Hoarding disorder

People with hoarding disorder excessively save items that others may view as worthless and have persistent difficulty getting rid of or parting with possessions, leading to clutter that disrupts their ability to use their living or work spaces. Hoarding is not the same as collecting; collectors look for specific items, such as model cars or stamps, and may organize or display them.  People with hoarding disorder often save random items and store them haphazardly. In most cases, people save items that they feel they may need in the future, are valuable, or have sentimental value; some may also feel safer surrounded by the things they save. Hoarding disorder occurs in an estimated 2%-5% of the population and often leads to substantial distress and disability. Hoarding disorder is now a recognised condition in the DSM V.

In an assessment session, you will be encouraged to look at your problems and develop goals as well as developing a shared understanding of your problems .A plan will be developed collaboratively with an estimated number of sessions together with a review date, should this be appropriate. Further CBT sessions involve setting an agenda for the sessions, summaries to check understanding and homework tasks to help to facilitate changes. This may involve keeping records of thoughts or activities or it may involve doing things differently to observe the outcomes, developing hierarchies to deal with the clutter and beliefs and emotional attachments surrounding your possessions. At the end of each session there is an opportunity for feedback and to raise any difficulties. Some of the therapy sessions will involve the therapist visiting your home and working within your environment to deal with some of your difficulties.

The NICE guidelines for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder published by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence include guidelines for those with hoarding disorder, and outline evidence based treatment recommendations. CBT is the suggested approach together with medication in more severe cases.

It is important to seek help from your GP or a mental health professional should you experience symptoms or think you may suffer from hoarding disorder to enable you to access the help that you need.

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