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How Does Over-Attention Relate to Obsessive–Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD)? What Is the Exact Behavior of Over-Attention?
There is a broad spectrum of neuropsychiatric disorders which determine individual’s behavior in one way or another. At the beginning of the twentieth century, over-attention to different details – which refers to such the modern term as perfectionism – was defined as a symptom of obsessive-compulsive personality disorder. Increased attention to the details leads to the development of the particular behavioral patterns. However, to describe those, it is essential to mention the history of research of this disorder as well as its primary epidemiological characteristics.
The investigation of obsessive-compulsive personality disorder and its symptoms started more than one hundred years ago. Since that time, it has been defined as the specific neuropsychiatric disorder which has multifactorial etiology (Pallanti et al.). OCPD, which stands for obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, is reported to affect up to three percent of the whole population of the world (Pallanti et al.). The number of OCPD cases in the population of the United States of America, however, is higher and reaches approximately eight percent (Grant et al.). Additionally, it should be mentioned that the community prevalence of the disorder in men and women are more likely to be similar throughout the world; however, there are studies which would show that for men, the development of the disorder is twice more possible than for women (Samuels and Costa 568). On the other hand, the age prevalence of the condition has not been reported, which means that has been found in both children and adults (Markarian et al.). Therefore, there is no specific group with the higher risk OCPD to be being developed.
The history of the disorder started in 1908 when one of the most famous psychoanalysts of the twentieth century Sigmund Freud described the triad of symptoms, which were similar in several of his patients. He distinguished such the personal features as orderliness, parsimony, and obstinacy (Samuels and Costa 568). Those would be viewed within the individual’s preoccupation with details as well as rules, a tendency to self-limitation, extra adherence to work and productivity, and excessive commitment to specific regulations (Grant et al.). Much later, the American Psychiatric Association used this essential information in order to categorize the main features of obsessive-compulsive personality disorder into general classes. Those refer to “perfectionism and inflexibility” (Samuels and Costa 568). Such the description of the symptoms of the disorder would help to characterize the broader spectrum of the individuals who have this condition as minor features may vary from one patient to another.
As follows, obsessive-compulsive personality disorder results in the formation of the specific patterns of behavior in the individual. It may be merely described as “overly strict” (Samuels and Costa 568). People with OCPD typically stick to elusive standards as well as insist on other people to adjust to those and follow them as well. It may lead to failure in the process of socialization. People who have obsessive-compulsive personality disorder have own solid understanding of what decisions and emotion are right and wrong – which results from their over-consciousness. In this case, they may be intolerant to other people’s judgment and feelings, which can differ from “right” ones of theirs.
Besides, individuals with OCPD feel like they must be in control of themselves as well as an environment they live in and people they interact with. The desire to control everything causes the development of various obsessions. The wide range of standard obsessions, which may be found in people who have OCPD, exists. Thought of such the individuals are typically occupied with contamination, concerns over symmetry in different material objects as well as exactness of speech, for instance (Markarian et al.). Additionally, they may consist of somatic fears and sexual and/or aggressive images (Markarian et al.). Certain obligations, which would be determined by the individuals themselves, result in the development of repetitive and quite stereotyped actions. The most common of those are constantly checking, excessive grooming rituals, hand washing or any other kind of bathing, as well as regular counting (Markarian et al.). For instance, individuals whose thoughts are mainly occupied with the idea of not to make a mistake usually check their work endlessly. On the other hand, those who experience constant fear of being contaminated with microorganisms may be extra with hand washing routine. In this regard, it may be claimed that the kind of obsession determines its specific expression through the behavioral patterns.
Nevertheless, obsession and compulsive behavioral rituals may not be associated with each other as well. For instance, nearly a quarter of OCPD patients do not perform such the rituals in an extreme or excessive manner (Markarian et al.). On the contrary, people who do not have obsessive-compulsive personality disorder may do so due to their either cultural or religious beliefs. In this regard, it is also critically important to differentiate compulsions and motor stereotypies such as ritualistic movement or postures (Pallanti et al.). Therefore, to diagnose the obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, the complex rather than just observation approach is required.
What is more, people with OCPD are always preoccupied with different kinds of work as they feel like they must be the most productive and useful in what they do. Such people often replace the time of pleasure and establishing the interpersonal relationship with other people. In this regard, people with OCPD are typically workaholics. However, as they pay too much attention to the tiniest details in their work, spend too much time on re-doing what they think they have done not in the best way. This extreme level of scrupulousness usually affects the productivity of work of individuals with OCPD.
