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What is the link between perfectionism and obsessive-compulsive disorder?

While perfectionism is a personality trait found in many people, including those without anxiety disorders, it can also be a driving factor in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Perfectionism is one set of symptoms in OCD. So, for example, a person might spend hours ordering and arranging items -- lining up hangers, placing clothes in drawers in a specific way -- or get caught up in seeking symmetry or getting things to balance out. Someone might need to write so that every letter touches the ruled line and is exactly the same height. A mistake requires erasing everything and starting over again. One patient needed everything to be perfectly clean -- even garbage she wanted to toss out. At this end of the spectrum, perfectionism becomes a very time-consuming, rigid process.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.