A few weeks ago, I watched this segment on PrimeTime Live about hoarding and how it affects people that live with this disorder on a daily basis. Yes, it is a disorder. People affected with this are not lazy or illogical, they have a condition that is extremely hard for them to control.
Compulsive hoarding is a very complex issue, that has yet to be fully understood. Hoarding is the result of problems in areas such as information processing (difficulty in making decisions and categorizing), and beliefs & emotional connection (every little useless thing has value and is like a part of their soul). This makes it EXTREMELY hard for a person affected with this disorder to get their act together. They end up viewing cleaning up and getting rid of useless items as torture and punishment.
In reality, hoarders don’t even see a problem. It is usually brought up by a spouse or family member that has had enough. It is a form of OCD, but can also be traced to issues with depression and social anxiety. Thus it is best treated with positive therapy and guidance, slowly but surely. Trying to make a compulsive hoarder change their ways overnight is wishful thinking. Patience is a must as long as steps are taken in the right direction, little by little (such as slowly getting rid of items). Approx. 0.5% of the population is affected by compulsive hoarding.
Spouses, family and friends need to remember that it is a disorder that is excruciatingly hard to control. Getting mad at a hoarder or threatening them with various ultimatums is NOT the way to go about it. Hoarders need support, just like with any disorder. Remember, although it is very difficult for a hoarder to change their ways, it is NEVER impossible. It can be done and it has been done before. Just be there for them in a positive, constructive manner.
I haven’t done a course on hoarding, but I think it would be a good additional tool for hoarders to have in their quest to overcoming this disorder. I’ve done one on learning to love tidiness, but it is geared towards resolving lazy behavior and loving to be in a clean environment. Hoarding really isn’t about tidiness or hating to clean up. Yep, a good hypnotherapy course to help overcome hoarding, sounds like an interesting idea indeed!