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SCRUPULOSITY, GUILT, & RELIGIOUS OCD
 

Scrupulosity & Guilt OCD:  Scrupulosity sufferers engage in compulsive over-responsibility.  They feel exaggerated guilt and will check if they hurt someone's feelings, pepper ordinary conversation with apologies, constantly justify themselves to others, review past events to determine if they did something unethical (steal, cheat, lie, mislead), double check if they paid enough for something or got too much change back, warn people about perceived "danger," or remove obstacles that people might trip on.  Even if they in fact had a minor ethical infraction, the guilt and the lengths they're willing to go to correct the situation utterly consumes them.  Friends and coworkers often reassure them they did nothing wrong or there's no need to apologize.
 

Religious OCD:  Sufferers of religious OCD have exaggerated guilt about what they perceive as sin, unethical behavior, blasphemous or sacrilegious thoughts, ordinary fleeting questions about their faith, etc.  They often, though not always, fear divine punishment. The person engages in compulsive religiosity (beyond what they themselves regard as normative for peers in their faith community), such as repetitive praying or seeking reassurance from clergy or others.  Religious OCD doesn't necessarily mean their values and beliefs are false; they might indeed be doctrine.  What makes it OCD is how much it consumes them and the lengths to which they'll go to achieve perfect certainty about their moral standing.  It's important to understand that there is no difference between the thoughts of someone with OCD and someone without OCD.  Everyone has uncomfortable thoughts every day; it a normal part of being human.  The only difference is how someone with OCD reacts to it.   
 

Click and read the following articles about Dr. Brodsky's work with Scrupulosity, Guilt, and Religious OCD.  Email a question to Dr. Brodsky for a free consultation within 24 hours. Or make an appointment online now or by calling 212-726-2390.
 

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Fears Beyond Faith:
diagnosing obsession-compulsion
expressed in religious terms

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Friends can help devout keep faith
when faith turns extreme 

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When Mental Disorder Wears a Religious Mask:
obsessions, compulsions a vicious cycle

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Faith or Fear? 

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When Disease Masks As Devotion

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An obscure but significant disorder