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What is Religious OCD / Scrupulosity?

People suffering from Scrupulosity can be religious or not religious at all or can even be an atheist and not believe in God. Regardless of whether or not they are religious or believe in a God(s), individuals suffering from Religious OCD/Scrupulosity will fear that God will punish them, fear they could, or will go to hell, fear being morally wrong or evil, or fear anything pertaining to hell, the devil, or the occult. These individuals will hold strict standards of religious, moral, and ethical perfection. The sufferer experiences intense guilt, but also anxiety about the threat of eternal punishment for having violated religious precepts. This can lead to feelings of depression, sadness, guilt and shame. It is not uncommon for these individuals to fear saying, doing, or acting in a certain way that is considered inappropriate, immoral, or could threaten their likelihood of going to Heaven.

Common Obsessions (fears and doubts)

  • Repetitive thoughts about having committed a sin
  • Exaggerated concern with the possibility of having committed blasphemy
  • Excessive fear of having offended God
  • Hyper focus on religious, moral, and/or ethical perfection
  • Excessive fear of failing to show proper devotion to God
  • Repeated fears of going to hell/eternal damnation
  • Concern with behaviors sending a loved one to hell
  • Unwanted inappropriate thought’s or images about God
  • Excessive fear of having acted counter to one’s personal morals, values, or ethics

Common Compulsions (safety behaviors)

  • Excessive ritualized praying and/or reading the bible
  • Repeating specific verses from the bible (out loud or in silent)
  • Seeking forgiveness
  • Seek reassurance from others that they are a good person
  • Repeated and ritualized confessing
  • Mentally reviewing past acts to prove to one’s self they have not sinned
  • Ritualized “undoing” behaviors to counteract perceived sins and transgressions

At the OCD Counseling Center of OCD we can help. Be the change and get back to living your life!