A comprehensive guide on “Checking” OCD: What it is, what causes it, and how to treat it

If you can’t let go of your intrusive checking thoughts, you are not alone; there is a name for it. 

It’s called OCD, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.

Around 2% of the population suffers from OCD, making it one of the most common mental disorders. 

So what is “checking” OCD, what causes it, and how can you cope with it?

ERP therapy and medication are the two most commonly used treatments for “checking” OCD; sadly, only 35 to 40% seek treatmentand less than 10% receive evidence-based OCD treatment (exposure and response prevention).

Is “checking” OCD genuine?

Do you check to make sure that the door is locked multiple times?

What about the stove?

Are all of the windows closed?

It’s known as “checking” OCD, a common symptom of obsessive-compulsive disorder.

“Checking” OCD can be extremely frustrating and debilitating, but there are ways to manage it.

What is obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and

People sometimes they, I am “so OCD” as a joke. 

However, OCD is an actual mental illness that affects millions worldwide.

Intrusive thoughts and compulsive behaviors characterize OCD.

Intrusive thoughts can be anything from doubts about whether you turned off the oven to horrific intrusive sexual images to fears of germs.

Compulsions are the behaviors you do to get rid of the thoughts or calm yourself down.

Common compulsions include checking, washing, counting, and praying.

OCD can be mild, moderate, or severe, and it can impact any area of your life.

What is “Checking” OCD

Checking is a compulsion that is often seen in individuals with OCD.

Sufferers with “checking” OCD will often check locks, windows, switches, or other objects multiple times to ensure they are safe or relieve their anxiety.

This behavior can be highly time-consuming and frustrating and often leads to a sense of powerlessness and guilt.

Effective treatment for “Checking” OCD

Effective treatment for OCD includes a combination of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)

Cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT, is a type of psychotherapy that focuses on changing the thoughts and behaviors that contribute to OCD.

A combination of ERP Exposure and response prevention and ACT Acceptance and Commitment Therapy has proven effective.

CBT treatment should include education about the disorder, training in self-monitoring of symptoms, emotions, and urges/cravings associated with OCD cognitive restructuring, relapse prevention strategies, and ERP.

ERP involves exposing yourself to the things that cause your anxiety but avoiding any compulsive behaviors.

It can be challenging, but it’s one of the most effective ways to treat OCD.

Cognitive therapy teaches you to identify, challenge, and modify your distorted thinking patterns.

Cognitive therapy aims not to remove all obsessive thoughts but rather to help you learn how to respond differently to the urges that accompany OCD.

For example, people with OCD may have repeated intrusive sexual thoughts and become highly distressed to the point where they feel that these thoughts are out of their control.

CBT can show you how to respond differently by learning that such thoughts are common and not dangerous at all – in fact- they will be no more likely to come true than any other thought.

You would also learn strategies to ignore the thoughts and resist compulsive behaviors. 

These strategies may include distraction exercises, relaxation techniques, and developing an action plan to manage your OCD triggers.

Another option is medication; there are a few different medications that can help reduce the symptoms of OCD, such as SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) and clomipramine.

If you are struggling with checking OCD, please reach out for help. There is no shame in seeking treatment, and you don’t have to suffer alone.

The importance of having a good OCD therapist

If you seek treatment for OCD, it is essential to find a therapist who specializes in OCD.

Not all therapists are familiar with the disorder, and some may even dismiss your symptoms as being “just normal worries.”

Make sure to do your research and find a therapist who understands OCD and can help you manage your symptoms.

Treatment-resistant OCD

If you have tried exposure and response prevention (ERP) therapy and medication but are still experiencing significant symptoms, you may be considered treatment-resistant.

It means that your OCD is not responding to the usual treatments and that you may need a different approach. Don’t be discouraged – there are other treatment options available, and you can find the one that works best for you. Maybe you need a different medicine or add another medication to treat another problem, such as depression. Many variables can affect OCD treatment response. 

Maybe you have not truly embraced the CBT treatment model or have had trouble with the ERP element. It may be that your therapist is not skilled in CBT or doesn’t provide enough treatment for you to get a good response. 

Maybe your OCD is severe and needs a more intensive form of therapy.

Some may need to add an anti-psychotic drug to the SSRI they are taking.

There is no ‘one size fits all approach to OCD treatment as it will vary from sufferer to sufferer. To find the proper method for your particular case, you need a doctor who can work with you on this and try different approaches until you find what works best for you.

Symptoms of “Checking” OCD

You may feel a sense of anxiety and dread when you have intrusive thoughts about “checking” OCD.

You may also feel a compulsion to check things multiple times, even if you’ve already checked them several times before.

Some people will obsess about whether they have turned off the stove or locked the door.

Others may worry that something terrible will happen if they don’t check things multiple times.

Common “checking” obsessions

You may feel a constant need to check the following:

-Locks on doors

-Windows

-Stove

-Oven

-Microwave

-Refrigerator

-Washer and dryer

-Family and friends

The struggle to check everything can be frustrating and overwhelming. 

Common “checking” compulsions

-Checking locks multiple times

– Checking windows multiple times

– Checking stove multiple times

– Checking electrical outlets multiple times

– Checking water levels multiple times

– Checking body for injuries multiple times.

– Checking if family or friends are okay.

Avoidance behaviors in “Checking” OCD 

The compulsions and avoidance behaviors can take up a lot of time and energy, preventing you from living everyday life. 

