One of the sub-types of OCD is Scrupulosity, also referred to as Religious or Moral OCD. This is so because an individual with this condition experience repetitive thoughts just like any OCD patient but these obsessions are leaning to moral or religious beliefs. Although the cause of this disorder is unknown, this condition can be treated.
Scrupulosity OCD has certain symptoms which can be in the form of obsession as well as mental and behavioral compulsions. These obsessive thoughts can be associated with lack of impulse control and fear of immoral behavior, among others. Conversely, compulsive thoughts can be associated with repeating religious words, blasphemy or having religious rituals while behavioral compulsions can be seen in people who repeatedly go to religious leaders for affirmation, go to confession numerous times or have religious rituals.
What is the Treatment for Scrupulosity OCD?
Before this condition can be treated, it is important for an individual who have these symptoms or who is suffering from Scrupulosity should be diagnosed with one. Also, the sufferer should recognize that he or she needs help. Once these two are covered, the mode of treatment follows. However, treatment can be quite a challenge for a person with this disorder since he or she might think that this will like abandoning one’s religion or faith. If this perception gets in the way, a patient might avoid psychotherapeutic treatment. But perhaps, the most effective and successful treatment as with other forms of OCD is Mindfulness Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. It should be noted that there should be an emphasis on Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP).
Three Primary Techniques
This focuses on helping the client develop the skill of non-judgmental awareness of obsessive thoughts and compulsive behavior. By learning the skill, he or she acknowledges these unwanted thoughts and accepting them.
2. Cognitive Restructuring
This technique is important to teach the client to challenge the irrational thoughts and fear-based beliefs with thoughts that are realistic and reasonable. As the skill is developed, the client will be able to recognize an irrational thought and replace it with a balanced thought.
3. Exposure and Response Prevention
This traditional form of CBT is a technique that intentionally letting the client experience thoughts and beliefs that are causing anxiety. Just like in treating phobia in which the client slowly exposed to the object of the fear so as to lessen the anxiety or fear after some time. In Scrupulosity OCD, while this technique lets the client experience distorted thoughts but the acts or avoidant behaviors is not carried out. Although this can be difficult and painful for the client because of the constant experience of irrational thoughts but without doing them, ERP reduces anxiety and fear in the long run.
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) can also be prescribed to treat OCD, Scurpulosity OCD included. Also, if a religious leader of a religious community where the client is aware of the OCD, he can also help with the treatment by counseling the individual on separating his or her faith or devotion from the unwanted thoughts resulting from Scrupulosity OCD.