Monday, March 29, 2010

Hoarding is different from obsessive disorders

By Arlene Miles

Are hoarders simply extremely messy people who have no regard for their personal environments?

That's not the case, health professionals say. Hoarders, in the simplest sense, are addicts.

"This is a process addiction," said Moe Ross, co-director of Northwest Community Counseling Services with offices in West Dundee, Crystal Lake, and Woodstock. "It's a thinking disorder that's in the same category as sexual addiction, gambling, video games, and shopping."

Ross says any individual who has a habit that creates a problem in his or her life but continues to do it anyway is suffering from an addiction. Yet treatment for hoarders is different from typical psychological models for other disorders, such as obsessive compulsiveness.

A hoarder is typically someone who has relationship issues. They begin to have a relationship with the items they hoard, as well as the process of obtaining and hoarding the items themselves. This is one reason why hoarders often backslide if they don't have some type of ongoing support...." More