Hoarding

Compulsive hoarding is a disorder characterized by excessive acquiring but unable to throw out a number of items that are useless and invaluable to others such as old newspapers, junk mail, receipts, old broken tools and others. A hoarder’s home becomes full of clutter so much so that the living space cannot serve its purpose anymore. One’s routine daily activities are interfered as well such as bathing, cooking, sleeping and eating.

Compulsive hoarding is often associated with obsessive-compulsive disease, but not all compulsive hoarders manifest symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disease. About 15% of those with obsessive-compulsive disorder say that compulsive hoarding was a primary symptom. Hoarding can also be seen in people with neuropsychiatric disorders. Hoarding is reported to usually begin during the teenage years but does not become noticeable until adulthood. People diagnosed with compulsive hoarding confirm that they have relatives also diagnosed with the same disorder.

Hoarding requires energy in acquiring items. Some would even go to the extent of stealing leading to kleptomania if it worsens. Hoarders often visit garage sales and junk yards. Online purchasing however has become more interesting for hoarders as it spares them the embarrassment of buying a lot of items. People who hoard believe that the items they acquire are very valuable and should be saved because it might come in handy in the future.

Those who love hoarding things are do not want other people to know their condition. They become secretive and embarrassed. Some do not want others to go inside their house. As a result, they interact less and become isolated.

Treatment for hoarding does not exactly cure the person and relieve him or her from the disorder. What it does is it helps manage the symptoms. The hoarding treatment includes psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy. Psychotherapy for hoarding is better known as cognitive-behavioral therapy. The therapist goes to the person’s house and assesses the extent of the hoarding. The therapist then assists the hoarder into realizing the irrationality of what he is doing, assisting him in decision making, helping in the prioritization, organization and categorization of possessions.

During the course of therapy the hoarder will be able to discard useless items and organize the valuable ones. Another type of treatment for hoarding is pharmacotherapy. The medications used are types of antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Although some may respond well to this form of treatment, most do not. However using both psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy in the treatment yields better results.

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