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People with hoarding disorder excessively save items that others may view as worthless. They have persistent difficulty getting rid of or parting with possessions, leading to clutter that disrupts their ability to use their living or work spaces.
See definition, symptoms, & treatment
Peer support refers to people with the same types of problems helping each other. The concept of peer support has been used for many years among people with addictions, for example in Alcoholic Anonymous where people with “lived experience” help others to recover. The use of peer support with people with mental illness is more recent, particularly peer support in a professional capacity as part of the mental health care team.
You may be familiar with online access to your medical records and possibly to your doctor’s notes. More than 12 million Americans now have online access to their health care provider’s clinical notes. This access is referred to as OpenNotes.
Virtual reality technology is also used in simulators for training and it is increasingly being used to help people with mental illness. While it has been used for some time treating people with phobias, advances in technology and greater availability are facilitating expanded use in mental health treatment.
Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA)
Mental Health America
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
Mental Health Association of San Francisco
There have been a number of TV shows and other media coverage about people with hoarding behaviors. Has this changed the way people in general view hoarding disorder or peoples’ willingness to get help?
TV shows have raised awareness of the devastating impact hoarding behaviors can have on the individual and their loved ones. It is important for those affected to understand that TV shows, by their nature, may not capture all the time, effort and hard work that is a necessary part of any mental health treatment program. Hoarding, which became a new diagnostic entry in the DSM in 2013, affects about 2-6 percent of individuals. People with hoarding disorder have difficulty parting with possessions, clutter that interferes with normal functioning and marked distress and impairment. More
Are there early signs that a person may have hoarding disorder? Is it primarily a problem among older adults?
Initial start of hoarding symptoms is thought to happen in childhood or adolescence (typical onset is around age 13) and it is chronic and progressive. Hoarding is more common in older than younger age groups.
Below are some early signs that an adolescent may have hoarding behaviors. These behaviors are typically mild, and progress over years. They may become a severe problem in adults in their 50s. However, not every person with hoarding symptoms has a hoarding disorder.
About the Experts:
Carolyn Rodriguez, M.D., Ph.D. Director, Stanford Hoarding Disorders Research Program Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine
Randy O. Frost, Ph.D. Professor, Smith College Member, Scientific & Clinical Advisory Board, The International OCD Foundation (IOCDF)
Lainie was a 47-year-old single woman referred to a community mental health team for treatment of depression and anxiety. She had never taken any psychiatric medication but had undergone CBT for depression 5 years earlier. more
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FEB 17, 2017
Experts say people hoard for a variety of reasons. Items might carry emotional significance — a reminder of a happy time, for example. Or they may be thought of as being necessary at some point in the future. Holding onto these objects confers a sense of safety. Driven by an unrelenting urge to save things, people who hoard can feel extreme distress at the mere thought of throwing something away.
FEB 15, 2017
Bowles suffers from what is now recognized as a mental health issue — Hoarding Disorder. People with the disorder have a conscious, ongoing urge to accumulate possessions. Along with that are corresponding feelings of anxiety or mental anguish whenever those possessions get thrown away. As a result, their living spaces fill up and homes become storage sheds.
FEB 13, 2017
Older adults with hoarding disorder (HD) experience increased impairments in skills related to executive and daily functioning, compared with younger adults with HD, according to new research published in the December 31, 2016 issue of International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.
International OCD Foundation – Hoarding
Anxiety Disorders Association of America
Hoarding of Animals Research Consortium
Physician Review By:
Ranna Parekh, M.D., M.P.H.