Scrupulosity OCD (also known as Religious OCD) is a condition that has been recognized since the 1600s when monks were observed engaging in excessive prayer. Today, it is recognized as a medical condition in people who are overly preoccupied with doing and saying things that meet God’s approval and/or who are overly preoccupied with their ethics and morals.
Scrupulosity OCD can be detrimental to your faith and well-being. People who suffer from Scrupulosity OCD live in a constant state of fear of doing, saying, or thinking things that are blasphemous or against religious and moral teachings. They engage in self-made rituals to reach the state of religious perfection, such as repeating one prayer over and over until they get it perfect, continually asking for forgiveness from God and religious leaders, developing a particular order for saying prayers, and repeatedly asking religious leaders to tell them what words, deeds, or actions are considered sinful. Many sufferers have unwanted blasphemous thoughts about religious figures, which can lead to an excessive feeling of self-doubt and more purification rituals.
Even though they tend to pray more and attend confession more frequently than non-sufferers, people who suffer from Scrupulosity are not necessarily more devout than anyone else. While people who are religious, ethical, and moral can find satisfaction from attending mass or confession along with performing acts that are moral and ethical, people who suffer from Scrupulosity OCD struggle to find that satisfaction. They might feel they are unworthy of God’s love because they weren’t able to pray the right way, or because they did something wrong. They attend confession repeatedly because they are hungry for the satisfaction of being forgiven, and yet they rarely, if ever, receive that satisfaction because they are constantly second-guessing whether or not their words or actions were “right.”
If you think you have symptoms of Scrupulosity, there is hope. You can recover from Scrupulosity OCD and finally feel the satisfaction and love you are seeking.