Those who suffer from OCD tend to have similar personalities, patterns of thinking and behavior that last a lifetime and mark them as individuals. Psychologist Stanley Rachman of the University of British Columbia, perhaps the leading expert on OCD over the last several decades, summed up the opinions of specialists in the area of obsessive-compulsive disorder in 1979: “Our clinical impression is that people with OCD are correct, upright, moral citizens who aspire to high standards of personal conduct.”

Similar observations have been made many times over the centuries.  English Bishop John Moore, for instance, ministering to sufferers of blasphemous obsessions, wrote in 1692,  “They are mostly good people, for bad men rarely know anything of these types of thoughts.”  Jeremy Taylor, a seventeenth century cleric who wrote a great deal on mental problems, said of OCD sufferers: “They repent when they have not sinned, and accuse themselves without reason.  Their virtues make them tremble, and in their innocence they are afraid.”

In approaching the study of personality from several different ways, research of the present day suggests that OCD sufferers tend to share the following traits. (click on any line for a further discussion)

These descriptions seem rather negative, but rest easy OCDer. Remember that psychiatrists and psychologists always speak in terms of pathology, and are able to put anyone’s personality in a negative light. The fact is that OCD sufferers are great. They are responsible, good scout, and upright citizens. You can count on them.

Although this is fairly straight forward, the topic of OCD and personality has become unnecessarily confusing because of the development of a specific psychiatric diagnostic classification entitled “Obsessive compulsive personality disorder.”. Its sufferers are supposed to bear a close resemblance to people with genuine OCD. But it turns out they don’t!  Click here for a discussion of why obsessive-compulsive personality disorder has little or nothing to do with OCD