Hello Brave One!

Here is this week’s spotlight on Religious OCD or Moral Scrupulosity OCD:

Religious OCD or Moral Scrupulosity OCD is characterized by recurrent and persistent intrusive (unwanted) thoughts, urges or images about Religious OCD or Moral OCD along with compulsive, repetitive behaviors or mental acts aimed at reducing anxiety/distress or preventing a feared outcome from happening, all of which cause distress and impairment in functioning.

Common Religious OCD or Moral Scrupulosity OCD Obsessions:

  • Intrusive thoughts surrounding religion or religious figures/deities
  • Fear of not being perfectly religious
  • Fear of being a morally bad person
  • Fear you are committing a sin or going to Hell
  • Fear you aren’t practicing your religion perfectly and your higher power(s) will be angry/punish you
  • Fear of not doing enough for the environment, social justice, being racist
  • Fear that good deeds aren’t actually good because it selfishly feels good
  • Fear of being possessed by the devil/demons/evil spirit
  • Fear of not being perfectly truthful or honest

Common Religious OCD or Moral Scrupulosity OCD Core Fears:

  • Being a bad person, being rejected
  • Causing irreversible harm to self/others
  • Feeling guilt/regret/hopelessness forever
  • Loss of identity/values
  • Loss of meaning/purpose

Common Religious OCD or Moral Scrupulosity OCD Compulsions:

  • Excessively questioning if you are a good or bad person (accompanied by all-or-nothing thinking about what constitutes a good or bad person and inability to see nuance)
  • Ruminating about complex ethical issues to try and figure out where you stand and if you are good or bad
  • Excessive apologizing
  • Reassurance seeking/self-reassurance
  • Re-doing religious practices until it’s perfect, to the extent that it gets in the way of actually practicing your religion/having a healthy relationship with your higher power (praying)
  • Rigid rules about religion/morality
  • Excessive research on moral/religious issues
  • Being excessively self-critical about religion/morals, sometimes to the extent that you also excessively judge others’ religious practices/morals

**Please note: themes help us get more information out to individuals suffering with OCD, but anything can become obsessive and/or compulsive and themes can overlap. It’s also important to remember that the content of OCD is not important, it’s all the same mechanisms responding to different triggers. We recommend working with a therapist trained in ERP.

Stay Brave! -The OCD MN Team