The stereotypical depiction of a person with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) feels compelled to engage in rituals like repeatedly switching a light on and off. They may also wash their hands excessively or repeat specific phrases.
But the condition can be more pervasive and less evident than the descriptors outlined above. OCD can become integrated into your personality, which is why we often distinguish it from OCPD (obsessive-compulsive personality disorder).
Analysts often conflate OCD and OCPD, but there are some crucial distinctions. The main difference between the two disorders is a patient’s willingness to acknowledge them. For example, a person with OCD may recognize their behavior and seek help, while someone with OCPD has seamlessly adopted their mannerisms into their everyday lifestyle.
Another core facet of OCPD is its intractability. Specific actions have become so entangled with an individual’s daily ritual that they consistently incorporate the behavior into their routine. OCD, on the other hand, may fluctuate because it is not necessarily a full-fledged characteristic of one’s personality.
Since diagnoses and differentiation can be tricky, we have devised a self-administered online test for anyone curious about their propensity for OCPD. If you have questions about your results or any other detail of obsessive-compulsive behavior, one of our fantastic staff members would be happy to discuss your concerns.
In the meantime, the following manifestations are indicative of a person struggling with OCPD.
Patients with an obsessive-compulsive personality disorder do not tend to take “no” for an answer. Instead, the condition becomes a bargaining chip. Case in point: if you believe that you have a medical issue, you may schedule a doctor’s visit, submit to lab tests, and await your results. But in the interim, between the time when you gave blood and the time when you learned that your results were negative, you may have convinced yourself that you are sick.
When the nurse explains that your blood count was normal, you may respond with “Yes, but…” Your mind has already concocted a diagnosis, so you don’t fully hear the good news. “Yes, but maybe I got sick after I gave you my blood sample,” or “Yes, but I forgot to fast before my test so that my results might be wrong.” These are samples of “Yes, but” rationalizations that are indicative of patients with OCPD.
Remembering When It All Began
Unlike most psychological disorders, many people wrestling with OCPD have an acute awareness of their history with the condition. You may have exhibited nondescript anxiety or even some obsessive traits in the past, but when your brain decides to accept these aberrations as reality, you have turned a corner. Your mind has officially agreed that compulsion has become part of your personality. Hence you have progressed from OCD to OCPD.
To put it another way, when you rationalize doom and gloom scenarios long enough, you tend to believe them. You may look back at the specific moment when you convinced yourself that your obsessions must be real. That is the onset of OCPD, and it may stand out as a clear memory that you can diagnose yourself.
Avoidance and Withdrawal
Because of the highly self-aware nature of OCPD, patients may try to downplay or even treat their symptoms. This approach may take the form of avoiding triggering behavior or situations.
Students with obsessive-compulsive tendencies, for example, may steer clear of the cafeteria or other gathering places. They may associate the gym with a past incident where their behavior was out in the open, and they had nowhere to hide.
When OCD becomes part of your personality (in other words, when you have OCPD), this sense of avoidance can become more pronounced. You may withdraw from various groups or clubs. The obsession has gone beyond merely staying away from unwelcome places; it has extrapolated to any social situation that may attend those places.
Individuals with OCPD might drop out of sports teams, academic opportunities, or workplace events. These are precursors of obsessive-compulsive behavior.
One hallmark of OCPD is its association with anxiety. The ritualistic actions exhibited by a person with obsessive-compulsive tendencies stem from believing that they must perform these actions, or else calamity will occur.
A physical symptom of anxiety is known as “jelly legs.” Fear elicits a “fight or flight” reaction from the human mind and body. Your brain tells you to flee a particular situation, so blood rushes to your legs, even when you have nowhere to run. The discrepancy between wanting to sprint and the inability to move makes your legs feel tingly and over-stimulated. The nickname “jelly legs” has come to characterize this phenomenon.
Another unwelcome byproduct of OCPD is the inability to sleep. Your mind may reel with endless permutations of what you should be doing or what could go wrong. When you disrupt your slumber schedule, it spills over into the next day, amplifying your concerns and exacerbating your insomnia.
To end this vicious cycle, wake up to the wonders of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). The TMS process facilitates the proper flow of chemicals in the brain with painless pulses of magnetic energy.
After a successful TMS course of treatment, your thoughts may no longer cycle repetitively on the same series of obsessions or compulsions. Transcranial magnetic stimulation has proven incredibly useful in the reduction of OCD symptoms and complications.
To alleviate the worry and heartache of treatment-resistant obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, call (310) 878-4346. Our caring, knowledgeable team is ready to bring you to the next level of your mental wellness journey.