Ask the average doctor and they will tell you chances are slim a patient will arrive and say ‘hey doc I think I have hoarding disorder’. That because hoarding is not a problem for people who hoard. Therefore treating hoarding disorder often begins with someone suspecting a different problem.
Curved Balls that May Lead to Treating Hoarding Disorder
Psychologists at Mayo Clinic say doctors are more likely to refer patients they believe have anxiety or depression. However, a skilled professional will be on watch for compulsive hoarding and may follow this procedure.
A Common Method for Diagnosing Hoarding Signs
1… Ask questions about habits of acquiring, collecting and keeping things. This is in addition to a general evaluation of well-being
2… Ask permission to chat with friends and relatives. If possible, obtain pictures or videos of the patient’s living space
3…. Ask questions about their lifestyle, aiming to acquire information that may lead to a diagnosis of a different compulsive disorder
4… If the above indicates compulsive hoarding disorder, confirm with a test. Look to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the Mental Disorders Association.
What’s the Best Treatment Method for the Condition?
If these tests confirm hoarding disorder is present, then the next step is convincing the patient they do need help. This is true if they have a flock of non-prescribed ‘emotional support animals’ that relieve an underlying tension.
The most appropriate approach is often ‘talk therapy’. This is where a psychologist and patient chat informally about the emotional drivers supporting the hoarding behaviour. They may also prescribe medication to help manage anxiety and / or depression while treating hoarding disorder itself.
Personal Growth Points That May Accrue for Patients
1… Uncover and question beliefs and thoughts encouraging acquiring and saving things
2… Gain inner strengths to stop doing this, and decide which types of things to get rid of with professional assistance
3… Improve the likelihood of actually doing this by asking a professional to help during clinical visits at home
4… Break away from social isolation by starting new activities that require group participation
5…. Discover the benefits of talk therapy and continue with the treatment. Extend this to family / group therapy with people who understand and care.
For the above to be effective, family, friends and support agencies must assist the hoarder to gradually declutter their home. Treating hoarding disorder involves returning the patient to a supportive community, especially in the case of elderly people.
A Special Instance: Children with Compulsive Hoarding Disorder
There are no specific approved medications for youngsters displaying early signs according to Mayo Clinic, although some doctors prescribe selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.
The onset of compulsive hoarding is gradual. It may only be diagnosed after it becomes an entrenched part of personality. The best way to help these special people does not involve forcing them to do something.
Instead, as is the case with depressed people we should rather strive to help them live successfully with their disorder, because they are simply happier that way.