Monday, August 10, 2009

Hoarding and Intervention

Helping Hoarders Get Treatment

Anxiety Disorders Association of America

Fugen Neziroglu, Ph.D., ABBP, ADAA Member
Estee Acobas, M.A.
Bio-Behavioral Institute
Great Neck, New York

Lisa loves to entertain, but she’s married to Mike, who is a hoarder. Newspapers and magazines cover every room in their house so they can barely get to the kitchen and can never reach the couch. Lisa hasn’t invited company in eight years because she is too embarrassed by the clutter. Their 8-year-old daughter begs to visit her friends because she isn’t allowed to have anyone over—and even if she were, they wouldn’t have enough room to play. Lisa tries to clean up when Mike isn’t home, but her efforts are fruitless. When he discovers what she has done, he becomes very upset and angry. He grows even more possessive and his hoarding gets worse. Despite Lisa’s desperate pleas and threats, Mike refuses to get help....

What Is Hoarding?

Hoarding is the compulsive purchasing, acquiring, searching, and saving of items that have little or no value. The behavior usually has deleterious effects—emotional, physical, social, financial, and even legal—for a hoarder and family members.

Read more about hoarding, including details about symptoms and treatments.

The Effects of Hoarding on Family

Hoarders tend to experience some sense of satisfaction from their excessive possessions, but family members experience only the negative aspects of the clutter. Hoarding reduces functional living space and infringes on the ability to live comfortably and orderly. Children have less room to play, and older children and spouses are embarrassed to invite guests, which affects their socialization. Safety is compromised as floor space shrinks, piles grow, and some areas become inaccessible; fire hazard is a real concern..." More