OCD Subtype

What is Scrupulosity (Religious OCD)?

Scrupulosity, or Religious OCD, can present in a variety of ways. Individuals can experience intrusive thoughts about sacred religious figures, believe they are sinful, or have violated the tenets of their religion. People with Religious OCD hold themselves to strict religious standards which can result in more harmful behaviors like self-punishment. They also experience a great amount of shame and fear they are not good enough.

Common Obsessions

  • Fears about being sinful, dishonest, or lacking integrity
  • Fears of inadequacy in their faith or not measuring up to religious standards
  • Excessive fear of committing blasphemy
  • Excessive concern with right and wrong
  • Excessive focus on religious and moral perfection
  • Unwanted sexual thoughts about a religious figure (God, saints, Jesus, or a priest)
  • Repetitive thoughts of eternal damnation
  • Excessive fear that loved ones about going to hell
  • Excessive fear about the devil and being punished


Common Compulsions

  • Confession to their religious leader (pastor, priest, rabbi, etc.)
  • Avoiding certain objects, they associate with immorality
  • Excessive praying or reading of religious texts
  • Ruminating about past mistakes, errors, or possible sinful behavior
  • Seeking reassurance from others that one has not sinned or have been immoral
  • Making deals with God to avoid going to hell
  • Avoiding religious services, traditions, or objects due to fears of being unworthy or sinful
  • Constantly providing themselves reassurance they are good people
  • Excessive religious practices to ensure their fear will not come true

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