Obsessive Doubts and Compulsive Checking

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Did I switch off the light? Did I turn off the gas? Had I locked the room properly before leaving? Did I put the brush in the bag? Did I just cross over the cyclist? Did I complete the work properly?

Do you also have these types of doubts creating anxiety? Do you also have to check the switch, the lock, the door many times to ensure that you have done the work properly? You may or may not be suffering from a serious mental illness called OCD. In this session I will tell you about OCD of doubts or compulsive checking. 

What is OCD?

OCD is an abbreviation for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, this is a mental illness.. It is a mental illness in which a good or evil thought or a reminder comes to our mind repetitively and creates stress, anxiety and an excessive amount of moral emotions like, guilt, shame, fear etc.

There are many examples of it like thinking repetitively if you have closed the door or not if you have changed your ATM pin, what if your dad picks up your girlfriend’s call. Deep inside, you know that this can’t happen, but you can’t stop yourself being afraid or guilty of these things. It is called obsession.

Then you take action to console yourself, you check the door, you take your phone, you ask your wife about the gas. It is called Compulsion. It gives you small satisfaction but the moral emotion or anxiety returns after some time. Combining both terms, we get the name of the illness, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or OCD.

Obsessions of Checking OCD:

Obsession of Religious OCD are simply doubts. They are called pathological doubts. In this particular type of OCD, a patient gets a doubt repetitively in a day that he/she hasn’t done something properly. S/he gets a short glimpse of doing that work but s/he can’t remember it completely that that work was completed. Like they can remember holding the toothbrush in hand but can’t think of putting it in. 

Obsessions of this OCD are mainly centered around happening something wrong to their beloved ones, animal or money because they have done something wrong. It can also be to be ashamed or feeling guilty because of doing something wrong. They just fear that they will make some serious mistake and this fear takes over their mind and they start doubting everything. Like they can think that they have left the drier open and a cat can jump into it and it will die because the drier will rotate automatically. And they are responsible for it. 

These doubts come when you are working on something and they are not related to that thing completely. Like you are working in an office and you get a thought that you might have not turned off the gas. After that s/he gets a horrible thought that because there will be a short-circuit and the kitchen will blow up. S/he knows that this is not going to happen but they can’t stop this thought. So, S/hehas  to call his/her neighbour and check  that it is fine. The office is well-disturbed.

Difference between normal doubts and obsessional doubts:

I have written an article on normal doubts vs obsessional doubts. I want to refer you to read that for that. 

Normal doubts come with reference i.e. they are invoked by something but obsessional doubts are just out of case, they come from nowhere and create anxiety. We have some reason to doubt but in case of obsessional doubts they have no reason to doubt but  the person himself makes faulty reason to doubt.

When we have normal doubts, we believe in what we remember, but in case of obsessional doubts, we have low memory confidence, meaning we don’t believe in what we remember. This is the case, the person knows that he was helding the toothbrush in his hand but he doesn’t believe it. In  normal doubts, we have a stronger sense of subjective conviction but obsession doubts are irrational and don’t have a sense of subjective conviction.

Obsessional or pathological doubts are associated with wrong results which have a very less probability to happen. Sometimes, the person makes the result by some imaginary situation. The patient has very strong beliefs in these results and they become very anxious. 

The compulsion of Checking OCD:

Checking is the most common compulsion of this OCD. When they get an obsessional doubt, they check to ensure that they have done the work properly. Like when studying, a person gets a doubt that he has left the gas open. So he runs towards the kitchen to check and ensure that it is properly off.  

Close inspection is one of the common compulsions. When they get a doubt, they closely inspect things closely to ensure that it is done properly. You may find these people closely checking the lock closely that it is locked properly.  

Sometimes, one check seems insufficient, they have to check again and again but still they don’t become sure. They have to ask someone to ensure that. They ask their partner- ‘You have seen me closing the door, right?’

Some people take photos of locks when they leave the home to deal with the OCD at the office. When it takes over their mind, people start avoiding the responsibilities. They give their secret details like ATM pins to avoid the fear of doing something wrong. 

Treatment of OCD:

It is done by a technique called Exposure Response Prevention Therapy or ERP. In this therapy, the patients are said to do the things that cause OCD or obsession. Then their mind will automatically tell them to do the Compulsion, but they have to control overdoing this. They have to conquer their mind of being stressed by these thoughts. That takes a couple of months to recover.

The other theory is called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT in which the patients are taught to identify the causes of negative thinking and replace them with positive habits by their assertive behaviour.

Meditation is also a powerful technique to recover; in this, we are merely teaching our mind what to think and what not to think. In this, we are controlling our mind to think about the things that cause the OCD.

Hypnotherapy: It is the best option to win the battle with OCD in the present scenario. In this option, you are provided online counselling by our experts. If you want to have an online session with our experts, you can contact us.

We give counseling for anxiety, Phobia, Panic attacks, OCD, Depression, etc….

You can take counselling sessions on parenting and relationships also.

For any query, you can contact us on:

9468307000, 7494869711, 8053770007

Thank You for Reading.

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