4 Tips for Living with Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder

An estimated 7.9 percent of Americans suffer from this anxiety disorder.


Living with Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD) is challenging. It can frustrate loved ones, make everyday tasks seem arduous, and can effect overall well being. OCPD is considered an anxiety disorder and is often confused with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Although the two disorders have similar names, they are actually quite different.

OCD is a disorder in which a person has uncontrollable, recurring thoughts and behaviors, which he feels the need to constantly repeat. OCPD is generally characterized by needs for orderliness, perfectionism, excessive attention to detail, a need to control the surrounding environment and emotions, being overly conscientious and excessively devoted to work and productivity.

Those with OCPD put themselves under constant pressure to keep order, stick to a prescribed schedule, meet unrealistic expectations, and are often inflexible and self-critical when things don’t go as planned. Studies have found that 7.9 percent of Americans suffer from OCPD, making it the most common personality disorder.

4 Tips for Dealing with OCPD:

  1. Cultivate self-compassion. Try not to be self-critical when having obsessive thoughts, as this can make obsessive thoughts more powerful. Instead, work on practicing acceptance to reduce negative emotions.
  2. Meditate. Studies show that regularly meditation helps reduce anxiety and obsessive thoughts.
  3. Identify self-soothing techniques. Anxiety is a major component of OCPD. Learning ways to calm down intense emotions, like anger, frustration, anxiety and sadness, helps reduce emotional reactivity. Listening to music, going for a walk, or watching TV may help.
  4. Seek professional help. OCPD is a complex disorder and being able to make changes may require therapy and/or medication. Exploring the underlying causes of OCPD combined with cognitive-behavioral therapy and proper medications can bring about lasting change. 

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