Jeff Lewis, a real estate mogul and reality star on Bravo’s “Flipping Out,” credits his obsessive-compulsive disorder with making him a millionaire.
“OK, I have a mental affliction,” he told Psychology Today. “But it’s an asset. My perfectionism sets my product apart.” He has famously lost his temper and fired a long line of assistants because “I don’t want to forget anything.”
Lewis is one of 17 million Americans who have OCPD. It’s the most common personality disorder, and millions have at least a trace of it, but don’t know it.
“The perfectionism, the thoroughness, the politeness, and the conscientiousness of the person with OCPD are adaptive,” Glen Gabbard, psychoanalyst and professor of psychiatry at Baylor University, told the publication. “No one can get through medical school without OCPD traits.”
Psychologists say that OCPD sufferers also make good engineers and lawyers.
Fewer than 1% get mental health treatment, usually because they deny they have a problem. But it would be well-worth it, because research shows that people can change their biochemistry by thinking and behaving differently, and “patients with severe with OCD can often make significant progress after about 15 sessions of therapy,” according to UCLA psychiatrist Jeffrey Schwartz.
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