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Information for Individuals

Need for Perfection

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Obsessions often seen with “perfectionism” as a form of OCD include:

  • An overwhelming need for things to be “perfect” or “done right” with or without fear that harm will come to oneself or others if things are not done perfectly
  • Worry that work will be seen as being poorly done, with possible punishment or job loss
  • Repeatedly rewriting or revising work, essays, class work, email, project reports or business or personal letters to get the wording, penmanship or alignment “just right”
  • An extreme need to finish some action or project once it is started
  • An intense fear of making the wrong decision

Compulsions that may be done in an attempt to reduce the anxiety caused by OCD perfectionism include:

  • Seeking reassurance that things have been done well or correctly
  • Repeatedly redoing work; not finishing projects in a timely manner because of spending an inordinate amount of time
  • Rewriting essays or homework to get the wording to sound or look “right”
  • Working overly long hours to finish a project once it is started; inability to put a project aside and come back to it later
  • Overly rethinking or revising decisions; inability to make a decision

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