What Is Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD)? - Scientific American
Jul 27, 7 Ways To Love Someone Who Has OCPD Partners with OCPD (obsessive compulsive personality disorder), can be really difficult to live. Affecting 3 to 8 percent of the population, obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) is the most common of all the personality disorders. This week, the. OCDONLINE is the premiere site for the process and treatment of OCD by Steven Phillipson, Ph.D. Dr. Phillipson uses CBT to treat OCD in NY and around the.
Repetitive rituals are performed to undo the threat. Their overall genuine nature tends not to be affected by the condition and in the vast majority of the cases they recognize that the concerns are irrational. A person with washing rituals due to fears about contracting aids from a public door knob might still be very willing to sky dive or go white water rafting.
This suggests that a person's inclination toward risk taking is not affected by their anxiety about germs. Although there is a moderate overlap between OCPD and OCD in regard to similarity of rituals, the pervasive differences might justify a relabeling such as perfectionistic personality disorder of this condition.
OCPD wreaks havoc within a person's life due to a dysfunctional perspective. The movie "As Good as It Gets" unfortunately portrays a muddled combination of these two conditions, although it was touted as the OCD movie. The main character engages in a variety of OCD rituals, yet his overall demeanor is that of an angry, belligerent, intolerant loner who clearly has an exaggerated form of OCPD as his main handicap.
Not only are some of the characteristics similar to the population at large but there is going to be an unsettling degree of similarity between OCD and OCPD. If you have OCD, please do not read this paper and attempt to diagnosis yourself.
It is not in the surface similarities that the distinction is made between the two conditions. Instead the distinction lies within the underlying rationale of these key elements. It requires vast training and clinical experience to distinguish the subtle but drastic contrast between the two conditions.
Making an accurate diagnosis is therefore best left up to a qualified specialist. The purpose of this paper is to qualify aspects of this condition so that those who see glaring similarities to themselves or significant others may be better informed and possibly seek treatment.
OCPD is a pervasive condition involving ones life philosophy where the characteristics are vast and complicated. To qualify for a diagnosis of OCPD one need not possess all of the following manifestations nor is one or two similarities sufficient. A combination of the following dispositions in an extreme form is generally grounds for a diagnosis. Generally two hallmark thinking styles are pervasive for persons who suffer this condition. The primary manifestations of OCPD entail either a bent toward perfectionistic standards or righteous indignation.
Along with perfectionism comes relentless anxiety about not getting things perfect. Getting things correct and avoiding at all costs the possibilities of making an error is of paramount importance. This perspective produces procrastination and indecisiveness. The second factor entails the rigid ownership of truth. This feature produces anger and conflict.
Persons with OCPD generally lean toward one of these perspectives or another. In some cases both perspectives are of equal magnitude.
Rituals, on the other hand, often play a relatively small part in this complex syndrome of perfectionistic mannerisms, intense anger and strict standards. Anger and contempt are rarely held at bay for those who disagree.
It is further suggested that persons with this condition tend to resist the authority of others while simultaneously demanding that others conform to their way of doing things. The DSM III-R's pervasive focus relates to the person's inability to attain completion of tasks due to the inordinately high standards, which are placed on almost all aspects of living. Typically a diagnosis will be made by the clinician after other topics have been explored.
Why seek out the help of others when one possesses ultimate knowledge. Perhaps this trend will now change due to an increasing awareness of the manifestations of this condition. Three pervasive rationales for entering therapy have entailed: From my own clinical observations it seems that emotional and cognitive rigidity are the hallmark indices suggesting the existence of OCPD.
When events stray from what a person's sense of how things "should be," bouts of intense anger and emotional discord are characteristic.
When almost all decisions seem to take on the same paramount importance and being correct is imperative, making even simple choices can become a nightmare. Persons with OCPD can become stymied in life due to an inability to establish with certainty which choice is the correct one. Not unusual would be for someone to spend over ten minutes attempting to choose the correct pair of socks which best matches their tie.
They tend to place a great deal of pressure on themselves and on others to not make mistakes. Within OCPD the driving force is to avoid being wrong.
In contrast, the underlying rational for someone with OCD would typically be to make the correct decision so that nothing superstitiously bad would happen. Since continuously making the correct choices in life, seems to be an impossible task for us humans, there is a regular source of discontent available for OCPD sufferers. This indecisiveness can have devastating effects on academic, professional and interpersonal relationships.
