My Divine Concierge is fortunate to be able to use our organization expertise to help resolve hoarding issues. While we are neither psychologists nor psychiatrists, we do work with other professionals to help individuals and their families to get a handle on hoarding. It is never easy, but always worth it.
It has been our experience that many people involved in a hoarding scenario, both hoarders and their family members, do not really understand the root causes of what is happening around them. The job of the mental health professional is to help them come to terms with those underlying causes; our job is to help clean up, organize and, where appropriate, dispose of excess possessions.
We would be happy to come alongside your family to help resolve a hoarding issue. In light of that, here are five things you might not know about hoarding:
1. A Genuine Psychological Disorder
Clinically diagnosed hoarding is not the same thing as being an avid collector or a pack rat. A diagnosed hoarder suffers from a psychological disorder that is very similar to obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Some mental health professionals consider hoarding to be an extension or form of OCD rather than a separate condition. It is interesting to note that as many as 42% of those diagnosed with OCD also display at least some compulsion to hoard.
2. More Common Than Most People Know
According to researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, compulsive hoarding affects anywhere from 700,000 to 1.4 million people in the U.S. While that is just a small percentage compared to the entire U.S. population, it is still no small number. It is likely that someone you have known at some point in your life has experienced a compulsion to hoard. Most of us are able to control any such compulsions, but others struggle.
3. Fear of Making Decisionshoa
One of the reasons hoarders find it so difficult to clear out the clutter is that they face an overwhelming fear of making decisions. They fear they may throw away something they will need down the road, or they fear not keeping something that would otherwise enable them to respond to someone else’s need. Fear paralyzes them to the point where they cannot decide what to keep and what to dispose of. Such decisions are the kinds of things we help with.
4. Lack of Recognition
You probably already know that hoarders usually do not recognize they have a problem. What you might not know is that they also do not realize how cluttered their houses have actually become. In the mind of a hoarder, a 2-foot walkway between stacks of possessions is plenty of space to move quickly and safely from room to room. Because they do not recognize their real lack of space, they also do not recognize the safety hazards present in their homes.
5. Medication Not Always Best
Lastly, modern psychology and psychiatry are slowly but surely moving away from the idea of medicating those suffering from compulsive hoarding. The medical community is discovering alternative therapies known to be just as effective. One example is a therapy called cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). It is a therapy that has been used successfully to treat a broad range of mental illnesses and addiction issues. It seems to work well for compulsive hoarding in many patients.
My Divine Concierge is not qualified to deal with the mental and emotional aspects of hoarding. However, we can help you or your family clean and de-clutter. Do not hesitate to contact us if you need assistance with the physical aspects of hoarding resolution. We will be happy to work with you.