A Biblical Perspective on OCD

Thursday, July 31, 2014

(photo credit: 19melissa68 via photopin cc)

"For better or worse, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) has tumbled into popular culture as a label for our uptight and detail-minded acquaintances. Many of us know someone who is OCD about his schedule or his budget or keeping his silverware neatly stacked. But clinically speaking, OCD extends beyond mere personality quirks to include mental and behavioral patterns that can lock arms in a vortex of bondage.

"A person with OCD typically finds himself the host of intrusive thoughts — fears of contamination, of committing the unpardonable sin, of embarrassing himself in public — that kick up intense anxiety and refuse to leave. These “sticky thoughts,” as Mike Emlet calls them, are considered obsessions and make up half of the OCD equation. The other half, compulsions, involves the behaviors we usually associate with the disorder: repeated hand washing, counting stair steps, checking locks, and so on. Compulsions offer the prospect of relief from obsessive thoughts. But they almost never deliver. In fact, more often than not, they only make things worse. (Are you sure your hands are clean? Better scrub again.)

Body and Soul

"So what causes OCD? Researchers have offered a variety of explanations. Some, for example, have suggested a link between OCD and abnormal levels of serotonin, a chemical that relays messages from one neuron in the brain to another. Others have pointed to genetics and certain environmental factors. But despite these leads, no one has been able to identify an airtight physical explanation. And should such a discovery one day appear, our collective understanding would only shuffle up to the edge of a black and yawning chasm: the human heart." 

Read the rest of OCD and the Death of the Christian, an insightful, spot-on post over at Desiring God, here.

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