From early adolescence, through college, perfectionism can take an otherwise straight "A" student and bring him to the brink of failure due to incomplete assignments. Having to get the term paper exactly correct makes for an almost impossible task. An extremely difficult time making decisions always looking for the correct choice contributes to procrastination.
Frequently even starting a task seems impossible, due to a need to sort out the priorities correctly. If it takes an hour to complete the first paragraph of a report, because revision after revision never seems to get it perfect, imagine the anguish experienced when contemplating the completion of a two thousand word essay.
The time it could take to complete a ten page report might be multiplied by five due to checking or rewording so that it is just so. The expression of this, "need", to have a perfect academic fit is seen in some students having multiple majors during their four year stint. Changing colleges, due to emerging complications and disillusionment, is also a possible manifestation of OCPD.
The need for an occupational exact fit, can also bring long term investment in a career choice to a screaming halt. Many aspects of any career can seem very appealing in their conceptualization. Things can always look great from afar.
As one becomes more thoroughly educated about any school, career or person, through experience, the pitfalls become more apparent. Since perfection is often sought, the emerging defects of any career choice often deter a prolonged investment in any specific area of focus. Making a definitive choice and changing jobs can become stymied due to the endless pursuit of figuring out which of the available options is best. Since all humans carry a significant amount of emotional baggage it typically doesn't take long in a dating or marital situation to discover our partners' flaws.
For someone with OCPD choosing a partner who lives up to their unreasonably high standards is very difficult, if not impossible. Remaining invested in a relationship without bouts of volatility over the long haul is highly unlikely.
Living with Someone Who Has Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder
For those who do remain in long term relationships chronic discord tends to be pervasive. In a world where being in control is of paramount importance, dealing effectively with the volatility of emotions is extremely difficult. Since emotionality is associated with spontaneity and upheaval i. Exerting effort to contain "out-bursts" of emotion is an everyday phenomenon. It seems however that there is one emotion which exists in abundance. The expression of anger tends to come out naturally and in excess.
Anger, as an emotion, is one of the most basic and easily triggered of human reactions. Anger is only seconded by anxiety in its primitive nature. Vulnerability, one of the most advanced of human emotionsas seen through the eyes of the OCPD sufferer, compels people to act in silly ways and expose themselves to the possibility of rejection. Emotional constraint is exerted to prevent the possibility that one may act in a regrettable way.
The result of this emotional constraint is that all displays of emotion sometimes becomes compressed into an expression of flat affect. Anxiety and happiness can be perceived as the same on the receiving end. It is not uncommon for persons with OCPD to have their humor often mistaken for seriousness. Jokes or sarcasm seen by the deliverer as obvious are mistaken for insults and political incorrectness. Although rarely observed by others, the experience of inner turmoil within this syndrome is immense.
As much as others are often victimized by OCPD's oppressive and demanding style, the high standards often apply two fold within the OCPD sufferers' expectations directed toward themselves. The high standards which a "Good Person" is expected to live up to are often far beyond the capacity for any human being to consistently fulfill. A belief such as "I know that I'm a good person, but I hate myself for doing so many wrong things" is not uncommon.
This self-hatred along with tremendous disappointment can easily lead to feeling of depression. Since ones humanness prevents an OCPD sufferer from living according his own high standards, a tremendous amount of self-hatred is imposed.
Recent research has documented that as much as seventy percent of depression can be attributed to feelings of low self-esteem and inadequacy. In my work with helping persons manage the challenges of self-esteem I have found it much more difficult to have persons who are "Good" come to find acceptance in being "human" than helping those with low self-worth rise up to the possibilities of self-acceptance.
Another contributor to depression within the OCPD population is a cognitive style characterized by dichotomous thinking. Dichotomous thinking is the tendency to categorize all aspects of life into one of two perspectives -- "All good" or "All bad. All that is pure and wholesome is valued. It can take only one stain or blemish to have the person completely find justification in discarding anything which evidences a flaw.
Within their own being these rigid standards can be devastating to one's self image. Fault finding in one's own world produces a regular source of conflict in maintaining the high standards of life. Accompanying Rituals Common rituals, which accompany the OCP syndrome typically, involve 1 perfectionism, 2 hoarding, and 3 ordering.
Perfectionism as expressed by the OCPD is not the admirable quality often sought by the world at large. As a ritualistic aspect of this condition the OCP perfectionism entails checking and rechecking "completed" tasks to be absolutely sure that there are no imperfections. It could literally take upwards of 10 to 20 minutes to fill out a check or mail an envelope due to a rigid need to ensure that there are absolutely no mistakes.
