience and expression of strong emotions.
  • b. Self-direction: Difficulty completing tasks and realizing goals associated with rigid and unreasonably high and inflexible internal standards of behavior; overly conscientious and moralistic attitudes.
  • AND

    2. Impairments in Interpersonal functioning (a or b):

  • a. Empathy: Difficulty understanding and appreciating the ideas, feelings, or behaviors of others.
  • b. Intimacy: Relationships seen as secondary to work and productivity; rigidity and stubbornness negatively affect relationships with others.
  • B. Pathological personality traits in the following domains

    1. Compulsive, characterized by...

  • a. Rigid perfectionism: Rigid insistence on everything being flawless, perfect, without errors or faults, including ones own and others performance; sacrificing of timeliness to ensure correctness in every detail; believing that there is only one right way to do things; difficulty changing ideas or viewpoint; preoccupation with details, organization, and order.
  • 2. Negative Affectivity, characterized by:

  • a. Perseveration: Persistence at tasks long after the behavior has ceased to be functional or effective; continuance of the same behavior despite repeated failures.
  • C. The impairments in personality functioning and the individuals personality trait expression are relatively stable across time and consistent across situations.

    D. The impairments in personality functioning and the individuals personality trait expression are not better understood as normative for the individuals developmental stage or socio-cultural environment.

    E. The impairments in personality functioning and the individuals personality trait expression are not solely due to the direct physiological effects of a substance or a general medical condition.


    Estimates for the prevalence of OCPD in the general population range from 2.1% to 7.9%. Men are diagnosed with OCPD about twice as often as women.

    More Reading

  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obsessive%E2%80%93compulsive_personality_disorder#Obsessions
  • https://www.healthline.com/health/obsessive-compulsive-personality-disorder
  • https://psychcentral.com/disorders/obsessive-compulsive-personality-disorder/