Hoarding: Understanding the Disorder and How to Help
Learn about the symptoms, causes, and treatment options for hoarding disorder, a complex psychiatric condition that affects millions of people worldwide.
Understanding Hoarding Disorder - What Is It Exactly?
Hoarding is a complex psychological disorder that affects millions of people around the world. It is characterized by a persistent difficulty in discarding or parting with possessions, regardless of their actual value. Hoarding can lead to a buildup of clutter and an inability to use living spaces for their intended purposes. It can also pose serious health and safety risks for those living in the hoarded environment.
People who have hoarding disorder experience extreme distress when they get rid of their stuff or things due to their strong urge to save them. The good news is, hoarding disorder is treatable. With the right program and regular, consistent session recovery is possible for this condition.
What Are the Symptoms of Hoarding Disorder
Hoarding Disorder is a recognized psychiatric condition that often co-occurs with other mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). It is estimated that up to 5% of the population may experience some level of hoarding behavior.
Below are some of the most common and recognizable symptoms of hoarding disorder:
Difficulty throwing away items
Accumulation of clutter that interferes with the use of living spaces
Distress or impairment caused by hoarding
Persistent difficulty in organizing possessions
Shame or embarrassment about the hoarding behavior
There are many possible causes of hoarding, including genetics, traumatic experiences, and environmental factors. The disorder may also be linked to brain abnormalities that affect decision-making and emotional regulation.
What Causes of Hoarding Disorder?
Experts have yet to find out the primary cause of hoarding. However, they have managed to identify some information and findings that are likely connected to the cause of this condition. In a study, they note that the development of hoarding may be caused by a variety of factors including genetics, traumatic experiences, and environmental factors. The disorder may also be linked to brain abnormalities that affect decision-making and emotional regulation.
Additionally, they suggested that hoarding may exist on its own and may also be an implication of another mental disorder. Regardless of the cause, early intervention and proper diagnosis is necessary to help those who are suffering from this condition get better.
How Do You Treat Hoarding?
Hoarding disorder typically involves a combination of therapy and medication. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is often used to help individuals challenge their hoarding behaviors and develop new coping skills. Medications such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may also be prescribed to help manage associated symptoms of depression and anxiety.
It is important to approach hoarding disorder with compassion and understanding, as it can be a deeply distressing and isolating experience for those who suffer from it. Loved ones and caregivers can help by offering support and encouragement, and by connecting individuals with appropriate mental health resources.
If you or someone you know is struggling with hoarding disorder, it is important to seek professional help as soon as possible. With the right treatment and support, individuals with hoarding disorder can learn to manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life.
- What is hoarding disorder (no date) Psychiatry.org - What is Hoarding Disorder. Available at: https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/hoarding-disorder/what-is-hoarding-disorder#section_2.
- professional, C.C. medical (no date) Hoarding disorder: What it is, causes, symptoms & treatment, Cleveland Clinic. Available at: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/17682-hoarding-disorder#symptoms-and-causes.
- Hoarding: The basics (no date) Hoarding: The Basics | Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA. Available at: https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd/hoarding-basics.
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