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Religion is still an important part of people’s lives. Over 70% of Americans are of the Christian faith, followed by Judaism and Muslim.

Religion offers many benefits. But many religious individuals become obsessive over their religion.

Their devotion may interfere with their life negatively. This causes anxiety, paranoia, and OCD symptoms. This sensation is called scrupulosity.

Scrupulosity encompasses obsessive thoughts surrounding religious beliefs. This causes paranoia and the individual can engage in OCD symptoms and behaviors.

Here’s everything you need to know about scrupulosity.

Scrupulosity and OCD: The Connection

Scrupulosity is a form of anxiety centering around religious beliefs. Out of all of the anxiety disorders, scrupulosity relates most to OCD.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder centers on obsessive and paranoid thoughts. To relieve the thoughts, users engage in compulsive behavior.

“Germaphobes” are the perfect example; they believe, in order to prevent disease and sickness, they must engage in complex handwashing and cleaning behaviors.

Most individuals with scrupulosity are scared of sinning, being punished by their deity or figure of worship, and not experiencing eternal happiness (in Christianity, this can mean “going to Hell”).

These individuals believe practicing complex religious rituals will cleanse them of their “sins.”

Common Examples of Scrupulosity Compulsive Behavior

Every individual varies, based on their situation and their religion of choice. But most of those with scrupulosity engage in similar compulsive behavior.


Those with scrupulosity want to please their God. They will seek constant reassurance to ensure they’re not sinning or going against their religion.

“Reassurance” may include constant prayer, consistently visiting the house of worship, and talking to priests.

Excessive Prayer

They may say the same prayer repeatedly until they say it correctly. They may also say the same prayer excessively because they believe their God will approve of the devotion.

Constant Visits to Church

Those with scrupulosity will constantly visit their place of worship, whether it’s the church or a similar place. They feel doing so will enhance their God’s approval.

Questioning Yourself

Scrupulosity causes fear of eternal suffering. Those with this disorder will constantly question themselves, wondering if they’re doing anything blasphemous.

They may also punish themselves if they have intrusive thoughts or question their beliefs.

Is Recovery Possible?

If you suffer from scrupulosity, understand you’re not alone and you can get help. Identifying a mental disorder isn’t always easy, especially when it interferes with something as significant as religion.

To seek help, it’s best you reach out to loved ones. Start with friends and family. You can also talk to someone at your place of worship.

It’s also recommended you seek professional help. Scrupulosity is an anxiety disorder and you can undergo anxiety treatment to better identify your paranoia, compulsions, and how to prevent them.

Scrupulosity Is Damaging, But There Is Hope

Religion can be beneficial. But some can get too encompassed in religion’s teachings, doubting themselves and fearing blasphemy.

This can go so far as to create anxious thoughts and OCD-related actions, which is known as scrupulosity. You can seek treatment for scrupulosity so you can live your life anxiety-free.

Living a healthier lifestyle, such as improving your diet and fitness habits, can also reduce anxiety. Learn more about this on our website

Adam Legas

Adam Legas

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