Compulsive hoarding is a common subtype of an obsessive-compulsive disorder. Many people are guilty of compulsive hoarding. Hoarders may be compared to pack rats that collect and save things until they accumulate in number. The effects of being a hoarder go beyond the overstuffed room or home. Hoarding becomes a serious problem once the ability of the hoarder to function is affected.
When Hoarding Becomes a Problem
It’s normal for people to acquire or collect things they don’t really need. Some take advantage of huge discounts or clearance sales to save on the cost of the things they want. They may end up buying items in doubles thinking they are saving money in the long run. This is considered normal behavior. Those hoarders who can no longer do normal things like cooking food in their own homes or sleep comfortably are endangering their safety as well as those living with them. When hoarders become a threat to other people, this is the time to seriously consider options for treatment and recovery.
Why a Hoarder Hoards
According to expert psychologists, compulsive hoarders tend to have an emotional attachment to the things that they acquire even though they are trivial in reality. They have difficulty in letting go of things that should be thrown away. As a result, things are left to accumulate as hoarders slowly fill the spaces in their homes. Compulsive hoarders have a different point of view since they see intrinsic value in the things they collect. To others, those objects may be trash but to a hoarder, they’re valuable like treasure.
A compulsive hoarder usually assumes that the items they collect will prove to be useful someday. Compulsive hoarders experience emotional stress or anxiety when they think about throwing the things they have acquired. To relieve the stress, hoarders acquire more things to make themselves feel better again.
Strategies for Treatment
Most hoarders are not aware that their behavior is turning into a serious problem. They don’t seek out treatment even if the people around encourage them to get help. In some cases, compulsive hoarders seek professional help due to family pressure. Most of the time, it’s the family members that look for ways to help their loved one.
It is important to remember that a clean house or living space is only the first step to the transformation process. Compulsive hoarders may go back to their old ways if treatment and therapy is not sustained. Things might slowly pile up again if the treatment plans are not supported by loved ones. One of the popular methods to help a compulsive hoarder is to cognitive behavioral therapy. A therapist will work with the hoarder and teach him how to make reasonable decisions when they see an object. Activities like organizing, sorting and discarding can also help train the hoarder about keeping clutter away.
A hoarder will change his ways with the help of family, friends and therapists. Treatment can be challenging since significant improvements do not happen overnight. Once hoarders will get used to the idea of discarding objects and putting things in perspective before buying on an impulse, compulsive hoarding will be reduced.