Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Choices: Strategies for overcoming hoarding behavior

Last week I discussed the concept of hoarding, sharing that behavioral professionals now believe that hoarding is a type of obsession compulsive disorder (OCD). It is a serious and complex condition that gets worse with age. Like any disorder, the first step toward recovery is that the person suffering from it must get out of denial and admit that they do have a problem. This is usually the most difficult step toward any recovery.

To help suffers and their families begin to come to terms with the hoarder’s problem, David Tolin, the director of the Anxiety Disorder Center at Hartford Hospital, has developed a “Hoarding Rating Scale.” The scale asks respondents to rate questions on a scale from zero to 8 (0 equals “no difficulty” and 8 being “extremely difficult”).

In one, he asks, “To what extent do you experience impairment in your life (daily routine, job/school, social activities, family activities, financial difficulties) because of clutter, difficulty discarding, or problems with buying or acquiring things?”

The problem I have with the hoarding scale is that people with any disorder will not answer the questions truthfully. Not because they are dishonest, but because they can’t see their problem. The difficulty in seeing one’s own problem is why I am a big advocate of intervention therapy..." More

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