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New diagnostic perspectives on obsessive-compulsive personality disorder and its links with other conditions

Starcevic, Vladan; Brakoulias, Vlasios

Current Opinion in Psychiatry: January 2014 - Volume 27 - Issue 1 - p 62–67
doi: 10.1097/YCO.0000000000000030
PERSONALITY DISORDERS: Edited by Aleksandar Janca and Charles Pull

Purpose of review This review examines the conceptualization of obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD), its epidemiology and efforts to better understand the relationships between OCPD and other conditions.

Recent findings The alternative Fifth Edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders conceptualization of OCPD is radically different in that it combines categorical and dimensional diagnostic approaches and introduces a hierarchy of diagnostic criteria. OCPD is one of the most common personality disorders in the general population. The relationship between OCPD and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is important, but to a large extent obfuscated by the overlap between their diagnostic criteria. Frequent changes in the OCPD diagnostic criteria make it difficult to ascertain the ‘true’ relationship between OCPD and OCD. It is not uncommon for OCPD to occur with anorexia nervosa, depression, hypochondriasis, certain other personality disorders and Parkinson's disease, but further research is necessary to understand the implications of these links.

Summary OCPD is yet to be conceptualized consistently and in the manner that would make a clear and well supported distinction between its core and peripheral features. Future studies need to separate a genuine from overlap-driven co-occurrence of OCPD and other conditions, as that would give a better insight into the way in which OCPD relates to other disorders.

Discipline of Psychiatry, Sydney Medical School – Nepean, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Correspondence to Vladan Starcevic, Nepean Hospital, Department of Psychiatry, PO Box 63, Penrith, NSW 2751, Australia. Tel: +61 2 4734 2585; e-mail:

© 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins