Treatment and Help for Hoarders

English: compulsive hoarding effects

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Compulsive hoarders are people afflicted with a type of obsessive compulsive disorder in which individuals cannot control the impulse to accumulate things even if they are not necessary.  Compulsive hoarding is a common psychological problem and can possibly cause impairment in judgment leading to excessive clutter.  Hoarding becomes a disabling problem when one’s house or living space cannot be used for its intended purpose.

According to research, compulsive hoarding may be related to social anxiety, depression and other impulse control disorders.  People who are compulsive hoarders may have difficulty identifying which things are valuable.  They also have trouble organizing their things.  Instead of dealing with it by discarding what is not needed, they may simply give up and let the things accumulate.  Hoarders also have a strong sense of attachment to the things that they have.  Seeking help for hoarders is possible with the right treatment and therapy.

 Therapy Sessions

Through therapy sessions, compulsive hoarders are made to participate in activities that will address the impulse to hoard.  Hoarders may be asked to sort or organize their things.  During the sorting activities, the therapist will process the beliefs that the hoarder may have about possessions.  It should be emphasized by the therapist that the help for hoarders should be a collaborative effort.  The hoarder should also be willing to change his or her ways.  Through a sorting exercise, this can also be an opportunity for practicing the patient’s skills in organizing and proper decision-making.

Another way of help for hoarders is the reduction of clutter in the hoarder’s home.  This is one of the goals of hoarding treatment for compulsive hoarding.  The hoarder is advised to examine the things around his home and start separating those that are not being used.


Medication is another option in seeking help for hoarders.  Many compulsive hoarders are prescribed with the same medication for treating obsessive-compulsive disorders.  Although medication cannot cure compulsive hoarding, it can help hoarders manage the impulse to hoard.  Medication can only reduce the feelings of anxiety, depression and other emotions associated with compulsive hoarding.

 When Help is Denied

Seeking help for hoarders can become a problem if the hoarders themselves deny that they have a problem.  The refusal of treatment is a sign of denial of reality.  Even if hoarders are consciously aware of the clutter inside their homes, they may not view it as a problem unlike other members of the household.  In this case, it is the responsibility of family members to seek help for hoarders.  It is important to have a serious conversation about the hoarding problem to let hoarders know that the excessive clutter is making life difficult for the rest of the family.  Convincing loved ones who are hoarders may prove to be challenging but family members should do what they can since getting treatment is in everyone’s best interest.  Compulsive hoarding is a common problem that can affect anyone in any age.  There is no known cure for compulsive hoarders but there are many ways to manage the feelings associated with the hoarding compulsion.

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