The Problem with Hoarding Disorder

Hoarding disorder, or disposophobia, may be considered a type of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Hoarding disorder, also known as pathological collecting, is an illness wherein a person saves a large number of items of no value without thinking of ever discarding them. The homes of people with hoarding disorder are usually chaotic and filled to the brim with clutter.

Hoarding disorder may be a symptom of obsessive-compulsive disorder and lot of other diseases. This however is found in most people with obsessive-compulsive disorder. What is hoarding? Hoarding is an irresistible impulse to acquire items through compulsive shopping, collecting and obtaining free items. A hoarding disorder may come from poor decision making over what items to keep or discard.

The hoarder simply cannot decide and prefer not to decide so everything is kept. They also have difficulty in organization and categorization so all things are scattered and cluttered. Because of this the hoarder becomes distressed and confused affecting his or her way of functioning. A hoarder also has limited or no social connections. This is probably because of a fear of embarrassment of the state of living of the hoarder.

Hoarding according to research is more common in males than in females. The onset is at an earlier age but become more noticeable once they are adults. Abnormal grooming behaviors may be noted among hoarders. These include nail biting, skin picking and trichotillomania or compulsive-hair pulling.

One difficult part in diagnosing a hoarding disorder is that hoarders often do not see anything wrong with what they are doing. What they are doing for them is but natural. Medical professionals become involved only mostly because of concerned family members, neighbors or friends.

Hoarders have very little or no idea that their condition could eventually worsen and pose health and safety risks to their selves, to those who live with them and even their neighbors. Oblivious to their surroundings and to what others may say about them, they think their actions are acceptable and sensible.

There are various treatments for hoarding disorder. These treatments include cognitive-behavioral therapy and pharmacotherapy. Cognitive-behavioral therapy entails the therapist to come to the hoarder’s house and observe the severity of the situation.

Through this, the therapist would be able to help with decision making skills and organization. Medications for this disorder include antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.  However, patients with hoarding disorder seem to be less responsive with these types of treatments. Hoarders tend to become more anxious, depressed and socially impaired.

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