Like all personality disorders, obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) is difficult to diagnose because people suffering from the condition typically see their behavior as normal and appropriate. Someone with OCPD symptoms is unlikely to seek treatment on his own unless prompted to do so by strong external forces. However, getting a proper diagnosis of obsessive-compulsive personality disorder is the first step toward effectively coping with OCPD symptoms.
What Is OCPD Disorder?
People with obsessive-compulsive personality disorder are obsessed with control and perfectionism. They are typically hypervigilant about details, rules and schedules, often to the point where it impedes their productivity or ability to complete a task. People with OCPD disorder tend inflexible and may have rigid beliefs when it comes to ethics or morals. Interpersonal relationships are difficult for them, as they tend to be stiff and formal even among family and friends.
Diagnosis of Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder
Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder is difficult to diagnose for several reasons. People with obsessive-compulsive disorders of this type usually don’t realize that their inflexibility and perfectionist behaviors aren’t normal. If they do visit a doctor or psychologist, it’s usually for a different reason, such as feelings of anxiety, that they don’t associate with OCPD.
According to the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders” (DSM-IV), in order for a diagnosis of obsessive-compulsive personality disorder to be made, the person must be at least 18 years old and display at least four of the following OCPD symptoms:
- Being rigid and obstinate
- Excessive commitment to work when it’s not needed for financial stability or career development, at the expense of leisure activities or friendships
- Excessive concern with insignificant details that interferes with a project’s completion
- Hoarding behavior, including hoarding items that have no practical or sentimental value
- Moral and ethical inflexibility that’s not attributable to religious or cultural upbringing or beliefs
- Obsession with order, rules, details, lists, schedules or organization–to the point where the person loses sight of the overall project or activity
- Tendency to insist that projects or tasks be completed in a specific way.
Many people exhibit OCPD symptoms of varying severity. Sometimes these behaviors are attributable to other mental disorders (such as obsessive-compulsive disorder or narcissistic personality disorder). For this reason, a diagnosis of obsessive-compulsive personality disorder should only be made if the symptoms are chronic, exist across all situations, and are so severe that they interfere with daily functioning.
Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders. (2010). Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder. Retrieved October 6, 2010, from http://www.minddisorders.com/Ob-Ps/Obsessive-compulsive-personality-disorder.html
Vorvick, L. (2008). Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder. Retrieved October 6, 2010, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000942.htm