People struggling with hoarding disorder have a persistent difficulty in discarding stuff that no longer serves any purpose to them. They keep on collecting items, whether they want them or not, and eventually, their houses and garages are full of such unwanted things.
Some of the classic symptoms of this disorder are:
Excessive acquisition of stuff not required and for which there is no storage space.
Difficulty getting rid of things no longer required.
Building clutter to the point where some rooms cannot be used.
Difficulty in planning and organizing things, and having a tendency to procrastinate.
People struggling with hoarding disorder do not discard anything because:
They believe that the item might be useful in some way or the other sooner or later
They are some way attached to it emotionally
They cannot waste anything
They feel safe when such things are around them
Hoarding is different from collecting. People who collect stamps, coins, etc. usually organize their collection tastefully and display it beautifully. Collecting items does not cause any emotional distress to them, which is associated with hoarding.
Along with the immaterial things, some people also have a tendency to hoard animals. They adopt hundreds of pets and a lot of times, the health and safety of these pets is jeopardized because the owner does not look after them properly.
It has been observed that people struggling with hoarding disorder live alone, are unmarried, had a deprived childhood with limited finances or had grown up in cluttered households with no sense of prioritizing or sorting items.
Hoarding disorder can be treated with a combination of medication and psychotherapy.
Hoarding disorder is a mental illness that is fueled by both psychological and biological factors. As a result, it is imperative that patients grappling with this mental illness get focused treatment services comprising psychotherapies like exposure and response prevention techniques (ERPT) and cognitive behavior therapy (CBT). While the treatment might involve some talking, conventional “talk therapy” is not the standard treatment procedure for hoarding disorder.
The treatment goal is to help people start recognizing the disorganized thinking patterns leading to excessive and unwanted acquisition, either by bringing freebies home, shopping, or foraging through dumpsters or trashcans. It also aims at helping the individual organize and remove what is not required in the home.
While therapies like ERPT would help them begin counterattacking the urge to bring more things, learn to dispose off, and deal with the associated anxiety, CBT would empower an individual to change their thinking patterns about acquiring things.
We also include family members impacted by the mental illness in the treatment intervention so that they understand the illness, what to do, how to handle the triggers and prevent a relapse to ensure lasting recovery.
To learn more about the other mental health services and treatment intervention programs offered, call our 24/7 available helpline (877) 636-0042 and speak with a member from the admissions team. You can also chat online with a representative for further assistance.
Medical Concierge offers quality, innovative and compassionate care for mental illnesses and co-occurring disorders. We also offer alumni services and continuing care to ensure sustained recovery.