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OCD and the Church

John Collins5/1/2012 2:36:00 PMObsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is growing more and more common in the churches that try to continue in the "old ways" and are against change. Once of the primary causes of this disorder having behavior-related habits formed over time.

It is said that OCD is genetic because it typically is passed down from generation to generation, but no specific genes have been identified that carry OCD. It is more likely that the religious background of the parents is passed down to the children, along with other habits that are carried on in the younger generations.

The more cult-like churches that preach the same doctrines for generations or listen to the same recorded media for generations are more likely to have OCD in their younger generations. This repetitive way of life is habit-forming, and habits lead to OCD.

People who suffer OCD also suffer a fear of change. They find comfort in their habits, so they continue in their habits to avoid the uncomfortable feeling of change. Those who listen to the same media over and over will tell you they find comfort in listening, while they do not realize they are actually feeding their OCD as it grows like a snowball down a big hill.

OCD is linked to and also causes depression, which is discussed in another topic. It is treatable, however. If you recognize these signs in your children, it is your responsibility as a parent to find help for them before the problem turns into something much worse for the child.

People suffering with OCD will usually fall into one or more of five categories:

Washers - afraid of contamination. They usually have cleaning or hand-washing compulsions.
Checkers - repeatedly check things (oven turned off, door locked, etc.) that they associate with harm or danger.
Doubters and sinners - are afraid that if everything isn't perfect or done just right something terrible will happen or they will be punished.
Counters and arrangers - are obsessed with order and symmetry. They may have superstitions about certain numbers, colors, or arrangements.
Hoarders - fear that something bad will happen if they throw anything away. They compulsively hoard things that they don't need or use.

Symptoms for Obsessive Thoughts:
  • Fear of being contaminated by germs or dirt or contaminating others.
  • Fear of causing harm to yourself or others.
  • Intrusive sexually explicit or violent thoughts and images.
  • Excessive focus on religious or moral ideas.
  • Fear of losing or not having things you might need.
  • Order and symmetry: the idea that everything must line up "just right."
  • Conspiracy theorists
  • Superstitions; excessive attention to something considered lucky or unlucky.

Symptoms for Compulsive Behaviors
  • Excessive double-checking of things, such as locks, appliances, and switches.
  • Repeatedly checking in on loved ones to make sure they're safe.
  • Counting, tapping, repeating certain words, or doing other senseless things to reduce anxiety.
  • Spending a lot of time washing or cleaning.
  • Ordering or arranging things "just so."
  • Praying excessively or engaging in rituals triggered by religious fear.
  • Accumulating "junk" such as old newspapers or empty food containers.