I’ve completed my ERP therapy. Thanks to both medication and ERP I’m in a “complete” remission of symptoms. I can truly tell you I hope to never go through that again, but I do not regret doing so [ERP] (and would do it again if needed to). I feel peace and am relatively anxiety free. Results may vary from individual to individual, but for the most part a significant decrease in symptoms is expected should one complete therapy.
So, what is ERP and how/why it works. The basic idea is actually deceptively simple. That doesn’t mean it is easy. Let’s take the example of someone who is afraid of heights. This fear of heights triggers an uncomfortable amount of anxiety at a certain level. We start with a scale from 1 to 10 (or 1 to 100). This scale is known as subjective units of distress (aka SUDS). This person who is afraid of heights would back away from the balcony (avoidance/escape response) if on say, the tenth floor. By Read More…
The reasons I’m going to give are not necessarily philosophical although I’ve encountered the “problem of evil” “the problem of hell” essentially on my own. Rather, my OCD latched on to these problems and caused a great deal of pain in trying to resolve them. Let’s start at the beginning.
I was raised Roman Catholic (RCC) on my mother’s side. I have been baptized, and confirmed. I used to go to church and confession. I used to enjoy reading the homilies on my own as I did find them interesting as stories and narratives of some type of truth. I looked to these stories as how is God trying to help me understand them. I used to pray quite a bit. I would even venture a guess that it may have been a compulsion, but I didn’t always pray out of guilt or anxiety. For the most part, I thought of God as Read More…
I want to start out with some ideas that have bounced around my melon for a while. I admire the author of the book The Year of Living Biblically, A.J. Jacobs. In particular, I liked his Ted Talk about that book. In that project he explores some of the issues he encountered while trying to live as close to the Bible as possible. Some of the big lessons he learned was not to take the Bible literally, give thanks, have reverence (he is agnostic by the way), don’t stereotype, don’t disregard the irrational, and one has to cherry pick the Bible. I couldn’t agree more. The points I want to focus on are the “don’t disregard the irrational” and having Read More…
While most OCD books have a chapter on religious OCD it is interesting to read the different experiences of others who have dealt with religious OCD.
- Can Christianity Cure Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?: A Psychiatrist Explores the Role of Faith in Treatment by Ian Osborn (his other book is great too Tormenting Thoughts and Secret Rituals: The Hidden Epidemic of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder)
- Freedom from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: A Personalized Recovery Program for Living with Uncertainty by Jonathon Grayson (has a great chapter on Religious OCD
- Overcoming Obsessive Thoughts: How to Gain Control of Your OCD by David Clark (excellent chapter on ERP)
The Doubting Disease: Help for Scrupulosity and Religious Compulsion by Joseph Ciarrocchi
- Understanding Scrupulosity: Questions, Helps, and Encouragement by Thomas Santa
This is by no means is an exhaustive list (but is in order from most helpful to least helpful in my opinion). Many books will have chapters regarding religious OCD in conjunction with other themed forms of OCD. By far the best books Read More…
OCD is one of the most treatable mental illnesses. Fortunately, there are medications and treatments that can help significantly with this disorder. There are also some drugs in the works being tested for treatment resistant OCD that show a lot of promise. So, what pitfalls await us? It will usually come from ourselves. OCD is a disorder of pathological doubt (pathological in the sense that it interferes with our quality of life). If you check to see that the stove is off, say twice, not such a big deal, you are probably normal, if a bit neurotic: five times- we’re starting to waste our time: ten times – we have a problem. Coming to terms that we have a bonafide mental illness is both relieving and scary at the same time. The fact that there is a name for it and others recover from OCD, is a source of hope, but the stigma of mental illness Read More…
Religious OCD is where someone becomes obsessed with morality. Some may believe they have committed a sin, when they haven’t. Some have unwanted intrusive thoughts and misinterpret it as sin. What usually follows is that the OCD sufferer performs a neutralizing action either through compulsive praying or in my case thought neutralizing and avoidance.
I’m what is thought of as a purely obsessional or “Pure-O.” I have blasphemous thoughts that I do not want and I either try to avoid them, I’ll try to neutralize it through using logic and reassurance. I would even pray.
Hey I thought you are an atheist? Well, yes I am.
That means you don’t believe in God, right? Well…..yes.
So then what’s your problem? Now we get to the crux of why OCD is a mental disorder and not some existential problem. The problem is certainty or the lack thereof. The threshold that OCD requires is 100% certainty, not Read More…
I’m creating this site to benefit people who suffer from OCD in particular Religious OCD or Scrupulosity. So, what is OCD? According to the DSM-IV:
A. Either obsessions or compulsions:
Obsessions as defined by (1), (2), (3), and (4):
1. recurrent and persistent thoughts, impulses, or images that are experienced, at some time during the disturbance, as intrusive and inappropriate and that cause marked anxiety or distress
2. the thoughts, impulses, or images are not simply excessive worries about real-life problems
3. the person attempts to ignore or suppress such thoughts, impulses, or images, or to neutralize them with some other thought or action
4. the person recognizes that the obsessional thoughts, impulses, or images are a product of his or her own mind (not imposed from without as in thought insertion)
Compulsions as defined by (1) and (2):
5. repetitive behaviors (e.g., hand washing, ordering, checking) or mental acts (e.g., praying, counting, repeating words silently) that the person feels driven to perform in response to an obsession, or according to rules that must be applied rigidly
6. the behaviors or mental acts are aimed at preventing or reducing distress or preventing some dreaded event or situation; however, these behaviors or mental acts either are not connected in a realistic way with what they are designed to neutralize or prevent or are clearly excessive
B. At some point during the course of the disorder, the person has recognized that the obsessions or compulsions are excessive or unreasonable. Note: This does not apply to children.
C. The obsessions or compulsions cause marked distress, are time consuming (take more than 1 hour a day), or significantly interfere with the person’s normal routine, occupational (or academic) functioning, or usual social activities or relationships.
D. If another Axis I disorder is present, the content of the obsessions or compulsions is not restricted to it (e.g., preoccupation with food in the presence of an Eating Disorder; hair pulling in the presence of Trichotillomania; concern with appearance in the presence of Body Dysmorphic Disorder; preoccupation with drugs in the presence of a Substance Use Disorder; preoccupation with having a serious illness in the presence of Hypochondriasis; preoccupation with sexual urges or fantasies in the presence of a Paraphilia; or guilty ruminations in the presence of Major Depressive Disorder).
E. The disturbance is not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication) or a general medical condition.
Specify if: With Poor Insight: if, for most of the time during the current episode, the person does not recognize that the obsessions and compulsions are excessive or unreasonable
Links on Atheism
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|Hanouma Wala on Why the Hijab is a Symbol of…|
|Introspection can be… on A mystical experience?|
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