It is as if, to make a mistake which might be noticed would ruin ones reputation for life. Perfectionism could also take the form of a need for over completeness -- reading and rereading material until a sense of absolute clarity exists. Not only is it extremely time consuming but the overall content of the story is lost. The forest is missed while examining each leaf, of each branch, of each tree.
This disposition can also have an adverse impact on one's conversational style.
Daniel A. Bochner, Ph.D. - Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder
In the course of a conversation sometimes information is sought which involves such minutiae that the questioned person becomes lost and frustrated. Slight inconsistencies or mistakes, within another's conversation, are often perceived by the OCPD sufferer. These details, no matter how peripheral to the conversation, must be brought out into the open and clarity must be achieved. In some cases the corporate environment rewards a person's perfectionism.
It is not uncommon for persons with OCPD to reach high levels on the corporate masthead because their productivity was not sufficiently impaired while their high standards seemed to reflect the company's dedication for quality. How often do we find subordinates complaining about the tyrant at the top?
But more on this subject latter. Occasionally the OCPD sufferer may acknowledge that other ideas are also functionally correct, but then go off and spend a great deal of time and effort at coming up with an even more correct idea.
This effort may produce a modicum of improvement at the expense of efficiency and productivity. Hoarding involves the excessive saving or collecting of items typically thought of as junksuch that it intrudes on the quality of life for the hoarder or those living with such a person. In a significant percentage of cases, people lack the insight that they are behaving in an unhealthy manner.
When persons are not cognizant of the irrational nature of this condition it is referred to as overvalued ideation ego-syntonic OCD.
Typically this form of OCD involves a poor prognosis since the individual is rarely willing to confront the challenges offered by the treatment. This lack of willingness to see one's own culpability has a very adverse impact on the quality of life for those around her. Many hoarders, however, are well aware of the adverse impact of this condition and suffer tremendously as a consequence of seeing all free space within their living environment occupied.
Renting extra storage space to pick up the overflow of ones own living environment is not uncommon. Where hoarding is a component of OCPD, the justification for saving items typically involves one of the following rationales.
In many instances there is a deep commitment related to the "sinfulness of waste. Maybe when she's a new parent the baby will be able to use these diapers. Throwing away four year old TV guides would cause a tremendous upheaval since Mom may want to see which program was on NBC 9: Another determinant for hoarding involves the endless projects on the "to do list.
Rather than abandoning projects, they become piled up and the fantasy is maintained that some day they will be gotten to. A telltale sign of OCPD is ordering gone haywire.
- What Is Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD)?
- Daniel A. Bochner, Ph.D.
It would not be unusual for a person's cabinets or refrigerator to have the items placed in exactly their proper spot. The first evidence of an OCPD is their appearance. They are meticulous about how they are groomed and dressed. Black and white thinking. There is no area of grey for OCPD.
Things are either one way or another. This often manifests in comparing meals, children, vacations, discussions, projects, and many other areas. It is as if they need things to only be black and white and therefore move anything that appears grey to one side or the other. OCPDs believe there is a right way to do things and a wrong way, and they do the right way.
The difficulty is they tend to be analytical and therefore do evaluate until they find the better method. The black and white thinking frequently results in an inflexible value system which is designed by OCPDs. They might listen for a minute but then will lecture for hours explaining why their values are preferred. Interrogates for meaningless details. OCPDs are obsessed with details.
8 Tips on How to Recognize Someone With Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder
They tend to put little bits of random details together to draw conclusions that are frequently inaccurate. But trying to tell them their perception is in error will only result in more interrogation to prove their point.
Obsessed with rules and order. If a rule exists, there must be a good reason for it and OCPDs expect everyone to live by it. This includes non-spoken social rules, religious guidelines, dress codes, and body language. There is little to no grace for the individuality of another person because their rule is best. Work is a place for OCPDs to excel especially if their job demands attention to detail and strict adherence to standards.
The more positive feedback they get, the more time they invest. If they are unsatisfied at work, this same process can be transferred to a hobby or special interest.
Nearly all of their conversations center on this area. OCPDs will spend money on things they want, but are miserly when it comes to other members of the family. They frequently do budgets to the penny and like to account for every dollar spent. Any unnecessary spending will be met with an intense discussion.