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Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder: what is it?

Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder: what is it?

August 9, 2022

Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder (TPOC) , which should not be confused with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), is a type of mental disorder that characterizes people whose desire to make all parts of their lives fit perfectly have been taken to the extreme. In some way, it can be said that the problem is in a kind of vital perfectionism taken to its limits.

Normally, in this class of patients they feel the need to have total control over how the events of their life are happening, and this causes them to experience a lot of anxiety and anguish every time the plans do not go as planned, which It happens very often.

Next we will see what they are the main symptoms, causes and treatments proposed for Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder.

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What is this disorder?

The concept of Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder is a diagnostic category used in manuals such as the DSM-IV that is used to define what happens in a type of person whose perfectionism and need for control over their own lives they have become so accentuated that it causes them great discomfort and deteriorates their quality of life.

People with Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder experience an obsession to do things as they should be done, without experiencing dissonances between their plans and what happens in reality.

This disorder belongs to the category of Cluster C personality disorders (anxious disorders) , along with Personality Disorder by Avoidance and Personality Disorder by Dependence.

Symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder

The diagnosis of Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder , like that of any other mental disorder, should always be carried out by duly accredited mental health professionals, and by means of a personalized evaluation on a case-by-case basis. However, in an indicative way this list of symptoms can be used to help detect this disorder.

The main symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder of Personality are the following.

1. Extreme concern for details

This manifests itself in virtually every aspect of life. For example, the person plans very precise schedules that covers everything that must happen throughout the day, creates rules for all kinds of social events, decorates the spaces following very clear rules, etc. This attention to detail comes to overshadow the main purpose of the actions.

2. Rejection of the possibility of delegating tasks

People with Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder tend to look askance at the idea of ​​delegating tasks to other people, since distrust their ability or willingness to follow exactly the instructions and the rules on how they should do things.

3. Constant search for productive activities

Another symptom of Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder is the tendency to displace leisure time and rest to occupy it with tasks that are considered productive and that have a beginning, a series of intermediate steps and a clear end. This generates great exhaustion and increases stress levels.

4. Extreme ethical rigidity

In personal life, the morality of people with Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder is so rigid that it focuses more in the formal aspects of what is considered good and bad that in a deep analysis of the ethical implications of one action or another.

5. Extreme perfectionism

The need to make everything go as planned causes many tasks to get too long , which makes them overlap with other plans. This mismatch of schedules creates intense discomfort.

6. Trend to accumulate

This type of diagnosis is associated with a tendency to saving and accumulation ; very little money is spent and objects whose future usefulness is not clear are preserved. This has to do with the need to know that there are means to face future problems and with the extreme need for stability.

7. Stubbornness

Patients with Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder they hardly change their minds , since your belief system is rigid and offers 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 Autistic Spectrum Disorders. However, there are certain differences that allow us to distinguish them.


In Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder, unlike what happens in Obsessive Compulsive Disorder , there is no awareness that there is a disorder related to perfectionism and rigidity, since this psychological characteristic has been related to one's personality and identity.

This makes this class of patients do not decide to go to therapy to treat this problem, but to try to solve the problems arising from the symptoms, such as anxiety and fatigue resulting from the implementation of their habits.

In contrast, in the TOC, obsessions are not perceived as something that is part of one's identity . In addition, in this disorder the compulsions are of a specific type, and the rigidity does not permeate all aspects of one's life.

  • Related article: "Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): what is it and how does it manifest?"

Autism Spectrum Disorders

The people who present the symptoms associated with Asperger's Syndrome , today subsumed in the category of Autism Spectrum Disorders, are differentiated from those experienced by TPOC in their difficulties when carrying out mental processes related to the theory of the mind (such as reading between the lines, detecting sarcasms, etc. .) and in their poor social skills, mainly.

  • Related article: "Asperger's syndrome: causes, symptoms and treatment"


As with all personality disorders, the specific causes of Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder are not clear, as it is a complex and multi-causal psychological phenomenon , based on variable and constantly changing psychosocial mechanisms that, however, generate very stable and persistent symptoms over time.

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


When it comes to alleviating the harmful symptoms of TPOC Attendance at psychotherapy sessions is recommended . Cognitive behavioral therapy can help to modify habits and thought patterns based on extreme rigidity, to detect the moments in which perfectionism is subtracting quality of life and to introduce more leisure time and rest on a day to day basis.

In some cases, medical personnel can recommend and prescribe psychopharmaceuticals to be used in a controlled manner and only under medical monitoring. In this sense, the use of a type of antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) It has proven effective in many cases if its use is accompanied by psychotherapy.

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Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder ¦ Treatment and Symptoms (August 2022).

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