Rehabilitation Options

Hoarding Rehab Options

Hoarding may be a relatively new term to many Americans, but for the family members and loved ones of the nearly two million hoarders in this country, it is a way of life. This disorder leads to toxic living environments that essentially turn dwellers into prisoners of their own “stuff.”

Pathological hoarding is defined by the excessive collecting of items of little to no value that clutter one’s living environment to such an extent that no viable living space can be utilized.

Hoarders also usually have major issues with their work and social lives.

Many hoarders also have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) in conjunction with their hoarding behavior.

Understanding the issues that cause compulsive hoarding and designing effective treatment options has become a popular topic in the psychology field in recent years.

Although much research still needs to be done in order to fully grasp the disorder and the psychological challenges faced by a recovering compulsive hoarder, there are still many options open to people looking for rehabilitation from this devastating disease.

Treatment and Interventions

Those who need compulsive hoarding rehabilitation rarely recognize they have a problem and do not seek treatment on their own. Usually the clutter and the “things” provide comfort to the hoarder and are not seen as a problem, though a more objective party may disagree. Therefore, the first step for hoarding treatment is usually an intervention by family and friends.

Some people attempt to fix the problem by removing some or all of the clutter while the hoarder is not home. This approach will almost always backfire. Instead of getting the compulsive hoarder on board with the cleanup, it causes anger and mistrust and the behavior continues.

Any cleanup of a compulsive hoarder’s home needs to be planned ahead of time with their permission. Even if the hoarder agrees to clear out the disorder, without further rehabilitation in conjunction with the cleanup, the problem will most likely return. Until the issues driving the hoarding behavior are addressed, the individual will continue to follow the same pattern of behavior.

Outpatient Hoarding Treatment Options

Outpatient rehabilitation for compulsive hoarding usually will involve a combination of the following options:

Medication. Antidepressants such as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) are the typical first choice in treating compulsive hoarding. SSRIs like Paxil have been proven to treat OCD and have been seen to be effective with the symptoms of hoarding as well. Medication almost always needs to be used in conjunction with therapy for a long-term recovery to be possible. However, medication can help to relieve the depression and anxiety that drives hoarding behavior and help individuals as they do the difficult emotional work in therapy.

Psychotherapy. Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) is the psychotherapy of choice for hoarders. CBT will help a hoarder learn new life and coping skills. This type of therapy is dependent on a massive amount of participation by the individual in order for lasting change to take place. A course of CBT includes:

  • Training in decision-making skills
  • Learning organizational skills
  • Assistance with prioritization of possessions
  • Help understanding when items should be discarded
  • Understanding what drives them to hoard
  • Home visits from a professional organizer to assist with initial home cleanup

Support Groups. Self-help support groups function much like 12-step programs in that individuals are supported by others recovering from the same problem. Hoarders may find support groups both in face-to-face meetings or over the Internet. Group members help one another set goals and learn to talk openly about their hoarding behavior in order to break through the shame and move on from their self-destructive behaviors.

Inpatient Treatment Options

For many people battling a pattern of compulsive hoarding behavior, outpatient treatment where the affected individual is able to go back home every night to the problem environment may not be the most appropriate option. The most intense and effective form of treatment is to enter an inpatient hoarding treatment center.

Inpatient care removes the hoarder from their home to work through the issues that promoted the growth of the hoarding behavior in the first place. The patient is provided support 24 hours a day/ seven days a week as they utilize the same combination of therapies discussed above.

Locating A Rehab

Hoarding is not only a frustrating collection of clutter; it can cause damage to relationships, illness and death if the disorder is allowed to continue. If you are looking for hoarding rehabilitation options that would be right for you or someone you care for, don’t hesitate to call us today. We have multiple effective hoarding rehab options that can help hoarders move towards a stable and organized way of life!