You may have seen the American television show hoarders and thought to yourself how can someone live like this. For those of you who haven’t seen the TV show here is a YouTube link to see what I’m referring to.
Hoarding is prevalent in 2-4% of the U.S. population and has been found to be comorbid(connected to) other mental disorders (Claes et al, 2016). Hoarding is closely related to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) with an estimated 42% reporting a compulsion to hoard (Storch & Lewin, 2016). But OCD is not the only disorder that hoarding is comorbid with.
Hoarding has also been observed with people who are diagnosed with depression, general anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder and people with impulse control issues (Shaw et al, 2015). Since the hoarder usually ends up collecting waste along with the object they hoard, many times their homes cause heath issues to the hoarder as well as the people around them. This has made hoarding a public concern.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has been found to be the most effective way to treat hoarding (Williams & Viscusi, 2016 ). But since hoarding affects the entire family, CBT is most effective when the family becomes involved with controlling the hoarders impulse to hoard. In several cases, hoarders are enabled by their families. This is because in some cases the hoarder is hoarding to mask a bigger issue within themselves.
Hoarding and Bereavement
The onset of hoarding because of family problems is especially true if hoarding is due to the loss of a loved one (Ayers & Dozier, 2015). In my case this is what happened to me after my father passed away.
I just didn't want to throw away anything that reminded me of him.
I started collecting things around the house and even collecting things that reminded me of him. At one point my wife intervened and said we should remodel the house. I grabbed all of the things that were not functioning and threw them away. I did keep a few things, like his two classic cars, but other than that everything else was sold or thrown out. It was hard but the relief it brought was worth it. I also went to grievance counseling and the combination of professional help along with my wife’s support got me through it.
If you or someone you know is having an issue with hoarding here are some tips that you can do that may help.
I can not point out enough the need to work with a professional who has experience working with hoarders and is a licensed psychologist in your state or province.
Best of luck and know that your not alone in your fight
Social Gelo with Angelo
Angelo Ferrer (M.S. Psychology)
Special thanks to 24/7 Waste Removal and Matteo Grader
for providing the infographic.
To learn more about how to deal with a spouse who
hordes check out the following link:
Ayers, C. R., & Dozier, M. E. (2015). Predictors of hoarding severity in older adults with hoarding disorder. International Psychogeriatrics, 27(07), 1147-1156.
Claes, L., Müller, A., & Luyckx, K. (2016). Compulsive buying and hoarding as identity substitutes: The role of materialistic value endorsement and depression. Comprehensive psychiatry, 68, 65-71.
Shaw, A. M., Timpano, K. R., Steketee, G., Tolin, D. F., & Frost, R. O. (2015). Hoarding and emotional reactivity: The link between negative emotional reactions and hoarding symptomatology. Journal of psychiatric research, 63, 84-90.
Storch, E. A., & Lewin, A. B. (2016). Introduction. In Clinical Handbook of Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders (pp. 3-4). Springer International Publishing.
Williams, M., & Viscusi, J. A. (2016). Hoarding Disorder and a Systematic Review of Treatment with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Cognitive behaviour therapy, 45(2), 93-110.