Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder

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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.

Factors that may contribute to the development of OCPD include:

  • Male gender
  • Family history of OCPD or OCD
  • Background of harsh discipline
  • Being the oldest child


Symptoms may include:

  • Perfectionism interfering with task completion
  • Rigidity
  • Being frugal 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 & Treatment

Your doctor can diagnose you through a complete psychiatric assessment.


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


In some cases, anti-depressant medications can help reduce obsessive-compulsive personality traits. However, medication may not be effective for long-term use. Anti-depressants may also be used to treat an associated condition, like depression.

Content was created using EBSCO’s Health Library. Edits to original content made by Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice.