Hoarding is one of the disorders that disrupt the individual’s work and life. It may also bring in other types of problems ranging from family tension, interpersonal difficulties, poor social skills and low self esteem. Fortunately,
there are a number of ways these people can receive hoarding help.
For starters, they can consider workshops on hoarding. Different organizations hold a variety of workshops that will take place in different days and for different durations to help the individuals deal with their hoarding problems. The facilitators will range from professional hoarding experts to non-professionals who may have experienced hoarding disorders. Aside from that, there are also a number of support groups, which will provide the individuals the support they need as they deal with hoarding and problems that arise from it. These support groups are also available online.
Hoarders can also get therapy to help them with the problem. The therapy takes the form of cognitive behaviour therapy that combines a number of features such as elements of motivational interviewing, skills training as well as elements of cognitive therapy for OCD. The therapy will focus on excessive acquisition, difficulty in discarding items as well as disorganization and clutter. It will almost help with information processing, making it easy for the hoarders to make decisions. Emotional attachment to possessions will also be addressed to ensure that they are able to let go some of the possessions they do not need.
Therapy can also take form of group therapy, where hoarders come together to share their experience. Aside from reducing shame and isolation, it can also increase motivation, instil hope and inspire members to talk about their hoarding problems. Some of the factors that can be discussed in such meetings include how hoarding works, how to reduce acquisition of things as well as problem-solving and organizational skills.
Hoarders can also get treatment in terms of medicine such as anti-depressants called SSRIs and a form of CBT known as exposure and response prevention (ERP). However, it is important to know that these medicines may not be effective for every hoarder. Different people react differently to the SSRIs, and some may be need to add a second medicine that may include anti-psychotic medicines. This is mainly caused by the fact that compulsive hoarding is caused by reduced activity at the part of the brain that is connected to the part that controls high-level thinking. Currently, there is ongoing research on different medication combinations that will help in treating hoarding.
While seeking hoarding help, it is important to note that some of the hoarders have worse insight into their symptoms and this may make them avoid treatment. It may also force those who have started treatment to withdraw early or even fail to complete their assignments. Most of them usually accept treatment due to negative consequences secondary to hoarding or if they are threatened with eviction. It is also important for the family and friends to be patient with the hoarders so that they can help them deal with hoarding.