What Is Hoarding?

Hoarding is the persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions regardless of their actual value.

Among common items that are hoarded: newspapers, magazines, paper and plastic bags, cardboard boxes, photographs, household supplies, food and clothing.

Hoarding can be related to compulsive shopping, compulsive acquisition of free items, compulsive search for unique items which may not appear unique to others (ex: an old jar)

What Are Symptoms of Hoarding?

Symptoms of hoarding include:

-inability to throw away possessions

-anxiety when attempting to discard items

-difficulty categorizing or organizing possessions

-suspicion of other people touching their possessions

-obsessive thoughts or actions: fear of running out of an item or needing an item in the future

-loss of living space, social isolation, marital strain, financial difficulties and health hazards

Hoarding Treatments:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT):

-Suggested to treat Hoarding

-It is one of the few forms of psychotherapy that has been found to be effective in hundreds of clinical trials for various disorders

-Focuses more on the present

-More time-limited

-More problem-solving oriented

-More importantly, patients learn specific skills that can be used for the rest of their lives

Such as:

-Identifying distorted thinking

-Modifying beliefs

-Relating to others in different ways

-Changing behaviors

In this case—hoarding:

-It helps a hoarding patient to:

-Make more reasonable judgments when deciding if an object is worthy of keeping or not

-Learn how to make quick decisions on whether to keep an object or toss it

-Practice discarding items while sorting through the intense emotions they trigger

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