Newsletter Archive

Treatment for Hoarding Disorder

Just cleaning out the clutter doesn’t address the underlying problems. Despite the ongoing debate regarding the causes of hoarding, there is no question that therapy is necessary. Treatment begins with the person acknowledging and understanding compulsions that fuel hoarding disorder.
The reasons for hoarding differ depending on the person. Treatment is challenging because people who hoard do not realize their behavior is a problem. Although hoarders may be ashamed of the condition in their homes, there may be resistance to treatment because they think it will involve simply cleaning out the clutter. Hoarding typically leads to social isolation from family members. Involving family in the therapeutic process appears to contribute to improvement of the disorder. Like an addiction, hoarding is a family disease; everyone is affected and each family member needs to be educated about it. Families need to understand that hoarding is a disorder and the treatment process is long. Addressing support and validation concerning the anger and hurt that family members feel is an important step. The therapist should make sure the family understands that without their support and help, the hoarder is unlikely to get better, only progressively worse.
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