Obsessive compulsive disorder in ultra-orthodox Jewish patients: a comparison of religious and non-religious symptoms

Author : Greenberg, D.

Source : Psychol Psychother. 75(Pt 2):123-30

Date : 01/06/2002

Greenberg D, Shefler G Abstract: Of 28 ultra-orthodox Jewish psychiatric referrals with obsessive compulsive disorder, 26 had religious symptoms, while 18 had non-religious symptoms. On average, each patient had three times more religious symptoms than non-religious symptoms. In only nine cases did the patients view their non-religious symptoms as the main difficulty, and all of these nine cases were ultra-orthodox from birth. There was no significant difference between the distress, resistance, sense of irrationality and hours spent daily of religious and non-religious symptoms. Further, there was no significant difference between the age of onset, age when felt to be a disturbance, and duration until help was sought. They were more likely to turn for help initially to a religious authority for a religious symptom and a mental health worker for a non-religious symptom. It may be concluded that the religious and non-religious symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder in ultra-orthodox Jews are not experienced in markedly different ways by the sufferers. Two limitations to the study are the sample size, and the selection bias in that all had sought professional help, of itself likely to reflect their attitude to obsessive compulsive disorder.