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id="hl"> <div class="container c"> <div class="hl-loading-mask"> <div aria-hidden="true" class="hl-loading-mask-spinner hl-icon-spinner spinner--steps"></div> </div> <div class="overlay-simple overlay-sharebar" id="overlaySharebar"> <div class="overlay-content"> </div> <div class="overlay-footer"> <div class="overlay-close">Cancel</div> </div> </div> <header class="hl-title-area"> <div class="article-header" itemprop="headline"> <h1>Perfectionism</h1> </div> <p class="attribution" id="byline"> Written by David Heitz | Published on <meta content="2014-01-21" itemprop="datePublished"/>January 21, 2014<br/>Medically Reviewed by <a href="http://www.healthline.com/health/medical-board">George Krucik, MD, MBA</a> on January 21, 2014</p> <div class="hl-widget-sharebar c"></div> <div class="sharebarContainer"><a class="link-sharebar" href="#overlaySharebar" id="sharebarLink" rel="#overlaySharebar"></a></div> </header> <nav class="hl-tab-navigation"> <div class="hl-arrow-tabnav hl-left-arrow-tabnav hl-icon-left-arrow"></div> <div class="hl-lpipe-tabnav"></div> <div class="hl-tabs-tabnav"> <ul> <li><a href="#Overview">Overview</a></li> <li><a href="#Symptoms">Symptoms</a></li> <li><a href="#Causes">Causes</a></li> <li><a href="#Treatments">Treatments</a></li> </ul></div> <div class="hl-rpipe-tabnav"></div> <div class="hl-arrow-tabnav hl-right-arrow-tabnav hl-icon-right-arrow"></div> </nav> <div class="grid648"> <div id="fb-root"></div> <script>window.fbAsyncInit = function() { FB.init({ appId : '1529595680591919', xfbml : true, version : 'v2.1' }); }; (function(d, s, id){ var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) {return;} js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));</script> <div class="container-article" itemscope="" itemtype="http://schema.org/Article"> <article class="hl-article-toc"> <h2 class="content_head" id="TOC_TITLE_HDR_1"><a name="Overview"></a>What Is Perfectionism?</h2><div class="content_body" id="TOC_TITLE_1"> <p>Perfectionism is a form of irrational thinking. People with perfectionism hold themselves to impossibly high standards. They feel that what they do is never good enough. Perfectionism makes people feel unhappy with their lives. It can also cause them to stop trying to succeed. Perfectionism can lead to depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and self-harm. Even mild cases can interfere with quality of life, affecting personal relationships, work, and/or education.</p> </div> <h2 class="content_head" id="TOC_TITLE_HDR_2"><a name="Symptoms"></a>What Are the Symptoms of Perfectionism?</h2><div class="content_body" id="TOC_TITLE_2"> <p>A desire to achieve is healthy. But an irrational desire to always be perfect can cause problems. Perfectionists feel that they fail at everything they try.</p> <p>A common sign of perfectionism is procrastination. A perfectionist may be unable to begin a task because he or she fears being unable to complete it perfectly.</p> <p>Another sign of perfectionism is an inability to relax and share thoughts and feelings. A perfectionist can become very controlling in personal and professional relationships.</p> <p>Perfectionists often become obsessed with rules, lists, and work. At another extreme, they may become extremely apathetic.</p> </div> <h2 class="content_head" id="TOC_TITLE_HDR_3"><a name="Causes"></a>What Causes Perfectionism?</h2><div class="content_body" id="TOC_TITLE_3"> <p>Perfectionism’s cause is not always clear. It is often a learned behavior. People with perfectionism believe that they are valuable only because of what they achieve or what they do for other people.