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  • Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder

    (Anankastic Personality Disorder)

    Definition

    Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) is a personality disorder characterized by excessive perfectionism and a need for control over one's environment. People with OCPD tend to be reliable and orderly, but also inflexible and unable to surrender control. This makes it hard for people with this condition to express their feelings, have close relationships, and enjoy their successes.
    Unlike many other mental health disorders, people with personality disorders are not aware that their thought and behavior patterns are inappropriate. OCPD is different from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) , and it is not associated with the unwanted repetitive thoughts and behaviors characteristic of OCD.

    Causes

    It is not clear what causes personality disorders, but it is likely a combination of genetic (inherited) factors and a person's environment.

    Risk Factors

    These factors increase your chance of developing OCPD. Tell your doctor if you have any of these risk factors:
    • Family history of OCPD or OCD
    • Background of harsh discipline
    • Being the oldest child
    • Gender: male
    • Age: early adulthood

    Symptoms

    Symptoms include:
    • Perfectionism
    • Rigidity
    • Being stingy with money
    • Overattention to detail
    • Excessive devotion to work
    • Inability to discard worn or useless items
    • Extreme morality
    • Inability to delegate tasks or share
    • Stiff, formal, and/or rigid mannerisms
    • Extreme preciseness and/or punctuality

    Diagnosis

    You will likely be referred to a psychiatrist or therapist, who will ask you about your symptoms and mental and medical health history. A diagnosis will be made after a complete psychiatric assessment that rules out other disorders, such as OCD, and other personality disorders.

    Treatment

    Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include:

    Counseling

    Counseling that includes psychotherapy or cognitive behavior therapy can help people with OCPD learn to have fun, avoid over-intellectualizing, and address control issues.

    Medications

    In some cases, anti-depressant medications can help reduce obsessive-compulsive personality traits. However, overall, long-term use of medications for OCPD have not been helpful. They may be used, though, to treat an another condition, like depression .

    Prevention

    There is no known way to prevent OCPD. Early diagnosis and treatment can reduce how much the personality traits interfere with your life.

    RESOURCES

    Mental Health America http://www.nmha.org/

    National Institute of Mental Health http://www.nimh.nih.gov/

    CANADIAN RESOURCES

    Canadian Mental Health Association http://www.cmha.ca/

    Canadian Psychiatric Association http://www.cpa-apc.org/

    References

    Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php . April 19, 2007.

    Pediatric Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Research Program, National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at: http://intramural.nimh.nih.gov/pocd/pocd-faqs.htm . Accessed April 23, 2007.

    Personality disorders. Merck website. Available at: http://www.merck.com/mmhe/sec07/ch105/ch105a.html. Accessed April 19, 2007.

    Psych Central website. Available at: http://psychcentral.com/disorders/ .

    Revision Information

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