OCD or Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is a psychiatric diagnosis given to people who have repeated obsessions followed by compulsions.
An obsession is a thought that you can’t get out of your mind. For example, you think the germs that are all around us will make you gravely ill if you don’t wash thoroughly. The exaggeration, fear, and this inability to get rid of that thought are what make it an obsession.
A compulsion is a behavior that is done to stop the obsession. It is repeated often, sometimes to the point of self-harm. Such behaviors are hard to resist. Using the obsession with germs described above, a compulsion might be to repeatedly and excessively wash your hands. Such relentless hand-washing can result in the skin of the hands peeling off causing rawness and bleeding.
—Most people show symptoms of OCD by the age of 30 years old.
—20% of people with OCD also have tics. Tics are bodily movements that cannot be controlled. Examples of these are repeated facial twitching, throat clearing, or exaggerated eye blinking.
—TWO THIRDS OF PEOPLE WITH OCD WILL EXPERIENCE AN EPISODE OF DEPRESSION!
When religion and spirituality are central in a person’s life, obsessive-compulsive symptoms tend to be noticed there. The term, scruples is often used to describe obsessive-compulsive disorder manifested in religious ways. Repeatedly saying the same prayer over and over again because of a fear that praying differently might be wrong (or break rules) is a scruple. For Catholics, going to confession every time a simple mistake is made because of a fear of hell, is a scruple.
Many Saints struggled with obsessive-compulsive disorder. They all had ways of dealing with it. Some were completely healed of it. Others however struggled on and off their entire lives. Today there are very good treatments, both behavioral and medical. So if you have scruples (obsessive-compulsive disorder) seek help.
This past week, someone sent a comment for posting on an earlier blog entry here. I usually don’t post comments with attached websites. However, in this case I thought the website would be helpful to some Catholics battling with scruples. So here it is: http://thescrupulouscatholic.wordpress.com/
Thank you wolfman!
Sources: National Institute of Health and About.com
Picture by LK Malmquist, Wiki Commons