</p> <p>Academic settings can bring out perfectionism in young people.</p> <h3>Perfectionism in Children</h3> <p>Children and teenagers are often driven to be overachievers, with schoolwork as well as activities such as sports, school clubs, jobs, and community service. This can cause an obsession with success. Perfectionism may ultimately interfere with their ability to achieve it (<a href="http://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/young-adult/Pages/The-Problem-with-Perfectionism.aspx">American Academy of Pediatrics, 2013</a>).</p> <p>Although it once was believed that perfectionism could be a healthy motivator, modern research shows this is not the case (<a href="http://www.apa.org/monitor/nov03/manyfaces.aspx">Benson, 2003</a>).</p> </div> <h2 class="content_head" id="TOC_TITLE_HDR_4"><a name="Treatments"></a>How Is Perfectionism Treated?</h2><div class="content_body" id="TOC_TITLE_4"> <p>Perfectionists work to hide personal problems. This can make the disorder difficult to treat. Therapy, especially cognitive-behavioral therapy, can help many people learn new ways of thinking about goals and achievements. Some psychologists say that focusing on a perfectionist's need for acceptance is an effective strategy. Reducing reactions to negative feedback can also be important (<a href="http://link.springer.com/article/10.1023%2FB%3AJORE.0000047313.35872.5c#page-1">Besser, et al., 2004</a>).</p> <h3>Self Care</h3> <p>The following things may help lessen perfectionism (<a href="http://www.counselingcenter.illinois.edu/self-help-brochures/academic-difficulties/perfectionism/">University of Illinois, 2007</a>:</p> <ul><li>setting realistic, attainable goals</li><li>breaking up overwhelming tasks into small steps</li><li>focusing on one activity or task at a time</li><li>acknowledging that everyone makes mistakes, and that most mistakes present learning opportunities </li><li>confronting fears of failure by being realistic about possible outcomes</li></ul> <p>If perfectionism is interfering with your ability to live a full and happy life, consult a mental health professional. If you’re thinking of harming yourself or others, seek emergency medical attention.</p> </div></article> <div class="span12 box-share-help-feedback"> <div class="span5"> <div class="box-article-helpful"> <div class="box-helpful-question"> Was this article helpful? <span class="helpful-option-yes">Yes</span> <span class="helpful-option-no">No</span> </div> <div class="box-helpful-confirmation"></div> </div> </div> <div class="span3"> <div class="box-link-feedback"> <span class="icon-email"></span> <a class="link-feedback" href="#feedbackOverlay" id="feedbackLink" rel="#feedbackOverlay">Feedback?</a> </div> <div class="overlay-simple overlay-feedback" id="feedbackOverlay"> <div class="overlay-content"> <div class="box-form-feedback" id="feedbackformdiv"> <form action="/v2/widgetemail" id="feedbackform"> <input name="to" type="hidden" value="hrl"></input> <input id="urlfield" name="urlfield" type="hidden" value=""></input> <h2>Send us your feedback</h2> <p class="box-message">We are unable to respond directly to questions, but your feedback is greatly appreciated, and will be taken into account in our ongoing review of our Health Reference Library.