Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder: what is it?

Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder (COPD)Not to be confused with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), is a type of mental disorder that characterizes people who are concerned about making every part of their life fit perfectly has been taken to the extreme. One way or another, you can say that the problem lies in some sort of vital perfectionism pushed to its limits.

Usually in this class of patients they feel the need to have full control over how the events in their life unfold, which makes them feel a lot of anxiety and distress whenever the plans unfold. not as expected, which happens very often. .

Below we will see what they are the main symptoms, causes and treatments offered for obsessive-compulsive personality disorder.

    What is this disorder?

    The concept of obsessive-compulsive personality disorder is a diagnostic category used in textbooks such as the DSM-IV that is used to define what happens to a type of person. perfectionism and need for control over their own life they have become so accentuated that it causes them great discomfort and deteriorates their quality of life.

    People with obsessive-compulsive personality disorder have an obsession with doing things the way they should be done, without experiencing any dissonance between their plans and what is happening in reality.

    This disorder belongs to the category of Group C personality disorders (anxiety disorders), In addition to avoidance personality disorder and addiction personality disorder.

    Symptoms of obsessive-compulsive personality disorder

    Diagnosis of obsessive-compulsive personality disorderLike any other mental disorder, it should always be performed by duly accredited mental health professionals and a personalized assessment on a case-by-case basis. However, this list of symptoms can be used as a guide to help detect this disorder.

    The main symptoms of obsessive-compulsive personality disorder are as follows.

    1. Extreme attention to detail

    It manifests itself in virtually every aspect of life. For example, the person plans very precise schedules covering everything that needs to happen throughout the day, creating rules for all kinds of social events, decorating spaces according to very clear rules, etc. This attention to detail overshadows the main focus of the actions.

    2. Rejection of the possibility of delegating tasks

    People with obsessive-compulsive personality disorder tend to disapprove of the idea of ​​delegating tasks to other people because be wary of their ability or willingness to follow directions exactly and the rules of how to do things.

    3. Constant search for productive activities

    Another symptom of obsessive-compulsive personality disorder is the tendency to rest and leisure time to occupy him with tasks considered productive and which have a clear beginning, a series of intermediate stages and an end. This generates great exhaustion and increases stress levels.

    4. Extreme ethical rigidity

    In personal life, the morals of people with obsessive-compulsive personality disorder are so rigid that they become more focused in the formal aspects of what is considered good and bad than in an in-depth analysis of the ethical implications of one action or another.

    5. Extreme perfectionism

    The need to do everything as planned takes too much time for many tasks, Which makes them overlap with other plans. This mismatch of schedules creates intense discomfort.

    6. Tendency to accumulate

    This type of diagnosis is associated with a tendency to save and accumulate; very little money is spent and objects are preserved. Future utility is unclear. It has to do with the need to know that you have the means to face future problems and the extreme need for stability.

    7. Cough

    Patients with Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder they hardly change their mindAs his belief system is rigid and provides stability.

    Differential diagnosis: similar disorders

    Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder it can be confused with other disorders that do not belong to personality disorders. The main ones are obsessive-compulsive disorder and autism spectrum disorders. However, there are some differences that distinguish them.


    In obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, unlike what happens in obsessive-compulsive disorderThere is no awareness that one has a disorder related to perfectionism and rigidity, as this psychological characteristic has become related to one’s own personality and identity.

    This causes this class of patients not to decide to go to therapy to deal with this problem, but to try to resolve the problems arising from the symptoms, such as anxiety and fatigue arising from the implementation of their habits.

    On the other hand, in the TOC, obsessions are not seen as something that is part of their own identity. In addition, in this disorder, the compulsions are of a specific type and the rigidity does not permeate all aspects of life.

      Autism spectrum disorders

      The people who present symptoms associated with Asperger’s syndrome, Now included in the category of Autism Spectrum Disorder, differ from those with COPD in their difficulties in carrying out mental processes related to Theory of Mind (such as reading between the lines, detecting sarcasm, etc.) and in their poor social skills, mainly.

        the causes

        As with all personality disorders, the specific causes of obsessive-compulsive personality disorder are unclear, as it is a complex and multicausal psychological phenomenon, Based on variable and constantly evolving psychosocial mechanisms which, however, generate very stable and persistent symptoms over time.

        The most accepted hypothesis on the causes of COPD is based on the biopsychosocial model, so it is assumed that its origin has to do with an interrelation between biological, social and the type of learning that has been internalized for the person.


        When relieving the harmful symptoms of COPD participation in psychotherapy sessions is recommended. Cognitive behavioral therapy can help change habits and thought patterns based on extreme rigidity, detect times when perfectionism interferes with quality of life, and introduce more leisure and rest into daily life.

        In some cases, medical staff may recommend and prescribe psychotropic drugs to be used in a controlled manner and only under medical supervision. In this regard, the use of a type of antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) it has been shown to be effective in many cases if its use is accompanied by psychotherapy.

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