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Don’t Let Religious OCD Control Your Life; Get Help Today!

 In Addiction

Religious OCD is a subcategory of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and is characterized as an obsession with religious doubts and fears. This can be for any religion and fear of punishment from God(s). Between five and 33 percent of OCD sufferers have religious obsessive-compulsive disorder. Common OCD symptoms include compulsive behavior, repetitive behaviors, strong religious or moral beliefs, moral scrupulosity, and religious obsessions. Some treatment options for obsessive-compulsive disorders include behavioral therapy and exposure-response training. 

People with OCD perform compulsions to fend off or neutralize their anxiety, which is caused by things like unwanted thoughts, images, or impulses. These are known as obsessions. But people with OCD do not always realize that a mental health disorder is behind these thoughts and behaviors. In the case of scrupulosity, they might mistake praying compulsively as an appropriate response to a blasphemous idea. They don’t realize that their OCD is behind the thought.

Causes of Religious OCD

OCD in general is still being researched, but scientists think a serotonin imbalance in the brain could be partly to blame. Those diagnosed with religious OCD usually fear they won’t have enough faith and will be punished, leading to compulsion. 

Symptoms of Religious OCD

  • Obsessive thoughts about committing a sin 
  • Frequent visits to the place of worship
  • Concern regarding blasphemous thoughts 
  • Feeling unworthy of God’s love 
  • Worry regarding not studying enough religious text 

Treatments for Religious OCD 

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT for short, is psychotherapy that involves rewiring negative patterns of thinking and turning those into positive ones. 
  • Family therapy is a tool utilized to help one’s family members understand the diagnosis and can coach the family in a positive way to better support the individual suffering. 
  • ERP therapy is done by a licensed therapist and helps the individual break the cycle of compulsions by letting obsessive thoughts occur and not following them with a ritual. 
  • Your doctor may also prescribe medication like an anti-depressant.

If you or a loved one is struggling with religious OCD, please seek treatment. These thoughts can become worse and take over daily lives. Mental health professionals may want the individual to go to an inpatient program to help break the cycle of negative thinking. There are many medical providers ready to help you break negative thinking patterns. 

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