This personality pattern is characterized by rigidity and the need for constant control.
As a general rule, all of us like the feeling of having everything under control. This feeling makes us feel good and motivates us when it comes to doing our daily tasks. However, there is a difference between this and that feeling becomes an obsessive need.
Something similar is what happens with the anankastic personality. Throughout this article we will talk about this type of obsessive personality, as well as its main traits, what factors can cause it and the possibility of treatment through psychotherapy.
What is the anankastic personality?
We understand by ananchastic personality that type of personality that is characterized by a pathological concern for order and perfectionism. In the same way, these people are distinguished by the need for control both of their own and of the environment and a lack of flexibility and open-mindedness, although all this interferes with their day-to-day life or with their work and social efficiency.
For these people, decision-making can be slow and even painful. The reason is that they have such difficulty deciding the priority of their tasks or how best to organize themselves that they may not start the task at all, due to the need to perform it perfectly.
The behavior within the anankastic personality is also characterized by sudden outbursts of anger or anger in those circumstances in which the person feels that they do not have control of their physical or interpersonal environment. However, this anger does not usually manifest itself in an aggressive way, but through constant negative ruminations or mood swings.
Regarding interpersonal relationships, individuals with ananchastic personality express their affections in a highly controlled and forced way, and they can feel very uncomfortable in the presence of other emotionally expressive people. Their daily relationships are characterized by being formal and serious, which can lead to uncomfortable situations for other people who perceive them as rigid and excessively surly.
This type of personality can come to be considered as a disorder, since it is an enduring pattern of internal experience and behavior that deviates from the cultural norms of the person. This pattern is enduring and inflexible, as well as constant through personal and social situations.
The main consequence of this type of personality is related to a significant deterioration of the person both socially and at work or in other areas of functioning, which can lead to strong feelings of anguish and frustration.
Main traits or symptoms of this personality
As mentioned in the previous point, the anankastic personality is characterized mainly by an excessive concern for order and perfectionism. However, there is a variety of traits that define these people. In order to determine that there is an anankastic personality pattern, at least four of the following traits must be present:
- Excessive concern with details, rules, lists, order, organization and / or schedules to the point of affecting the main activity or task.
- Perfectionism that gets to interfere with the completion of the task.
- Excessive dedication to work and productivity, excluding leisure activities and friendships.
- They are excessively conscientious, scrupulous, and inflexible in matters of morality, ethics, or values.
- It is impossible for them to get rid of worn-out objects or objects of no practical or sentimental value.
- They are reluctant to work with other people and delegate tasks unless others do things the way they want them to.
- They perceive money as a good that must be accumulated, not spent; so they tend to be greedy or stingy in the eyes of others.
- They show significant stubbornness and rigidity.
Traditionally, the anankastic personality is usually diagnosed once the person is an adult, with the most serious symptoms manifesting between 40 and 50 years of age.
In very few cases it is perceived in childhood or adolescence due to the constant changes in development and personality typical of maturation. However, in those cases in which symptoms similar to the previous ones are perceived, these must last for at least one year to be considered a disorder as such.
Finally, it tends to appear with a higher incidence in men than in women and it is estimated that it is present, approximately, in between 2.1 and 7.9 percent of the general population.
How does it develop?
So far, studies have not been able to clarify exactly what causes or how the anankastic personality develops. However, there are a large number of hypotheses and theories that attempt to answer this question.
The vast majority of theorists agree on the influence of biopsychosocial causal factors. This means that among the causes of favoring the development of this type of personality are both biological and genetic factors, as well as social factors such as the type of interaction with other people and relatives, and psychological factors such as personality, temperament and skills of coping and stress management.
This means that there is no single factor responsible for the anankastic personality, but that a complex combination of both personal and environmental factors can probably be the basis for the development of this disorder.
Can it be treated?
First of all, we must bear in mind that this personality does not always affect the person’s day-to-day life and that only those patients will require assistance or treatment in whom it does pose a problem, wear or interference for social, family or work development .
In the event that the patient, or someone close, seeks professional help, the treatment for the ananchastic personality is based on long-term intervention through psychotherapy. It is necessary that this therapy be carried out by a professional expert in personality disorders, more specifically in obsessive-compulsive disorders (OCD).
In the most serious cases, medication can even be administered to help reduce the most problematic and debilitating symptoms, as well as to alleviate the symptoms of anxiety that, in some cases, can appear with this disorder.