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MSD Manual

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Quick Facts

Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder


The Manual's Editorial Staff

Last full review/revision Oct 2020| Content last modified Oct 2020
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Your personality is your unique way of thinking, understanding, reacting, and relating to people.

A personality disorder is not just an unusual personality. It's when your personality traits cause significant problems in your life or keep you from relating normally to others.

What is obsessive-compulsive personality disorder?

Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder is:

  • A pattern of needing things to be orderly and perfect and to do things a certain way

People with obsessive-compulsive personality disorder often:

  • Take an unusual interest in rules, schedules, and lists

  • Focus on being careful and neat

  • Stubbornly need to be in control and plan everything

  • Are inflexible and don't like change

  • Focus on details instead of what's important

  • Resist getting help from others

  • Are very rigid in their values and don't make exceptions

Lots of people like an orderly life and try to get details right. However, these kinds of behaviors can become a disorder when too much planning and inflexibility get in the way of relationships or keep people from completing normal tasks.

People with obsessive-compulsive personality disorder often also have depression or abuse alcohol.

Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder is different from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Obsessive-compulsive disorder involves unwanted thoughts and repeated actions that are upsetting to the person who has the disorder. In obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, people aren't upset because they believe their habits are helping them reach their goals.

What causes OCPD?

Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder is probably caused by traits that run in families, such as perfectionism.

How do doctors treat OCPD?

Doctors treat obsessive-compulsive personality disorder with:

  • Therapy

  • Sometimes, antidepressant medicines

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