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Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder Treatment

Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder treatment can be challenging. Learn about OCPD treatment, including therapy, medications, self-help.

Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder treatment typically involves a multi-pronged approach with includes psychotherapy, medications, and relaxation exercises. For OCPD treatment to succeed, the therapist must establish a strong working relationship with the client. This is sometimes difficult because people with obsessive-compulsive personality disorder tend to want to control the therapist and the session circumstances. An experienced therapist will know how to get through this protective shield of control and other obsessive-compulsive personality disorder symptoms and build a mutually trusting therapeutic relationship.

Treatment for Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder

Treatment for obsessive-compulsive personality disorder focuses on helping the client become aware of his or her thought patterns and how they influence emotions and behaviors. Since most people with OCPD do not have a strong awareness of their emotions, developing this awareness is the first step. Ultimately, the goal is to equip the client with new coping skills and adjust thought patterns to increase quality of life.

Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder therapy approaches for treatment of OCPD include:

Psychodynamic therapy – this therapeutic technique is insight-oriented. The therapist helps the person with OCPD identify his perceptions of certain situations and examine why not having control over these situations causes so much worry. The goal is to help the client develop a stronger sense of self-awareness. By integrating talk therapy into the sessions, the therapist can demonstrate to the client to accept that everyone, including him, makes mistakes and that this makes him human.

For example, the practitioner may detail a situation where excessive control actually results in ignorance regarding intimate relationships, ultimately leading to inefficiency and failure; exactly what the individual with OCPD tries to avoid. Since people with the disorder usually criticize themselves harshly, the therapist also facilitates modification of this tendency.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) – this approach to obsessive-compulsive personality disorder therapy examines a client's thought patterns and how they affect his responses to various circumstances. The therapist then teaches the client new skills and techniques for modifying the thoughts that lead to the negative behaviors and emotions. The patient can also use these new tools to derive more enjoyment from interpersonal relationships and recreational activities rather than focusing so heavily on work.

Both of these psychotherapy methods seek to give the client insight and tools to reduce rigid expectations and enjoy a higher quality of life.

People with OCPD may also benefit from learning obsessive-compulsive personality disorder self-help skills, such as relaxation and meditation. This involves using specific breathing and relaxation techniques to reduce the intense sense of urgency and stress common in those with OCPD.

Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder Medications

The FDA has not approved any specific obsessive-compulsive personality disorder medications, but will prescribe them to reduce symptoms from co-occurring mental health conditions. People with OCPD frequently struggle with anxiety and depression that interferes with everyday life. In these cases, antianxiety drugs or antidepressant medications can offer relief and allow the client to become more fully engaged in therapy.

Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder Prognosis

The prognosis for obsessive-compulsive personality disorder tends to be better than the outlook for other personality disorders. Ironically, the rigid adherence to moral codes and need to maintain control prevents a major complication common to many of the other personality disorders – drug abuse. Left untreated, people with OCPD may develop anxiety and depression due to social isolation and anger management issues.

Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder treatment can help those suffering from the condition, but success requires a commitment to recovery and sticking to the therapist's instructions.

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next: Famous People with Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder
~ all articles on Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder
~ all Personality Disorder articles

Last Updated: 20 July 2016
Reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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