According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness
(NAMI), up to five percent of people show signs of clinically diagnosable hoarding disorder but 1 in every 20 people may be affected by this disorder in less severe form.
These people's lives, relationships, and even their health are severely affected by their compulsive need to collect objects, animals or even trash.
What is hoarding?
The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders DSM-5) states that hoarding disorder refers to difficulty disregarding from possessions regardless of their actual value.
Many hoarders also engage in persistent acquisition of objects or animals.
In order to be diagnosed with hoarding disorder, a person's life must be seriously affected by this habit.
Symptoms of hoarding
As per DSM-5, person can be called a hoarder if they show the following signs:
- They have problems in throwing away items that are no longer required
- They feel distressed if they have to part with their possessions
- Their living conditions are affected as a result and can become uninhabitable or even unsafe
- Their relationships are impared because of their habit
About 25 percent
of people with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) are also diagnosed with hoarding disorder. Other common co-occurring diagnosis with hoarding disorder include:
- Substance use disorder
Difference between Hoarding Disorder and OCD
At first glance it may seem that Hoarding Disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) are quite similar, since people diagnosed with either one of these disorders have obsessions, and compulsions alongside the evident symptoms of hoarding.
Yet, people diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder often have repeated, intrusive thoughts that they want to get rid of, while people with hoarding disorder usually welcome the thoughts that are related to keeping or acquiring objects.
People with obsessive-compulsive disorder also typically perform various rituals in attempts to vanquish their unwanted thoughts or to prevent some kind of catastrophic events from happening.
In hoarding disorder, however, the patient does not engage in such rituals because for them their thoughts and behaviors are enjoyable.
It is the discarding of an object, rather than thought that causes stress for people with hoarding disorder.
Also, unlike people with obsessive-compulsive disorder, patients diagnosed with hoarding disorder seldom show insight into their condition.
Reasons for Hoarding
Why do hoarders hoard?
According to Dr. Frost
and colleagues, the reasons for hoarding are not fully understood, but hoarders often carry strong beliefs about the sentimental, or instrumental value that the objects that they possess have, despite the fact that other people seldom share their beliefs.
Sometimes a hoarder anthropomorphizes the possession, thinking that they somehow “hurt the feelings” of the possession if they throw it away. Other motives include believing that the possessions might become “handy” later on, and many worry that by discarding an item they also lose a memory related to it.
Contrary to what people often think, hoarders have not typically experienced extreme poverty or material deprivation, and they seldom focus on money.
Yet, going by the psychology of hoarding, many still think that throwing things away is “wasteful”.
Types of Hoarding
Compulsive hoarders may tend to specialize in collecting particular kinds of objects. These might include:
And many other things.
People with severe hoarding disorder may even hoard garbage or human or animal waste products.
Who Struggles with Hoarding Behavior?
Although the personality traits and demographics of compulsive hoarding vary, people diagnosed with hoarding tend to carry certain characteristics.
- Hoarders typically have a family member who is also diagnosed with this disorder.
- They tend to live alone and are frequently obese or overweight.
- They are also frequently perfectionistic.
Although hoarding can begin in childhood already, it usually becomes severe after a traumatic event such as rape, loss of employment, or a divorce in adulthood.
People above 55 years of age are most commonly affected by this disorder and the older a person gets the more severe his hoarding behavior typically gets as well.
Hoarding Therapists in Popular Cities
Treatment for Hoarding Disorder
After diagnosis of hoarding takes place, for those looking at how to treat hoarding without seeking in-person hoarding counseling, there are options of self help for hoarders. To understand the psychological effects of hoarding, reach a hoarding diagnosis and overcome hoarding issues, check out this online resource
Learn more about the psychology of hoarding, how to prevent hoarding, actively participate in hoarder support groups and get treatment for hoarding. All of this without going to hoarding treatment centers.
For those willing to seek help from hoarders therapists in person, it’s best to lookup on the internet for hoarding help near me or hoarding therapist near me. Psychotherapy or hoarding therapy is the primary treatment of Hoarding Disorder.
- Hoarding Disorder focused cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has been shown to be highly effective in treating this disorder.
- Patients learn new coping- and decision-making skills, besides getting the required help with hoarding.
In this therapy, people with hoarding disorder learn to identify and change the false beliefs that they have related to acquiring and keeping objects or animals.
For example, they might learn to accept that throwing away an item that used to belong to their late relative is not going to upset or disrespect this person who is nor more.
In therapy, a person with hoarding disorder might also learn to resist the urge to collect more objects and to come up with a plan to discard some of the items he poses.
Therapist might make occasional home visits during which they together declutter and throw away some objects.
Family therapy is also an effective treatment option because family members can be of great assistance in making sure that the person with hoarding disorder follows the treatment plan.
Yet, having a loved one with this disorder can be quite stressful, and family therapy is often also needed to give support for the family members affected by hoarding.
Children with hoarding disorder also greatly benefit from being treated in a family therapy session because their parents commonly hold incorrect beliefs thinking, for example, that allowing their child to get and keep countless objects keeps them from being anxious.
In actuality, the opposite is typically the case.
Since many people with hoarding disorder tend to be socially isolated, many patients also benefited from group therapy that is led by a mental health professional or self-help groups that are functioning like a 12-steps program without a mental health facilitator.
People with hoarding disorder very seldom seek treatment for this problem.
As a matter of fact they typically try to hide this problem from other people and frequently end up isolating themselves from other people. The most common reason that people with hoarding disorder typically seek for treatment are their co-occurring problems such as depression
Hoarding Therapists in united states
Medicines for Compulsive Hoarding Disorders
There are currently no medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat hoarding disorder but recent studies have demonstrated that venlafaxine and paroxetine
might ease some of the symptoms seen in people with hoarding disorder.
Since many people with this disorder have also been diagnosed with other disorders such as anxiety and depression, people with hoarding disorder are most commonly treated with antidepressant called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors
For help, you can search online for hoarding therapist near me to find details about counselors, social workers and therapists who specialize in proper diagnosis and treatment of this disorder.