Symptoms of Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder

Focus on Order and Perfectionism

Individuals with obsessive-compulsive personality disorder are preoccupied with order, perfectionism, and control of themselves and situations.

To maintain a sense of control, individuals focus on rules, trivial details, procedures, schedules, and lists. This preoccupation interferes with their ability to be flexible, effective, and open to different ideas. Rigid and stubborn in their activities, these individuals insist that everything be done in a specific way.

Effects on Work

Because individuals with this disorder focus on rules, details, and organisational issues, they lose the main point of a project or activity.

These individuals repeatedly check for mistakes and pay attention to every detail. They do not make good use of their time, often leaving the most important tasks until the end.

Their preoccupation with the details and making sure everything is perfect can endlessly delay completion of a task.

They are unaware of how their behaviour affects their co-workers. When focused on one task, these individuals may neglect all other aspects of their life.

Because individuals with obsessive-compulsive personality disorder want everything done in a specific way, they have difficulty delegating tasks and working with others.

When working with others, they may make detailed lists about how a task should be done and become upset if a co-worker suggests an alternative way. They may reject help even when they are behind schedule.

Individuals with obsessive-compulsive personality disorder tend to be very dedicated to work and productivity. Their motivation is not financial necessity.

Effects on other Aspects of Life

Because they are so dedicated to work, they neglect leisure activities and relationships. They may think they have no time to relax or go out with friends.

They may postpone a vacation so long that it does not happen, or they may feel they must take work with them so that they do not waste time.

Time spent with friends, when it occurs, tends to be in a formally organised activity (such as a sport). Hobbies and recreational activities are considered important tasks requiring organisation and hard work to master. Their goal is perfection.

These individuals plan ahead in great detail and do not wish to consider changes. Their relentless rigidity may frustrate co-workers and friends.

Expression of affection is also tightly controlled. Individuals with this disorder may relate to others in a formal, stiff, or serious way. Often, they speak only after they think of the perfect thing to say. They may focus on logic and intellect and be intolerant of emotional or expressive behaviour.

Other Symptoms

Individuals with obsessive-compulsive personality disorder may be overzealous, picky, and rigid about issues of morality, ethics, and values. They apply rigid moral principles to themselves and to others and are harshly self-critical.

These individuals are rigidly deferential to authorities and insist on exact compliance to rules, with no exceptions for extenuating circumstances.

Discarding worn-out or worthless items (such as broken appliances), even those with no sentimental value, is very difficult for individuals with this disorder.

Individuals with obsessive-compulsive personality disorder may be reluctant to spend money, which they think should be saved in case of future disasters.