<br/></p> <p> <label>Your Name:</label><br/> <input class="field-name" id="nametext" name="nametext" placeholder="Name Here" type="text"></input> <span class="box-msg-error" id="box-msg-name"><span class="icon-error">✖</span> <span id="errorMsgName">Please enter your name</span></span> </p> <p> <label>Your Email:</label><br/> <input class="field-email-address" id="feedbackemail" name="emailaddress" placeholder="name@example.com" type="email"></input> <span class="box-msg-error" id="box-msg-email"><span class="icon-error">✖</span> <span id="errorMsgEmail">Please enter your email</span></span> </p> <p> <input id="copy" name="copy" type="checkbox"></input> <label>Send me a copy</label> </p> <p class="box-textarea"> <textarea class="field-message" cols="60" id="feedbacktextarea" name="messagetext" rows="4"></textarea> </p> <div class="textarea-char-count" id="charcount">0</div> <p class="box-buttons"> <button class="btn-cancel" name="feedbackcancelbutton" type="button">Cancel</button> <button class="btn-send-msg">Send Message</button> <span class="box-loading"><img alt="" src="http://www.healthline.com/resources/base/images/ajax-loader.gif"/></span> </p> </form> <p class="box-privacy"><span class="icon-lock"></span> Email addresses will not be shared with 3rd parties. See <a href="http://www.healthline.com/health/privacy-policy" target="_blank">privacy policy</a></p> </div> <div class="box-thankyou" id="thankyou"> <h2><span class="icon-green-checkmark"></span> Thank you.</h2> <p>Your message has been sent.</p> </div> <div class="box-submit-error" id="submissionerror"> <h2>We're sorry, an error occurred.</h2> <p>We are unable to collect your feedback at this time. However, your feedback is important to us. Please try again later.</p> </div> </div><div class="overlay-footer"> <div class="overlay-close">Close</div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="row12"> <div class="span12 hl-article-references"> <div class="hl-article-source"> <hr class="hl-references-line" style="width:100%;"/> <p class="hl-references-title"><a href="#"><span class="view-references-title">Show</span> Sources</a> <span class="hl-hide-show-icon hl-icon-down-arrow"></span></p> <div class="hl-references-body"> <div class="basesources"> <ul><li>The problem of perfectionism. (2013, July 9). <em>American Academy of Pediatrics</em>. Retrieved September 22, 2013, from <a href="http://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/young-adult/Pages/The-Problem-with-Perfectionism.aspx">http://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/young-adult/Pages/The-Problem-with-Perfectionism.aspx</a></li><li><span style="line-height: 20.799999237060547px;">Benson, E. (2003, November). The many faces of perfectionism. </span><em>Monitor on Psychology</em><em>, 34</em>(10), 18. Retrieved September 22, 2013, from <a href="http://www.apa.org/monitor/nov03/manyfaces.aspx">http://www.apa.org/monitor/nov03/manyfaces.aspx</a></li><li>Perfectionism. (2007). <em>University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Student Affairs Counseling Center.</em> Retrieved September 22, 2013, from <a href="http://www.counselingcenter.illinois.edu/self-help-brochures/academic-difficulties/perfectionism/">http://www.counselingcenter.illinois.edu/self-help-brochures/academic-difficulties/perfectionism/</a></li><li>Besser, A. (2004, Winter). Perfectionism, cognition and affect in response to performance failure vs. success. <em>Journal of Rational-Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy</em><em>, 22</em>(4), 300-328. 