وسواس قهري / الوسواس القهري


Senior Member
American English
Someone recently told me that he suffered from وسـواس القهـري

I had no idea what he meant but I was somewhat alarmed because the term "waswaas" conjured up ideas of the "devil" and the "jinn" and so forth. I thought he might be saying he was "bewitched" or "bedeviled" or something like that and I wasn't sure how to deal with it at the moment.

Later, I found it was a psychological term meaning "obsessive-compulsive disorder" (where you do things-like washing your hands- over and over without a reason).

Later still, I looked at this term linguistically which brings me to my question -

why would such a peculiar term as "waswaas" be used for a comparitively modern ailment such as "obsessive-compulsive disorder". Is there any idea of "whispering" attached to this medical term? Any theories? Any other medical conditions you can think of that uses the term "waswaas"?
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