Home Consumer Yes, You’ve Locked The Door: What Drives Your Checking Habit?

Yes, You’ve Locked The Door: What Drives Your Checking Habit?

Most of us have suddenly thought, “Wait — did I actually lock the door?” For some people, this might lead to locking up with more intention next time. But for others, it may be an anxiety disorder. Researchers say it’s all about being afraid of losing control.

I once had a neighbor who checked the door of his flat a dozen times before leaving for work and walked round and round his car as many times when he arrived back home, to make completely sure that everything was right.

I often imagined the terror he must live with all the time, going through imaginary scenarios of break-ins or the car ignition being left on.

This particular case may have been an instance of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), which is a type of anxiety disorder characterized by an uncontrollable checking behavior and recurring, bothersome thoughts.

However, many of us are exposed to sudden bursts of uncertainty. Did we switch off the gas before leaving for our holiday? Worse still, did we leave one of the children behind?

Absent-mindedness and the rush of getting to wherever we need to go can result in these lapses of memory and the sudden shock when we realize that we’re not sure if we did everything we should have.

New research from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, has suggested that such a fear of losing control can result in recurrent checking behavior. This, say the researchers, may be at the core of many anxiety disorders, including OCD.

“We’ve shown that people who believe they’re going to lose control are significantly more likely to exhibit checking behavior with greater frequency,” says study co-author Adam Radomsky.

The scientists hope that the new findings allow them to find better ways of treating OCD and other anxiety disorders at their core.

“[W]hen we treat OCD in the clinic,” Radomsky explains, “we can try to reduce [the patients’] beliefs about losing control and that should reduce their symptoms.”

The researchers’ findings were recently published in the Journal of Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders.

MedicalNewsToday, excerpt posted on SouthFloridaReporter.com, Dec. 18, 2017