Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder is not strongly linked to substance abuse but risks still exist.

Many people misuse drugs or alcohol as a way to cope with high stress or mental health disorders. By self-medicating with alcohol and other drugs, a person might feel better in the short-term, but they are only making the situation worse by adding substance abuse on top of the mental health issues.

Researchers are building a better understanding of the connection between a mental health diagnosis and an addiction, or a dual diagnosis. By gaining more information about the association between obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) and substance use, professionals can create effective treatments for people with co-occurring disorders.

Addiction and substance use may occur in many personality disorders. Conditions like antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) and borderline personality disorder (BPD) frequently co-occur with substance abuse. People with these conditions may use drugs or alcohol to self-medicate their symptoms.

So, what is the link between OCPD and addiction? People might be surprised to know that the symptoms of OCPD may dissuade substance abuse, addiction and future relapses.

Symptoms of OCPD include an intense desire to be perfect and a strict set of values and morals, which can not be compromised. A person with this condition might view using drugs as a moral failure or believe that substances reduce their ability to perform to their expectations.

For all the negatives associated with OCPD, it seems addiction is rarely a concern. Of course, this isn’t to say that one cannot become addicted to drugs and alcohol if they have OCPD. It only means OCPD does not carry an increased risk compared to the general population.

Alcohol and OCPD

Though addiction rates are typically low among people with OCPD, there is evidence to support that people with OCPD are more likely to have an alcohol use disorder than disorders involving another substance. Along with depressive disorders, alcohol use disorders commonly co-occur with OCPD.

In understanding the connection between OCPD and alcohol, people with this condition might:

  • Drink alcohol to relieve the stress and tension that develop in an attempt to be perfect or to cope with people viewed as incompetent
  • Abuse alcohol as a way to produce more acceptable conversations since they may lack appropriate communication skills

Regardless of a person’s motivation to use drug or alcohol, people must always practice caution when using substances.

Statistics on OCPD and Addiction

One of the few studies done to inspect the relationship between OCPD and addiction found positive news for people with OCPD. It found that, if a person has OCPD, they have a minimal risk of future substance abuse relapse, especially when compared to BPD and ASPD. The study found that OCPD had a 0.11 correlation to addiction relapse, which is extremely low. Meanwhile, BPD had a 0.48, and ASPD had a 0.43 correlation.

Overall, not many statistics on OCPD and addiction currently exist as not enough research on the topic exists. This relationship should be the focus of future studies.

Treating OCPD and Co-Occurring Substance Use Disorders

Treating co-occurring mental health conditions and substance use disorders is highly effective. Evidence-based treatments for co-occurring or dual diagnosis disorders are helpful and widely-available.

When addressing co-occurring conditions, it is essential to treat all disorders concurrently without ignoring or avoiding any aspects of a person’s overall well-being. A treatment provider may assess and treat issues related to a person’s:

  • Mental health
  • Substance use issues
  • Physical health
  • Interpersonal relationships
  • Daily stress
  • Transportation concerns
  • Workplace or educational issues
  • Financial situation
  • Living environment

Substance use and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder treatment usually involve a combination of psychotherapy, medications and social groups to manage a person’s symptoms and promote their recovery.

Psychotherapy options may include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a therapeutic style that treats both addictions and personality disorders. Medications, like antidepressants or anticonvulsants, may help limit OCPD symptoms while other drugs can help reduce cravings to avoid setbacks from the substance of abuse.

If you have a drug or alcohol addiction and a co-occurring mental health disorder, you never have to experience co-occurring disorders alone. For comprehensive treatment options, consider calling The Recovery Village today. With the use of evidence-based treatments in caring environments, recovery can be within your reach at The Recovery Village.

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Editor – Camille Renzoni
Cami Renzoni is a creative writer and editor for The Recovery Village. As an advocate for behavioral health, Cami is certified in mental health first aid and encourages people who face substance use disorders to ask for the help they deserve. Read more
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Medically Reviewed By – Eric Patterson, LPC
Eric Patterson is a licensed professional counselor in the Pittsburgh area who is dedicated to helping children, adults, and families meet their treatment goals. Read more

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U.S. National Library of Medicine. “Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder.” MedLine Plus, November 18, 2016. Accessed March 2, 2019.

Van Noppen, Barbara. “Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD).” International OCD Foundation, 2010. Accessed March 2, 2019.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.