Such the attitude to the performance of the work provoked the interest in the relationship between obsessive-compulsive personality disorder and educating. Surprisingly, an inverse character of this has been found (Grant et al.). It may be explained though. Those people with OCPD are more likely to spend the more significant amount of time to complete particular homework assignments. It is closely associated with their preoccupation with each detail as well as desire to do it better than it was instructed. In this case, such the people may even miss classes in order to spend more time revising their papers (Grant et al.). As follows, they struggle with completing high school and are not likely to continue further education. Still, it is possible for people with OCPD to become wealthy ( Samuels and Costa 572). This status may be measured by a social position, income, or homeownership.
The obsessive-compulsive personality disorder is a chronic condition; however, stressful life events typically lead the increase in its symptoms. Since individuals with OCPD always try to control their emotions, they tend to experience the increased level of stress on a regular basis. It may lead to the development of other neurological disorders. For instance, OCPD may co-occur with avoidant, paranoid and narcissistic personality disorders (Samuels and Costa 571). Though, the alcohol abuse or addiction to any other narcotic substances are not typical. Additionally, it also tends to co-occur with mood disorders during the lifetime. In this case, patients with OCPD are more likely to relapse after the therapy in a shorter frame of time compared to neurological patients without personality disorders (Samuels and Costa 569). In this regard, mood stabilization is one of the most critical tasks of the treatment which should be determined as the one of the top priority.
Besides, the association with depressive and anxiety disorders for individuals who suffer from OCPD exists. In terms of the Collaborative Longitudinal Personality Disorder Study, it has been found that patients with OCPD are at higher risk to develop social phobias, generalized anxiety disorder, as well as the major depressive disorder (Samuels and Costa 569). Also, Samuels and Costa claim that such the tendency is common for other personality disorders as well since all of them cause “clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning” (571). In this regard, it is hard to answer the question whether anxiety or depression are causes, complication, or consequences of OCPD.
The etiology of OCPD, which determines over-attention of the individual, is multifactorial. In terms of several recent neurobiological studies on OCD patients, the increased activity of the corticobasal-thalamocortical loop (Markarian et al.). This part of the human brain contains essential emotional and memory centers. Moreover, neuropsychological studies have shown the decreased activity of the areas which are responsible for proper memory, the ability to plan, organize, as well as perform the problem-solving process more accurately (Markarian et al.). Still, to support such the assumptions, further research is needed.
Another mechanism is associated with processes which occur at the molecular level. It has been shown that individuals with OCD have a drastically increased activity of excitatory glutamatergic neurons which are situated in the orbitofrontal cortex (Markarian et al.). In this case, wit the therapeutic means in order to decrease symptoms of OCPD, serotonin – the hormone which inhibits that kind of neurons – is used (Markarian et al.). Therefore, over-attention which is characterized for people with OCPD is determined at the neuropsychological and molecular levels.
Therefore, the increased preoccupation with the idea of perfectionism as well as over-attention to tiny and usually worthless details are the main symptoms of the obsessive-compulsive personality disorder. Latter is characterized by different kinds of obsessions which generally result in the development of specific behavioral patterns. It is common that those play a significant role in individual’s with OCPD life as it causes distress and other depressive and anxiety disorders. Regarding the connection between over-attention and the obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, it may be stated that former is the symptom of latter, which has complex neurophysiological and molecular-associated etiology as well as induces the appearance of some other symptoms and complications of this condition. Over-attention leads to psychotic ideation of the reality. It determines the behavior of the individual in OCPD as well as complicates his or her life and lives of other people with whom they interact.
Grant, Jon E., et al. “Prevalence, Correlates, And Comorbidity Of DSM-IV Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder: Results From The National Epidemiologic Survey On Alcohol And Related Conditions.” Journal Of Psychiatric Research, vol 46, no. 4, 2012, pp. 469-475. Elsevier BV, doi:10.1016/j.jpsychires.2012.01.009.
Markarian, Yeraz et al. “Multiple Pathways To Functional Impairment In Obsessive–Compulsive Disorder.” Clinical Psychology Review, vol 30, no. 1, 2010, pp. 78-88. Elsevier BV, doi:10.1016/j.cpr.2009.09.005.
Samuel, Douglas B., and Thomas A. Widiger. “A Comparison Of Obsessive–Compulsive Personality Disorder Scales.” Journal Of Personality Assessment, vol 92, no. 3, 2010, pp. 232-240. Informa UK Limited, doi:10.1080/00223891003670182.
Samuels, Jack, and Costa, Paul. The Oxford Handbook Of Personality Disorders. Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2012.
Pallanti, Stefano et al. “Obsessive–Compulsive Disorder Comorbidity: Clinical Assessment And Therapeutic Implications.” Frontiers In Psychiatry, vol 2, 2011, Frontiers Media SA, doi:10.3389/fpsyt.2011.00070.