Some sufferers with “checking” OCD may avoid social situations or travel to reduce the chances of having to check things. Others may avoid leaving their home altogether. 

Reassurance seeking in “Checking” ​OCD

People with “checking” OCD may also seek reassurance from others that everything is okay.

You may ask friends or family members to check things for them, or they may call or text people constantly to make sure everything is okay.

It can be extremely draining for the person giving the reassurance and can often lead to conflict.

If you are struggling with “checking” OCD, please reach out for help. There is no shame in seeking treatment, and you don’t have to suffer alone.

The effects of “Checking” OCD

The effects of “checking” OCD can be far-reaching and devastating. Sufferers may feel a constant sense of anxiety and dread, having difficulty concentrating or sleeping.

-It can cause significant anxiety and stress

-Leads to decreased quality of life

-Interferes with work, school, and social activities

-Which can lead to depression and isolation.

The effects of “checking” OCD on Relationships can be significant. Sufferers may constantly ask their partners to check things for them.

The constant requests for reassurance can cause the sufferer to lose trust in themselves and become dependent on others.

If you are struggling with OCD, please reach out for help. 

There is no shame in seeking treatment, and you don’t have to go through this alone.

What causes “Checking” OCD?

A combination of genetics and environmental factors can cause OCD. 

It means some people are born with a tendency for OCD, while others might develop it due to some triggering event.

Combination of factors including:

Genetics – if you have immediate family members with OCD, you’re at greater risk yourself.

Brain chemistry- an imbalance of brain chemicals may be a factor in causing OCD.

Immune system-specific proteins involved in the inflammatory response system have been found in higher levels among people with OCD. 

Recent studies also suggest that some infections may trigger it. 

It’s not fully clear how these factors interact to cause OCD, but it appears that various factors affect the brain’s susceptibility to OCD.

What can trigger “Checking” OCD?

-A traumatic event

-Stressful life events

-Seeing a traumatic news story

-Starting a new job or school

-Moving to a new home

-A death in the family

-A new relationship

-Seeing the number 8, the number 6, or 666

-Walking on cracks in the sidewalk

There is no setlist of things that triggers OCD, but these are some common triggers. Life changes are often the trigger for children and adults with this type of OCD.

How do you stop OCD thoughts naturally?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the best way to stop OCD thoughts will vary from person to person. 

Sadly there is no magic pill that will instantly cure your OCD. 

However, there are several natural ways to help you deal with compulsions, obsessions, and general anxiety related to the condition.

Several natural remedies for obsessive-compulsive disorder include 5-HTP supplements, GABA supplements, Ashwagandha, and CBD Oil. The complete list of natural treatments for OCD

Because these solutions vary from person to person, you must experiment with what works best for you. 

We suggest adding a few supplements to your daily regimen and experimenting with dosages until you find a solution that reduces OCD symptoms.

How dysfunctional beliefs come into play in OCD

Sufferers with “checking” OCD may have thoughts such as “If I don’t check everything, something terrible will happen.

“or “I am not safe unless I check everything.”

These dysfunctional beliefs can be challenging to change, but they are critical to address in therapy.

What are some examples of dysfunctional beliefs? 

What do they sound like? 

And how can someone work to change them?

Sufferers may have a dysfunctional belief that “I must be certain that nothing bad will happen.” 

It can create a sense of pressure and an urge to check and recheck things.

Changing this belief into “If I am careful and do my best, I’ll probably be okay.” is more realistic.

Another common dysfunctional belief is ‘I can’t tolerate uncertainty.’

A sufferer may search and recheck for certainty if something feels uncertain because it’s unbearable not to know.

As with the previous example, changing this belief can offer relief: “While I would prefer to have everything figured out, it’s okay if there is some uncertainty.”

A sufferer will learn to identify these thoughts and examine their validity in therapy. What is the evidence for this thought? 

Is there any evidence against it? 

How can I best manage or cope with my discomfort in the meantime?

Sufferers may also have dysfunctional beliefs about responsibility. 

Some might believe that “If something bad happens, it’s my fault.”

In reality, the truth is that no matter how much we check and recheck, sometimes bad things happen. 

We can never know for sure what might or might not be our fault.

Misconceptions about OCD

There are several misconceptions about OCD, making it difficult for sufferers to seek help.

Some people may think that OCD is just excessive cleanliness or organization. 

Others may think that OCD is a mild annoyance, not a severe mental health disorder.

It is important to remember that OCD can be a severe mental health disorder that can cause a great deal of distress.

If you are struggling with checking OCD, please reach out for help. 

There is no shame in seeking treatment, and you don’t have to suffer alone.

Other OCD themes in combination with “Checking” OCD

If you struggle with one OCD theme, you may also experience other, or a combination of thems includes:

-Obsessing over cleanliness and germs

-Having intrusive thoughts about harming yourself or others “harm” OCD.

-“Just right” OCD involves having to have things perfect or symmetrical or a feeling of just right.

Support groups for OCD 

If you are struggling with OCD, it can be helpful to join a support group.

There are many online and in-person groups available for people with OCD. 

It can be a great way to meet others who understand what you’re going through and share tips on managing OCD symptoms.

There is hope for “Checking” ​OCD sufferers

Don’t give up hope if you struggle with “checking” OCD. There are many effective treatments available, and you can get better. Seek out a therapist who specializes in OCD treatment and start your journey to recovery.

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