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​​What is scrupulosity OCD?

Scrupulosity is a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) characterized by religious and/or moral obsessions.  It involves the fear of doing or thinking something that might be offensive to God or your religion, excessive worry about going to hell, or excessive concern about having violated your own moral or ethical code.

Common Obsessions in Scrupulosity

  • Excessive worry that one’s life is on the “wrong path"
  • Excessive concern about doing the “right thing"

  • Applying different moral standards to one’s own behavior than to the behavior of others.

  • Worry about whether one is fundamentally good or evil

  • Repetitive thoughts about being sinful, dishonest, or lacking integrity

  • Ruminating about past mistakes, errors, or possible sinful behavior

  • Excessive fear of the possibility of committing blasphemy

  • Excessive focus of religious and moral perfection

  • Unwanted sexual thoughts about a religious figure (God, saints, Jesus, or a priest)

  • Repetitive thoughts of thoughts of eternal damnation

  • Excessive fear that loved ones are going to hell


Compulsions related to scrupulosity

  • Seeking reassurance from others that one has not sinned or have been immora

  • Compulsive self-reassurance

    • Repeatedly saying: “I’m a good person” after experiencing an unwanted thought

    • Repeatedly saying: “God loves me” after having an unwanted thought.

    • Compulsive writing (e.g., Jesus loves me).

  • Mentally reviewing or analyzing events to determine if a sin was committed

  • Fasting in a way that’s not typical for other members of one’s religious community

  • Engaging in self-punishing atonement practices that are not characteristic of one’s faith

  • Replacing unwanted thoughts or images with safer or holier images

  • Asking for forgiveness excessively

  • Avoiding numbers that are unlucky or have religious significance

  • Excessive confession to their religious leader (priest, rabbi, etc.)

  • Avoiding certain objects that they associate with immorality

  • Excessive praying or reading of religious texts

  • Making deals with God to avoid going to hell

  • Avoidance of religious services, traditions, or objects due to fears of being unworthy or sinful

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Treatment of Scrupulosity OCD

People suffering from Scrupulosity OCD are encouraged to seek treatment from a mental health treatment provider that specializes in the treatment of OCD.  OCD specialists are equipped and prepared to treat a wide array of OCD subtypes, including Scrupulosity OCD . Like all types of OCD, Scrupulosity OCD can be treated with a combination of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Exposure and Response Prevention.  Contact Lauren Pellizzi to start treatment. 


Scrupulosity