Individuals with Scrupulosity are plagued with obsessions surrounding religion/spirituality and morals, which may include obsessions about sin, offending God, religious or moral failings, and punishment. They are burdened with worry about whether something is ‘the right thing to do’ even in trivial matters, and often perform compulsions including repetitive prayer and religious rituals.
Videos: Immoral or Scrupulous Thoughts
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Ted Witzig Jr., PhD, discusses a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) known as scrupulosity. Scrupulosity manifests itself in a way that is consistent with that person's religious beliefs.
Jonathan S. Abramowitz, PhD, discusses the difference between scrupulosity and religious morals. Scrupulosity is about having an intolerance of uncertainty. A person with scrupulosity feels the need to have a guarantee that he/she has not upset God.
Jonathan S. Abramowitz, PhD, discusses treatment for scrupulosity. Exposure and response prevention (ERP) is the most effective treatment for scrupulosity and other forms of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). He also discusses the best way to approach a clergy or a religious community about scrupulosity. The best way is to explain that this is a serious mental health issue and is much more than just following religion.
Ted Witzig Jr., PhD, discusses the difference between healthy religious faith and scrupulosity. Someone who has healthy religious faith feels comfort and enjoys their religious beliefs and practices. Someone who has scrupulosity is driven by anxiety, uncertainty, and fear.
Ted Witzig Jr., PhD, discusses treatment for scrupulosity. Scrupulosity is treated the same way as other forms of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) are treated. Exposure and response prevention (ERP) is the treatment that is used. A huge concern that people with scrupulosity have is that treatment will harm their religion. It is important to keep in mind that treatment will help a person practice their faith in a healthier and more joyful way.
Ted Witzig Jr., PhD, discusses how treatment for scrupulosity will not make someone less religious or less faithful to their beliefs. Faith, itself, means taking a leap of faith. Faith is trusting God through uncertainty, in other words, "I will move forward through those exposures and treatment because I have more important things to do in my life that God wants me to do."
Ted Witzig Jr., PhD, discusses the difference between healthy prayer and scrupulosity, a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Healthy prayer is one's practice of being able to talk to God, reflect, and feel comfort. Where as scrupulosity makes it an impossible battle when, for example, one feels the need to pray an abnormal amount.
Ted Witzig Jr., PhD, discusses how someone with scrupulosity wants to constantly seek reassurance from pastors, family, and friends. It is important to try to break this cycle.
Ted Witzig Jr., PhD, discusses how common it is for someone with scrupulosity to avoid triggers that will provoke obsessional fears. Examples of this would be avoiding churches and/or avoiding the bible. Unfortunately, avoidance increases the symptoms associated with scrupulosity.
Ted Witzig Jr., PhD, discusses exposure and response prevention (ERP) and why it is used to treat those who suffer from scrupulosity. ERP involves exposing oneself to triggers repeatedly. This treatment helps alleviate the anxiety and fear associated with triggers. ERP helps a sufferer develop coping skills and decreases the symptoms associated scrupulosity.