Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is characterized by distressing symptoms of obsessions (repetitive and intrusive thoughts) and rituals (repetitive behaviors or mental engagements) that can significantly affect daily life. Perfectionism has been historically linked to OCD but can be considered adaptive or maladaptive. Adaptive forms of perfectionism can lead someone to be very organized, meet deadlines accordingly, follow instructions directly and pursue attainable goals. Maladaptive forms of perfectionism, however, can cause a person a great deal of stress if certain goals are not met; this can further lead a person to experience low self-esteem and high self-criticism. If you have OCD and struggle with maladaptive tendencies of perfectionism, you may worsen the symptoms of your OCD and may become more sensitive to making mistakes.

A 2014 study published in the Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic involved the assessment of 46 adults diagnosed with OCD at a residential OCD treatment program. The researchers sought to explore the relationship between dimensions of perfectionism such as concern over mistakes, doubts about actions, personal standards and more against symptoms of OCD such as hoarding, checking, ordering, and more. The study’s results showed that one perfectionism dimension, having doubts about one’s actions, is correlated with OCD symptoms checking, hoarding, and ordering. The study also found that parental expectations, another dimension of perfectionism, was correlated with washing symptoms of OCD. What does this mean for you?

If OCD is significantly affecting your daily life, seek out help from a reputable treatment center. Speak with a therapist about your experience with both OCD and perfectionism. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What childhood experiences contributed to your perfectionism?
  • Which perfectionistic qualities are adaptive, and which are maladaptive?
  • How do each of these types that you employ affect your daily life? Consider both the positives and the negatives here.
  • What perfectionist tendencies contribute to your symptoms of OCD?

Discovering the ways in which your childhood and perfectionist tendencies play out as part of your OCD is a wonderful way to identify what you can do to alleviate some of the symptoms that are causing you the most distress. OCD is treatable, with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) being a highly effective form of treatment. Speak with a professional at a reputable treatment center today to learn more.

Therapy is a primary component of treatment for rehabilitation from a substance use disorder and/or mental health disorder. Attending treatment with certified clinicians and counselors is critical for a full recovery. At one of New Vista Behavioral Health’s treatment providers, you are receiving exceptional care, held to a higher standard. Our programs result in better outcomes, ensuring a better recovery. For information call us today: 888-316-3665.

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