Hoarding Treatment Methods for Compulsive Hoarders


English: Photo of the living room of a compuls...

English: Photo of the living room of a compulsive hoarder (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Compulsive hoarding is a serious condition than what most people think. You might have a grandmother or neighbor who is known to collect the strangest and weirdest objects, which have no significant monetary value. Hoarding should not be mistaken for taking up too much closet space with several pairs of shoes leaving  your spouse with little or no closet space; hoarders often find themselves in a rut after piling up too many items in their homes making it difficult to freely move around the space. There are hoarding treatment methods available for compulsive hoarders, but it is important to understand what cause the condition in order to effectively treat it.

What causes hoarding

Hoarding has been linked to emotional and psychological problems going back to the victim’s early childhood years. However, it cannot be said that hoarding is a condition which only affects those who were neglected as children; hoarding has also been proven to be an inherited habit. Children of hoarders pick up the unhealthy habit from their parents and they are likely to go on and become hoarders as adults. OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) sufferers are also known to suffer from hoarding, but this does not mean that all hoarders suffer from OCD. The one thing that is clear is that hoarding affects the emotions, behavior and thoughts of the victim.

The symptoms of hoarding

Hoarders often reflect certain characteristics which point out to their affliction. The obvious sign is keeping a lot of items which cannot be contained within the available space whether in the house or at the office. These items sadly don’t have any significant or monetary value to the hoarder and end up over running their lives. Hoarders act according to their emotions and when any unfavorable changes occur in their lives they are compelled to add on to the items which clutter their lives. In this sense, hoarders develop an emotional attachment to the items they collect and cannot imagine losing them. In their minds, losing the items they hoard is like losing a part of themselves. That is why it is difficult to get hoarders to get rid of their clutter, because most develop an attachment to the items they hoard akin to the attachment a mother has to her child.

Hoarding treatment methods

Hoarding treatment is a gradual process which takes time, effort and patience. Just like with any other form of addiction, the first step to treating a hording disorder is to acknowledge that there is a problem. Due to the attachment hoarders have to their clutter, getting them to acknowledge that they have a problem could be the most difficult part of the hording treatment process. However, this can be done through the help of close family members particularly children who are known to reach out to their parents and point out such problems. In the case of severe hoarding or hording linked with OCD, the help of a professional goes a long way to help such individuals deal with their problems. Sometimes it takes a combination of prescribed drugs and therapy sessions to help a hoarder kick the unhealthy habit. HoaIn


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  1. Hoarding Disorder is likely to be a stand-alone mental health diagnosis from next year.

    I help people all over the world declutter and create homes they love (I provide a free masterclass at http://www.mygreenandtidylife.co.uk) and I hope that this change will encourage more, and more appropriate/targeted, research into the condition and treatments/interventions for it.

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