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HLSHAREBAR.page_description : ''), email_page_url: HLSHAREBAR.email_page_url, email_page_title: HLSHAREBAR.email_page_title //page_image: page_image }); }); }); </script> <script> require([ "base/title-area", "base/overlay" ], function( WidgetTitleArea, AppOverlay ){ WidgetTitleArea.initialize(); var onBeforeLoadFunc = function() { $('.hl-main-content').css('z-index','auto'); }; var cfgOverlay = { maskColor: '#555555', maskLoadSpeed: 200, maskOpacity: 0.5, maskZindex: 9999999, top: "center", left: "center", close: ".overlay-close", onBeforeLoad: onBeforeLoadFunc }; AppOverlay.initialize( cfgOverlay ); }); require([ "base/rwd/title-area" ], function( WidgetTitleAreaResponsive ){ WidgetTitleAreaResponsive.initialize({ pubDateExists: true, medReviewDateExists: true, medReviewedBy: 'George Krucik, MD, MBA', reviewDate: 'January 21, 2014' }); }); </script> <script> require([ "base/tab-navigation" ], function( WidgetTabNavigation ){ var promoTitle = "", partnerId = 28, adRefresh = false, cfg, sponsorDisclaimerOffset = 0, mr1RefreshTime = 4000, isLargeLandscapeImage = false; promoTitle = "Recommended for You"; partnerId = 28; adRefresh = true; if ( $( ".hl-sponsor-disclaimer" ).length ) { sponsorDisclaimerOffset = 78; } cfg = { promoTitle: promoTitle, partnerId: partnerId, contentPromoOffset: 70, sponsorDisclaimerOffset: sponsorDisclaimerOffset, adRefresh: adRefresh, mr1RefreshTime: mr1RefreshTime, isLargeLandscapeImage: isLargeLandscapeImage } WidgetTabNavigation.initialize(cfg); }); </script> <script> require([ 'jquery' ], function( $ ){ // activate toggle for hide/show FB comments $(window).load(function() { if( $('.fb-view-comments-bar').length ) { $('.fb-view-comments-bar').click(function() { $('.fb-view-comments-bar').toggleClass( 'open' ); if( $('.fb-view-comments-bar').hasClass( 'open' ) ) { $('.fb-view-comments-bar span.fb-view-comments-arrow').removeClass( "hl-icon-right-solid-arrow" ).addClass('hl-icon-down-arrow'); $('#fb-view-count').hide(); } else { $('.fb-view-comments-bar span.fb-view-comments-arrow').removeClass( "hl-icon-down-arrow" ).addClass('hl-icon-right-solid-arrow'); 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require(['jquery',"base/dfpmanager","base/responsive-ads","matchmedia"],function($,AppDfpmanager,AppResponsiveAds){ // determine if mr1 ad is shown on page load var isAdOnPageLoad = true; var breakpointsToHideAd = []; var breakpointsToHideAdByPageType = []; breakpointsToHideAdByPageType = ['768','600','480','320']; isAdOnPageLoad = AppResponsiveAds.getShowAdOnPageLoad("MR1",breakpointsToHideAd,breakpointsToHideAdByPageType); var adSize = '300x250,300x600'; if(matchMedia('only screen and (max-width: 600px)').matches) { adSize = '300x50,300x250'; } var cfgDfpManager = { isAdOnPageLoad: isAdOnPageLoad, adshost : 'http://ads.healthline.com', adSize: adSize, dfpAdSite : 'hn.us.hl.lc.x.x.x', btk1 : '', btk2 : '', kw : 'othermentalhealth,psychiatrist,2801593', k1 : 'othermentalhealth', k2 : 'mentalhealth', k3 : 'health', pos : 'mr1', ugc : 'false', ac : '', uac : '', akh : 'Perfectionism', aks : '5000', env : '', msiteID : '', adTagPageUrl : encodeURIComponent('/health/perfectionism'), yeildex : 'true', targetsrc : '' }; var mr1timeout = setTimeout(function() { AppDfpmanager.mr1IframeInit(cfgDfpManager); }, 300); }); </script> <script> require(["jquery","base/dfpmanager","base/responsive-ads","matchmedia"],function($,AppDfpmanager,AppResponsiveAds){ $(function() { // determine if mr2 ad is shown on page load var isAdOnPageLoad = true; var breakpointsToHideAd = []; var breakpointsToHideAdByPageType = []; breakpointsToHideAd = ['997','768','600','480','320']; var isAdOnPageLoad = AppResponsiveAds.getShowAdOnPageLoad("MR2",breakpointsToHideAd,breakpointsToHideAdByPageType); var cfgDfpManager = { isAdOnPageLoad: isAdOnPageLoad, adshost : 'http://ads.healthline.com', dfpAdSite : 'hn.us.hl.lc.x.x.x', btk1 : '', btk2 : '', kw : 'othermentalhealth,psychiatrist,2801593', k1 : 'othermentalhealth', k2 : 'mentalhealth', k3 : 'health', pos : 'mr2', ugc : 'false', ac : '', uac : '', env : '', msiteID : '', adTagPageUrl : encodeURIComponent('/health/perfectionism'), yeildex : 'true' , targetsrc : '' }; AppDfpmanager.mr2IframeInit(cfgDfpManager); }); // dom ready }); </script> <script> var isWslAdDisplayed = false; // check if adPositionsToHide from Config file is not empty for current partner // if true, then get values // then compare values to this page adPositionsToHide // - add new ones from config file to this page var configAdPositionsToHide; var addAdPosition = true; var pageAdPositionsToHide = ['wsr']; // page type specific ads to hide if( !isWslAdDisplayed ) { pageAdPositionsToHide.push('wsl'); } var rightRailNotSticky = false, isBackToTop = false; rightRailNotSticky = false; require([ 'base/article-toc', 'base/article-common' ], function( AppArticleToc, AppArticleTocCommon ){ AppArticleToc.initialize({ isWslAdDisplayed: isWslAdDisplayed, isArticleHelpful: false, partnerId: 28, titleAreaTop: '60px', tabNavigationTop: '85px', isBackToTop: isBackToTop, tabNavMaxWidth: '1008px', rightRailNotSticky: rightRailNotSticky, tabArticleWidth: 978, stickyTitlePaddingAuto: false, isFbCommentsOn: false, rightRailNotSticky: rightRailNotSticky }); AppArticleTocCommon.initialize(); }); var isMsiteId = false; var isMoveMr2 = true; require([ "base/rwd/article-toc" ], function( AppArticleTocRwd ){ AppArticleTocRwd.initialize({ isMsiteId: isMsiteId, adRBTimeDelay: 300, isMoveMr2: isMoveMr2 }); }); require([ "base/rwd/sharebar-mobile" ], function( AppSharebarMobile ){ AppSharebarMobile.initialize(); }); </script> <script> require(['jquery',"base/dfpmanager","base/responsive-ads","matchmedia"],function($,AppDfpmanager,AppResponsiveAds){ $(function() { // determine if pb ad is shown on page load var isAdOnPageLoad = true; var breakpointsToHideAd = []; var breakpointsToHideAdByPageType = []; breakpointsToHideAd = ['600','480','320']; var isAdOnPageLoad = AppResponsiveAds.getShowAdOnPageLoad("PB",breakpointsToHideAd,breakpointsToHideAdByPageType); var cfgDfpManager = { isAdOnPageLoad: isAdOnPageLoad, adshost : 'http://ads.healthline.com', logged_in : 'false', dfpAdSite : 'hn.us.hl.lc.x.x.x', btk1 : '', btk2 : '', kw : 'othermentalhealth,psychiatrist,2801593', k1 : 'othermentalhealth', k2 : 'mentalhealth', k3 : 'health', pos : 'lb', ugc : 'false', ac : '', uac : '', akh : '', aks : '5000', env : '', msiteID : '', adTagPageUrl : encodeURIComponent('/health/perfectionism'), partner : 'healthline', pg_dart_site : 'hn.us.hl.lc.x.x.x', pg_dart_zone : 'othermentalhealth', pg_k2 : 'mentalhealth', pHLID : '2801593', HLID : '8100863|2801593', visit_type : 'HCviewer', yeildex : 'true', targetsrc : '' }; var pbtimeout = setTimeout(function() { AppDfpmanager.pbIframeInit(cfgDfpManager); }, 300); }); // dom ready }); </script> <script> var HL_adBlankMonitor = function(cfg) { if(cfg.adBlankCodes.length > 0) { for(var i = 0; i < cfg.adBlankCodes.length; i++) { if (typeof HL_ga_sendTrackEvent === 'function') { HL_ga_sendTrackEvent({ gaEventCategory : 'Ad Display', gaEventAction : 'Blank Ad', gaEventLabel : 'adBlankCode=' + cfg.adBlankCodes[i] + '&adspot=' + cfg.adPosition + '&pageUrl=' + window.location.pathname }); } } } }; require(["base/util/visit-tracker"],function(AppVisitTracker){ AppVisitTracker.initialize(); }); </script> <script> require([ 'healthline/newsletter-signup' ], function( newsletterSignup ){ newsletterSignup.setConfig({ newsletterHost: 'newsletter.healthline.com' }); }); </script> <script> /* load module */ require(["healthline/footer"]); </script> </a >perfectionis>perfectionis>