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Person Repeatedly Checking a Light Switch

Checking OCD

Person Repeatedly Checking a Light Switch

Did I Lock the Door? Overcoming OCD Checking Compulsions

Checking OCD involves a compulsion to repeatedly verify things like doors, appliances, or emails to prevent perceived dangers. Driven by persistent doubt and fear of negligence, this behavior can be very time-consuming and significantly disrupt daily life.

What is Checking OCD?

For someone with Checking OCD, everyday tasks that most people complete without a second thought become sources of significant stress and anxiety. This disorder compels individuals to check repeatedly, often following specific rituals or counts, to alleviate the intense anxiety about potential disasters such as fires, burglaries, or other catastrophes. Despite these checks, the relief is often temporary, as the doubt quickly returns, prompting another cycle of checking. This repetitive behavior can disrupt work, social activities, and personal relationships, as the need to check can be overwhelming and intrusive.

The impact of Checking OCD goes beyond mere inconvenience. It can dominate an individual’s life, making it difficult to focus on anything else. The compulsive need to check and recheck can lead to significant delays in completing tasks, contribute to lateness, and cause distress in situations where the individual cannot perform their checking rituals. The chronic anxiety associated with this OCD subtype can also lead to exhaustion, depression, and isolation, as individuals may avoid situations or responsibilities that trigger their compulsions.

Symptoms & Diagnosis of Checking OCD


  • Compulsive need to repeatedly check items such as locks, stoves, and switches.
  • Persistent doubt about the safety or correctness of actions performed.
  • Excessive worry about preventing damage, accidents, or harm to others.

Diagnostic Criteria

  • The compulsions cause significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
  • The repetitive behaviors are time-consuming and are not realistically able to prevent the feared outcomes.

Impact on Daily Life & Emotional Well-being

Individuals with Checking OCD often experience a significant reduction in their quality of life. The disorder can consume hours daily, limiting time available for essential activities or leisure, which can strain relationships and decrease job performance. The constant stress from the need to perform checks can lead to anxiety and fatigue, impacting overall health and well-being. Furthermore, the continual doubt and the need for reassurance can lead to feelings of helplessness and depression, as individuals struggle with the awareness that their fears are irrational yet feel unable to control their actions.

Treatment Options for Checking OCD

Effective treatment for Checking OCD typically involves a combination of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP). These therapies aim to help individuals confront their fears without performing compulsive behaviors, thereby reducing the urge to check:

Treatment Modalities

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): Helps clients identify and modify distorted beliefs that contribute to compulsive checking.
  • Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP): Involves deliberate exposure to the anxiety-provoking situation (like leaving a door unlocked) and refraining from the compulsion to check, under controlled conditions to safely teach the sufferer that no harm will occur.

Coping Strategies & Self-help Tips

  • Scheduled Checking: Limit checks to specific times to gradually reduce frequency, helping to manage anxiety without constant reassurance.
  • Distraction Techniques: Engage in activities that occupy the mind and reduce the urge to check, such as physical exercise or creative hobbies.
  • Mindfulness Practices: Incorporate mindfulness to stay present and reduce the compulsion to check by focusing on the here and now.
  • Cognitive Restructuring: Work with a therapist to challenge the irrational beliefs that fuel the need to check and reassess the actual risks involved.

Bethesda Therapy’s Dedication to Specialized Checking OCD Treatment

Local Resources in Maryland, DC, & Virginia

Bethesda Therapy offers specialized treatments for Checking OCD, with access to experienced therapists and support groups that provide tailored strategies and peer insights to combat the compulsive behaviors associated with this disorder. Our workshops and community support initiatives enhance understanding and effective management of OCD symptoms.

Bethesda Therapy’s Dedication to Overcoming Checking OCD

We are committed to delivering comprehensive, evidence-based treatment plans for those struggling with Checking OCD. By integrating cutting-edge therapeutic techniques with compassionate care, we help our clients reduce compulsive behaviors and enhance their ability to cope with anxiety, ensuring a return to a more productive and less burdensome life.

Strengthening Resilience Against OCD

At Bethesda Therapy, we focus not just on treating the symptoms but also on building resilience and confidence in our clients. This includes teaching skills that enhance stress management, improving problem-solving abilities, and fostering a supportive network that empowers individuals to handle life’s challenges without reverting to compulsive checking.

Seek Help and Regain Control

If Checking OCD is affecting your life, reach out to Bethesda Therapy. We provide expert guidance and support to help you overcome the compulsions associated with Checking OCD. Our team is committed to helping you regain control and lead a more balanced, fulfilling life.

Getting Started with Bethesda Therapy

We understand that seeking help can be a big step, but remember, you’re not alone. We’re here to support and guide you on your journey towards a more manageable life. Scheduling a consultation with us is straightforward and the first step towards recovery. Reach out to us either by phoneemail or our website form to book your appointment. Be assured, your confidentiality is our top priority, and we’re committed to providing you with the highest level of care. Take that first step today – we look forward to assisting you.

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What Colleagues Say About Us

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Rose Bleiweis


Melissa is determined, hard-working, and provides a range of therapeutic interventions. She is committed to professional development to further her clinical skills.

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Melissa’s skillset was empowering to work with. She is professional and supportive. Melissa is a fantastic therapist who I cannot recommend enough!
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Beth Cocker


Melissa Murphy is a wonderful therapist. She is kind, non-judgmental and empathetic. She truly understands her client’s needs and takes into account the whole-person. I do not hesitate to refer clients to Melissa and enjoy collaborating with her on cases. She is an excellent therapist with expertise in anxiety, depression, and OCD.

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