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Religious OCD: 'I'm going to hell' Published: June 2, 2014

Meet two women featured by CNN that are examples people suffering from a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder known as scrupulosity.

A fear of sin or punishment from deities characterizes this condition, said Jonathan Abramowitz, professor and associate chairman of the department of psychology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

As children they believed fervently that they needed to conduct their own rituals and prayers, or else disaster would befall their families.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or OCD, involves unwanted thoughts ("obsessions") and accompanying behaviors called compulsions that patients use to reduce anxiety. In scrupulosity, the obsessions have a religious or moral underpinning.

Patients with scrupulosity often describe how they believe their thoughts are morally equivalent to actions, Abramowitz said. Psychologists call this phenomenon "thought-action fusion."

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