Treatment for Hoarding Disorder

An individual may be hoarding if he or she has had a long-term problem getting rid of possessions, regardless of their actual value or usefulness. The individual who hoards consistently reports that the hoarded items are necessary, and may suffer distress when asked to discard them.

The hoarding behavior leads to an accumulation of possessions to a degree that interferes with normal use of common living areas. It tends to render these areas unusable for their intended purposes. The resulting clutter causes major interference or impairment in the individual’s ability to work, socialize, and live. It may also compromise the safety of themselves and others in their environment. Hoarding may interfere with house cleaning, cooking, and personal hygiene, and may result in poor sanitation, broken appliances, and general disrepair of the dwelling. It may also result in serious health issues and potential legal actions.

About 80-90% of people who hoard have excessive acquisition (either buying or getting items for free). The individual accumulates things that are not needed and for which there is no available space. Commonly hoarded items include newspapers, magazines, old clothing, bags, books, and mail.

The onset of hoarding may begin as early as 11-15 years old, leading to significant problems by age 20, and worsening through each decade. Hoarders often report traumatic life events preceding the onset of hoarding, or causing an exacerbation of hoarding behavior. These behaviors are often familial: about 50% of individuals who hoard have a relative who also hoards.

Individuals suffering from hoarding disorder may have good insight into the problematic nature of their behaviors. However, they often believe that the hoarding presents no issue despite evidence to the contrary. Hoarding disorder often occurs alongside others condition, most commonly: major depressive disorder, social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and/or obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Consult an expert

Contact Harold Kirby at 610-517-3127 to schedule a consultation or appointment to discuss treatment for hoarding. Harold provides telehealth treatment for clients in Philadelphia and the surrounding areas of Pennsylvania and New Jersey (Main Line, Montgomery County, Camden, Cherry Hill), as well as in the South Carolina Lowcountry (Hilton Head, Bluffton, Beaufort, Colleston County, Dorchester County, Berkeley County, Charleston).