Could you be addicted to prayer?


Lord of Penmai
Jul 5, 2011
Could you be addicted to prayer?

It's common to hear people say that they have an OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), but although the word is used casually, a compulsion can seriously hamper every day functioning.

While washing hands several times a day or locking the door over and over again are the most common types of compulsions, there are many others that are rather quirky.

Vivek Benegal, professor of psychiatry and head of centre for addiction medicine at Nimhans, explains that anything that affects the reward pathway of brain and gives one a sense of high can be termed as an addiction. "Some people are prone to developing an addiction and can be addicted to several things at once. The substance is not important; it is just that repeated use of that substance fulfills some need," says Vivek, who says he has seen people who are addicted to getting bitten by snakes. "Then there are others who are addicted to bungee jumping and other such adventure sports," adds Vivek.

Being addicted to praying may seem unusual, but psychiatrist Dr Shobha Krishna says that it is quite common. "When someone gets a bad thought, they automatically assume that something is going to go wrong. This causes so much distress that the affected person feels that the only way he/she can cope with it is with prayer. Such a person may pray several times a day, which hampers their everyday activities," she says. Shobha has also had patients who are addicted to drinking water and those who can't stop pulling out their hair, so much so that they start going bald. "It is unusual for anyone to drink more than three litres of water a day. Some people feel that their throat dries up the moment they stop drinking water; the very sight of water makes them want to drink," she says, adding, "People who have a compulsive habit of pulling their hair do not even realize that they are doing this. Many develop bald patches and pluck out all the hair from their eyebrows and eyelashes. Even in this state, they may refuse to seek help. This is quite common in teenagers."

The Brahmin custom of madi — where women cannot pray or cook until they have had a bath — has had an unusual effect on some elderly women. "There are some women who are so obsessed with being 'pure' that they end up spending the entire day in the bathroom. They take a shower and when they touch the tap, they feel dirty again, so they take another shower. Again, at the end of the shower, they will touch something and feel dirty. This can go on all day," she says.

Unusual addictions
Getting bitten by snakes
Drinking water
Pulling out hair/ eyebrows
Spending the entire day
Taking a shower
Adventure sports


Ruler's of Penmai
Registered User
Jul 26, 2012
Very interesting to read about these peculiar people. thank you!

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