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Understanding Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorders

This post is developed in partnership with BetterHelp. There are many reasons to learn more about personality disorders these...

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Understanding Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorders 1

This post is developed in partnership with BetterHelp.

There are many reasons to learn more about personality disorders these days. Personality disorders can have significant impacts on individuals and their loved ones. In many cases, it can affect their ability be hard to make friends and maintain relationships. Learning more about personality disorders, especially obsessive-compulsive personality disorders, can help you navigate relationships and manage yourself better. 

What is a Personality Disorder?

According to the American Psychiatric Association, “A personality disorder is a way of thinking, feeling and behaving that deviates from the expectations of the culture, causes distress or problems functioning, and lasts over time.”

There are currently ten different types of personality disorders. Anyone can develop a personality disorder during childhood or as an adult. When people find it difficult to control their behavior, thoughts, or emotions, they may be diagnosed with a personality disorder. Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder is one of the most common personality disorders. 

Many people use articles from BetterHelp to learn more about personality disorders and how to manage them. 

What is Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder?

Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, also known as OCPD, is a personality disorder based on an individual’s need for control and structure. A common misconception is that people with OCPD are people who only like things neat and orderly. While this is a common symptom, it goes further than that. 


People who experience obsessive-compulsive personality disorder may feel in control when they keep things neat and orderly. Other common symptoms of OCPD include perfectionism, inflexibility, excessive devotion to various aspects of their life, and a lack of empathy. People with OCPD will appear judgemental and irritated when things are out of their control. When a routine or environment is out of their control, they may react with petulance or violence.


There are currently no specific causes of obsessive-compulsive personality disorder. Research suggests that genetics, experiences, or trauma can trigger OCPD. When a person has a positive family history of personality disorder or mental health concerns, the offspring is more likely to develop a mental health concern. Other risk factors can include exposure to OCPD, childhood trauma, and abuse. A preexisting mental health concern can also lead to feelings of perfectionism and control.

How is Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder Treated?

Like many mental health disorders, there is no single treatment plan to help everyone. A treatment plan is prescribed based on the severity of the disorder, the person’s values, and their doctor’s recommendations. Most commonly, doctors suggest psychotherapy, medication, and self-care. 

Psychotherapy focuses on addressing the emotions and behaviors of OCPD. A therapist can assist patients by analyzing their thoughts and helping them find alternate pathways. 

In more severe cases, patients may need medication. There is no medication specific for OCPD, but stimulants and antipsychotics offer the most success. 

Lastly, self-care can benefit people who live with OCPD. Therapists can teach their patients methods and techniques to relax, find inner peace, and embrace things outside their comfort zone. 

If you or someone you love is experiencing symptoms of obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, consider talking to your doctor about the right treatment plan.

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