What is Scrupulosity? A Guide To Understanding Religious OCD

what is scrupulosity

Do you ever feel like you’re being too hard on yourself? Like you’re always worried about making a mistake or doing something wrong? If so, you may be struggling with scrupulosity. This mental disorder is characterized by excessive guilt and anxiety over minor religious or also moral issues. In this guide, we will discuss the symptoms, causes, and treatment of scrupulosity. We hope that this information will help you better understand this condition and get the help you need!

What Is Scrupulosity?

scrupulosity meaning

Scrupulosity is a mental disorder that is characterized by excessive guilt and anxiety over minor religious or moral issues. People with this condition often feel like they are constantly making mistakes or doing something wrong. They may worry about things like saying a prayer correctly, following all of the rules of their religion, or being a good person. This can lead to a lot of stress and anxiety in day-to-day life.

Scrupulosity is also considered a sub-type of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). OCD is an anxiety disorder that characterizes by intrusive thoughts, compulsions, or also both. People with OCD often have difficulty managing their anxiety due to these obsessions and compulsions.

Scrupulosity, also known as religious OCD, is similar to OCD in that it involves obsessive thoughts and compulsions around religious or moral issues. However, not all people with scrupulosity have OCD. Some people with this disorder also do not have any other mental health conditions.

Causes Of Scrupulosity

There is no one single cause of scrupulosity. Rather, it is thought to be the result of a combination of genetic and environmental factors. For example, people who have close relatives with OCD or anxiety disorders may be more likely to develop scrupulosity. Furthermore, people who grew up in religious households or experienced trauma may also be at increased risk.

Signs Of Scrupulosity

Signs Of Scrupulosity

There are a few different signs that may indicate someone is struggling with scrupulosity. These include:

  • Excessive worry about making mistakes or doing something wrong
  • Obsessive thoughts about religious or moral issues
  • Compulsive behaviors around religious or moral issues
  • Repeatedly indulging in religious activities like praying, worshiping, etc.
  • Rumination of past behaviors
  • Inappropriate sexual attraction to religious figure(s)
  • Repeating religious and sacred sayings/songs
  • Making deals with God to avoid going to hell
  • Avoidance of people, places, or things that may trigger obsessive thoughts or compulsions
  • False dichotomy of being a good or bad person
  • Excessive fear of committing sins
  • Extreme guilt or shame

Side Effects Of Scrupulosity

Side Effects Of Scrupulosity

The anxiety and stress that come with scrupulosity can also lead to several physical and mental health problems. These include:

Treatment For Scrupulosity

If you think you may be struggling with scrupulosity, it is important to reach out for help. This condition can be very difficult to deal with on your own. Remember, there is no shame in seeking further treatment for a mental disorder!

Self-Help Tips

In addition to professional help, there are a few things you can do to manage your symptoms. These include:

  • Identifying and challenging your beliefs around morality and religion
  • Practicing mindfulness
  • Exposing yourself to triggering situations in a controlled way
  • Building a support system of close friends or family members
  • Finding healthy coping mechanisms for anxiety, such as exercise or journaling
  • Indulging in reality checks or grounding when you start to feel overwhelmed by your obsessions
  • Limiting your time spent in religious activities by making strict timetables


There are a few different treatment options for scrupulosity. These include:

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy: This form of therapy focuses on helping people change their thinking and behavioral patterns. It is also very effective in treating OCD and other anxiety disorders.

Exposure and Response Prevention: This type of therapy involves gradually exposing someone to their fears or triggers in a safe and controlled environment. They are then taught how to manage their anxiety without engaging in compulsions or avoidance behaviors.

Mindfulness-Based Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy: This form of therapy combines cognitive-behavioral techniques with mindfulness practices. Mindfulness can help people learn to accept and further live with their thoughts and feelings without getting overwhelmed by them.

Medication: In some cases, medication may be prescribed in addition to therapy. Anti-anxiety medication can further help reduce some of the symptoms of scrupulosity.

Note: if one decides to undergo medication, it becomes crucial to stay in contact with your healthcare provider for monitoring the efficacy as well as side effects.


Scrupulosity is a mental disorder that can be very difficult to deal with. However, there are treatments available that can help. If you think you may be struggling with scrupulosity, reach out for help!

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